A large study of more than 21,000 people finds that training emergency medical services (EMS) agencies to implement prehospital guidelines for traumatic brain injury (TBI) may help improve survival in patients with severe head trauma. The findings were published in JAMA Surgery, and the study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“This demonstrates the significance of conducting studies in real-world settings and brings a strong evidence base to the guidelines,” said Patrick Bellgowan, Ph.D., program director at NINDS. “It suggests we can systematically increase the chances of saving lives of thousands of people who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries.”
Based on scores of observational studies, guidelines for prehospital management of TBI that were developed in 2000, and updated in 2007, focused on preventing low oxygen, low blood pressure, and hyperventilation in people with head injury. Collectively, the studies suggested that controlling those factors before patients arrived at the hospital could improve survival, but actual adherence to the guidelines had not been examined.