Author(s): Simpson DA, Heyworth JS, McLean AJ, Gilligan JE, North JB
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Abstract A study of 109 cases of extradural haemorrhage (EDH) treated in South Australia over a period of 7 years showed that 35 cases (32.1 per cent) presented in country areas at considerable distances from a neurosurgical service: the mortality in these country cases was 22.9 per cent, comparing unfavourably with a mortality of 12.2 per cent in metropolitan cases. The country series contained a disproportionately large number of cases with multiple intracranial haemorrhages, which are known to have a poorer outcome; when these cases were excluded, the rural mortality (12.5 per cent) was only a little over the metropolitan mortality (9.7 per cent). These data suggest that it is possible to manage extradural haemorrhages successfully even in places remote from a neurosurgical centre, if communications and air transport are used effectively. However, it was found that emergency operations carried out in country hospitals were sometimes inadequate or done too late. Medical retrieval teams based on city hospitals were sent out on 15 occasions, either to assist a general surgeon to complete an emergency operation, or to provide intensive care during transfer to a neurosurgical unit. Osmotherapy (mannitol and/or frusemide) has been useful in gaining time for transfer; the choice between immediate operation and transfer may be difficult, and decisions should take transfer time, clinical state and rate of deterioration into account.
This article was published in Injury
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access