Multi-centre randomised trial of early decompressive craniectomy in patients with severe traumatic brain injury [ 2005 - 2007 ]

Also known as: Decompressive craniectomy in brain injury (DECRA)

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof David Cooper (Principal investigator) ,  Peter Reilly Prof Jeffrey Rosenfeld Prof Rory Wolfe Prof Thomas Kossmann

Brief description Despite optimal neurosurgical and intensive care therapy, many trauma patients with severe brain injury (typically young males) have very poor long term neurological outcomes. Current knowledge suggests that a key contributor to secondary brain damage which occurs after injury and to poor neurological outcomes is brain swelling and subsequent increase in brain pressure. Present intensive care therapies to control brain pressure are often not effective, and favourable neurological outcomes occur in only 20-30% of these patients. Small studies suggest that a surgical operation called decompressive craniectomy (DC) may decrease brain pressure and improve neurological outcomes in these patients. DC involves temporarily surgically removing a piece of skull bone (during the swelling period) and replacing it when the swelling has subsided. DC is done under general anaesthetic in unconscious patients and is used occasionally at present, although due to insufficient research the benefits are controversial. The proposed study is a multi-centre randomised controlled study of best current therapies plus early decompressive craniectomy vs best current therapies alone in selected unconscious patients with severe head injury. The study outcome is patient neurological function measured 6 months after the injury. A study of this type is required before early DC could become a routine therapy in Australia. Next of kin will sign informed consent for the study and then also for the surgery if patients are randomised to surgery. The study will be managed at the Alfred Hospital-Monash University in Melbourne and includes fifteen collaborating ANZ neurotrauma centres over 3.0 years. There are >200 patients in Australia annually in this category with potential for DC to increase favourable outcomes in >40 patients annually. Lifetime costs for these patients with severe disability are > $2.4 million, so there may be substantial economic and social impact.

Funding Amount $AUD 490,500.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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