Steroids for delayed cerebral edema after traumatic brain injury

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Abstract

Background: Brain edema is a common phenomenon after traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in increased intracranial pressure and subsequent neurological deterioration. Experimental studies have proven that brain edema is biphasic (cytotoxic followed by vasogenic). Till date, all studies, including the corticosteroid randomization after significant head injury (HI) trial, have used high-dose steroids in the acute period during which the edema is essentially cytotoxic in nature. No clinical data exist pertaining to delayed cerebral edema (vasogenic) and steroids. Methods: Patients who had received steroids for delayed cerebral edema after TBI were retrospectively analyzed over a 2-year period. Steroid dose, timing of steroid prescription, time to improvement of symptoms, and complications were noted. Results: There were six males and three females. Mean age was 41.1 years. There were no severe HI cases. All subjects had cerebral contusions on imaging. Dexamethasone was the preferred steroid starting with 12 mg/day and tapered in 5-7 days. The mean interval to steroid administration after trauma was 7 days. The mean duration of steroid prescription was 6.3 days. All patients had complete symptomatic improvement. The mean time to symptom resolution was 3.8 days. No patients experienced any complications pertinent to steroid usage. Conclusion: This is the first study to document efficacy of steroids for delayed cerebral edema after TBI, at least in mild/moderate head injuries. The timing of steroid usage and dose of steroids is key aspects that might determine its efficacy in TBI which was the drawbacks of the previous studies. Future prospective trials with the above factors in consideration may confirm/refute above findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA1
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10-02-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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