Early prognosis in traumatic brain injury: from prophecies to predictions
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a heterogeneous condition that encompasses a broad spectrum of disorders. Outcome can be highly variable, particularly in more severely injured patients. Despite the association of many variables with outcome, prognostic predictions are notoriously difficult to make. Multivariable analysis has identified age, clinical severity, CT abnormalities, systemic insults (hypoxia and hypotension), and laboratory variables as relevant factors to include in models to predict outcome in individual patients. Advances in statistical modelling and the availability of large datasets have facilitated the development of prognostic models that have greater performance and generalisability. Two prediction models are currently available, both of which have been developed on large datasets with state-of-the-art methods, and offer new opportunities. We see great potential for their use in clinical practice, research, and policy making, as well as for assessment of the quality of health-care delivery. Continued development, refinement, and validation is advocated, together with assessment of the clinical impact of prediction models, including treatment response.