Severe diffuse brain injury. Justifiability of decompressive craniectomy


  • Eugene Pedachenko Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kiev, Ukraine
  • Lyudmila Dzyak Neurology and Neurosurgery Department, Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
  • Andriy Sirko Dnеpropetrovsk State Medical Academy, Dnepropetrovsk; Mechnikov Dnepropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine



severe traumatic brain injury, diffuse brain injury, intracranial pressure, intracranial hypertension, decompressive craniectomy


Objective: To study the possibility of improvement of response to treatment of injured persons with severe diffuse brain injury (SDBI) through the intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring and active correction of intracranial hypertension (ICH) with the use of decompressive craniectomy (DC).

Material and methods: A prospective analysis of response to treatment of 57 injured persons with SDBI was carried out. The first period of research (2000 – 2005): 34 patients. The second period (2006 – 2012): 23 patients. The main criterion of enrolment to the research is a severe brain injury (8 points or less according GSC scale).

L.F. Marshall classification of diffuse injury to brain was used. ICP measurement during the second period was carried using the parenchymal sensors on the monitor Brain Pressure Monitor REF HDM 26.1/FV500 Spiegelberg (Germany).

Results: Augmentation of signs of axial and lateral dislocation with the transition from type I to type IV of SDBI of the brain is related to the increased rate of detection and intensity of ICH. ICH was discovered among 25% of patients with type II of SDBI, and among 57% with type III and 80% with type IV of SDBI. Average ICP in the group of injured persons with type II of SDBI constituted (14.4±6.6) mm Hg, with type III – (30±20.6) mm Hg, with type IV – (37.6±14.1) mm Hg.

As long as the rate of ICH detection increases, the necessity to use more aggressive treatment methods increases as well, including the DC. DC was not used for type I and type II of SDBI. During the first period, DC was carried out only for 15.4% of injured persons with the injury of type IV. During the second period, DC was carried out for 42.9% of injured persons with type III and for 100 injured persons with type IV of SDBI. The average ICP in the group of injured persons with SDBI, who were subjected to DC, constituted (41±18.6) mm Hg prior to the operation and (20.1±18) mm Hg after the operation. DC fulfillment resulted in ICP reduction by a mean of 46.6%.

Lethality during the first observation period constituted 52.9%, and during the second one – 39.1% (χ2=10.9; р<0.004). During the first period of research the benign outcome (good recovery + moderate disability according to the Glasgow outcome scale) was achieved among 17.7% of injured persons, and during the second period - among 26% (р<0.05).

Conclusions: SDBI types according to L.F. Marshall classification that are determined on the basis of primary CT of brain, correlate with the ICH rate and intensity, lethality rate, and they must be taken into consideration when determining the treatment policy.

Author Biographies

Eugene Pedachenko, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kiev

Neurotrauma Department

Andriy Sirko, Dnеpropetrovsk State Medical Academy, Dnepropetrovsk; Mechnikov Dnepropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital, Dnepropetrovsk

Neurology and Neurosurgery Department; 2nd Cerebral Neurosurgery Department


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How to Cite

Pedachenko, E., Dzyak, L., & Sirko, A. (2015). Severe diffuse brain injury. Justifiability of decompressive craniectomy. Ukrainian Neurosurgical Journal, (4), 22–32.



Original articles