Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) Guidelines for medical management of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) have become a global standard for the treatment of TBI patients. We aim to explore the evolution of the guidelines for the management of severe TBI. We reviewed the four editions of the BTF guidelines published over the past 20 years. The 1996 and 2000 editions were merged because of minimal differences, and are referred to as the 1996 edition. We described changes in topics and recommendations over time, and analyzed predictors of survival of recommendations with logistical regression. The guidelines contained 27 recommendations on 18 topics in 2016, 35 recommendations on 15 topics in 2007, and 22 recommendations on 10 topics in 1996. Substantial delays were found between the search for evidence and the guideline publication, ranging from 18 to 34 months. The overall body of evidence comprised 189 studies on 18 topics in 2016, compared with 156 studies on 15 topics in 2007 and 180 studies on 10 topics in 1996. Over time, a total of 175 studies were discarded from the evidence base following more rigorous grading of evidence. A total of 15/23 (65%) of the 1996/2000 recommendations were discarded over time. Out of 12 new recommendations introduced in the 2007 edition, 8 (66%) were discarded in 2016. Survival of recommendations varied between 33% and 100% for level I recommendations and between 11% and 31% for level II and III recommendations. No predictors of survival of recommendations were found. Substantial delays exist between literature search and publication, and survival rate of TBI guideline recommendations is poor. These factors may adversely affect currency and adherence to guidelines. The TBI community should take responsibility for improving the quality of the evidence base and ensuring that the translation of the evidence into guidelines supports clinicians in daily clinical practice.

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Journal of Neurotrauma
Department of Neurosurgery

Volovici, V., Steyerberg, E., Cnossen, M., Haitsma, I., Dirven, C., Maas, A., & Lingsma, H. (2019). Evolution of Evidence and Guideline Recommendations for the Medical Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 36(22), 3183–3189. doi:10.1089/neu.2019.6474