Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation


Critical Care Medicine, Neurology

First Thesis Advisor

Robert Goldberg


Critical Care Medicine, Traumatic Brain Injury


Introduction: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) remains a significant public health burden in the United States. Persons afflicted with more severe TBIs are usually admitted to an ICU, where they are at risk for a number of complications throughout their hospitalization. Recent literature has attempted to describe such complications from a cardiovascular perspective as part of a “cardio-cerebral syndrome.” We described the frequency of cardiac complications in the ICU among patients with a TBI and compared patients with and without measured cardiac dysfunction. We investigated the potential impact of cardiac dysfunction on in-hospital mortality.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of a prospective cohort study in adult ICU patients with moderate-to-severe TBI (GCS≤12). We measured cardiac dysfunction using initial EKG echocardiography findings and peak serum troponin levels during hospitalization. Primary outcome was in-hospital mortality for patients with and without cardiac dysfunction using multivariable adjusted Cox Proportional Hazards Regression. Secondary outcomes examined the relationship between severity of brain injury and degree of cardiac dysfunction.

Results: Ordinal logistic regression showed patients with more indicators of cardiac injury were significantly more likely to have greater brain injury as reflected by lower GCS scores (OR 0.76; 95%CI 0.58-0.99). There was a significantly increased multivariable adjusted risk of dying for each increase in measured cardiac injury (HR 2.41; 95% CI 1.29-4.53).

Conclusions: Cardiac dysfunction was frequently observed in patients with TBI and we showed an association between increasing TBI severity and development of cardiac injury. Cardiovascular dysfunction was associated with an increased risk of in-hospital death. Adverse outcomes from TBI could potentially be mediated by cardiac injury, which could be used as a target for therapeutic intervention.



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