Imaging Findings in Acute Traumatic Brain Injury: a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Common Data Element-Based Pictorial Review and Analysis of Over 4000 Admission Brain Computed Tomography Scans from the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) Study

Thijs Vande Vyvere, Dana Pisică, Guido Wilms, Lene Claes, Pieter Van Dyck, Annemiek Snoeckx, Luc van den Hauwe, Pim Pullens, Jan Verheyden, Max Wintermark, Sven Dekeyzer, Christine L. Mac Donald, Andrew I.R. Maas, Paul M. Parizel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2010, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) created a set of common data elements (CDEs) to help standardize the assessment and reporting of imaging findings in traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, as opposed to other standardized radiology reporting systems, a visual overview and data to support the proposed standardized lexicon are lacking. We used over 4000 admission computed tomography (CT) scans of patients with TBI from the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) study to develop an extensive pictorial overview of the NINDS TBI CDEs, with visual examples and background information on individual pathoanatomical lesion types, up to the level of supplemental and emerging information (e.g., location and estimated volumes). We documented the frequency of lesion occurrence, aiming to quantify the relative importance of different CDEs for characterizing TBI, and performed a critical appraisal of our experience with the intent to inform updating of the CDEs. In addition, we investigated the co-occurrence and clustering of lesion types and the distribution of six CT classification systems. The median age of the 4087 patients in our dataset was 50 years (interquartile range, 29-66; range, 0-96), including 238 patients under 18 years old (5.8%). Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (45.3%), skull fractures (37.4%), contusions (31.3%), and acute subdural hematoma (28.9%) were the most frequently occurring CT findings in acute TBI. The ranking of these lesions was the same in patients with mild TBI (baseline Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 13-15) compared with those with moderate-severe TBI (baseline GCS score 3-12), but the frequency of occurrence was up to three times higher in moderate-severe TBI. In most TBI patients with CT abnormalities, there was co-occurrence and clustering of different lesion types, with significant differences between mild and moderate-severe TBI patients. More specifically, lesion patterns were more complex in moderate-severe TBI patients, with more co-existing lesions and more frequent signs of mass effect. These patients also had higher and more heterogeneous CT score distributions, associated with worse predicted outcomes. The critical appraisal of the NINDS CDEs was highly positive, but revealed that full assessment can be time consuming, that some CDEs had very low frequencies, and identified a few redundancies and ambiguity in some definitions. Whilst primarily developed for research, implementation of CDE templates for use in clinical practice is advocated, but this will require development of an abbreviated version. In conclusion, with this study, we provide an educational resource for clinicians and researchers to help assess, characterize, and report the vast and complex spectrum of imaging findings in patients with TBI. Our data provides a comprehensive overview of the contemporary landscape of TBI imaging pathology in Europe, and the findings can serve as empirical evidence for updating the current NINDS radiologic CDEs to version 3.0.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2024

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