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<h4>Background</h4>Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects large numbers of patients, both adults and children, and significant resources are needed to manage it.<h4>Objective</h4>To determine the burden of TBI and the adequacy of available resources to manage in the Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Trauma Service (PMTS).<h4>Methods</h4>All patients with a TBI were identified from the hybrid electronic medical registry at Grey's and Edendale hospitals in Pietermaritzburg (PMB), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Patients were classified according to severity of head injury and age. We defined mild TBI as Glasgow coma scale (GCS) 13 - 15, moderate as GCS 9 - 12, and severe as GCS ≤8, in accordance with international standards. We divided the cohort according to ages 0 - 5 years, 6 - 10 years, &gt;10 - 17 years and adults (&gt;17 years).<h4>Results</h4>From January 2012 to December 2014, 3 301 patients were treated for TBI in PMB. The mean age was 27.4 (standard deviation 14.4) years. There were 2 632 males and 564 females. There were 2 540 mild, 326 moderate, and 329 severe TBI admissions during the period under review. A total of 139 (4.2%) patients died. A total of 242 (7.3%) patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), of whom 137 (57.0%) had a GCS of ≤9. Only 27.0% of patients with a GCS of ≤9 were admitted to the ICU.<h4>Conclusion</h4>There is a significant burden of TBI managed by the PMTS. Critical care resources available to manage patients with TBI are inadequate.

Original publication





South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde

Publication Date





621 - 625


Department of Surgery, Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Trauma Service, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.