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Brain tissue oxygen monitoring in traumatic brain injury—part II: isolated and combined insults in relation to outcome

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Svedung Wettervik, Teodor 
Beqiri, Erta 
Hånell, Anders 
Bögli, Stefan Yu 
Placek, Michal 


Background: The primary aim was to explore the concept of isolated and combined threshold-insults for brain tissue oxygenation (pbtO2) in relation to outcome in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: A total of 239 TBI patients with data on clinical outcome (GOS) and intracranial pressure (ICP) and pbtO2 monitoring for at least 12 h, who had been treated at the neurocritical care unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK, between 2002 and 2022 were included. Outcome was dichotomised into favourable/unfavourable (GOS 4–5/1–3) and survival/mortality (GOS 2–5/1). PbtO2 was studied over the entire monitoring period. Thresholds were analysed in relation to outcome based on median and mean values, percentage of time and dose per hour below critical values and visualised as the combined insult intensity and duration. Results: Median pbtO2 was slightly, but not significantly, associated with outcome. A pbtO2 threshold at 25 and 20 mmHg, respectively, yielded the highest x2 when dichotomised for favourable/unfavourable outcome and mortality/survival in chi-square analyses. A higher dose and higher percentage of time spent with pbtO2 below 25 mmHg as well as lower thresholds were associated with unfavourable outcome, but not mortality. In a combined insult intensity and duration analysis, there was a transition from favourable towards unfavourable outcome when pbtO2 went below 25–30 mmHg for 30 min and similar transitions occurred for shorter durations when the intensity was higher. Although these insults were rare, pbtO2 under 15 mmHg was more strongly associated with unfavourable outcome if, concurrently, ICP was above 20 mmHg, cerebral perfusion pressure below 60 mmHg, or pressure reactivity index above 0.30 than if these variables were not deranged. In a multiple logistic regression, a higher percentage of monitoring time with pbtO2 < 15 mmHg was associated with a higher rate of unfavourable outcome. Conclusions: Low pbtO2, under 25 mmHg and particularly below 15 mmHg, for longer durations and in combination with disturbances in global cerebral physiological variables were associated with poor outcome and may indicate detrimental ischaemic hypoxia. Prospective trials are needed to determine if pbtO2-directed therapy is beneficial, at what individualised pbtO2 threshold therapies are warranted, and how this may depend on the presence/absence of concurrent cerebral physiological disturbances.


Acknowledgements: We express our gratitude to the personnel at the NCC, Addenbrooke’s Hospital (Cambridge, UK), for meticulous patient care.

Funder: Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Funder: Uppsala University


Brain tissue oxygenation, Outcome, Neurocritical care, Thresholds, Traumatic brain injury

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Critical Care

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BioMed Central
Medical Research Council (MR N013433-1)
Swiss National Science Foundation (210839)