Data about sequelae associated with head injuries in patients presenting at a suburban hospital but not hospitalized were collected from emergency department medical records and two follow-up telephone interviews. During the study period 669 patients with head injuries were discharged from the emergency department. Of these, 288 were asked to participate in the study, 275 (95%) agreed, and 262 (91%) were eventually contacted. Participants and nonparticipants were compared on six variables and differed significantly only on age–younger patients were more likely to be included. Forty-eight hours after trauma, 52% of the respondents suffered headaches, 14% complained of dizziness, and 13% complained of drowsiness. One week after trauma, the complaints were headaches in 27%, dizziness in 11%, and drowsiness in 9%. Twenty-seven per cent had not resumed normal activity at 48 hours after trauma, and 13% had not at 1 week. Sixty-six per cent of the patients followed the patient instructions regarding head injuries 1).
Of 66 patients with head injuries who had talked at some time after injury, 25% did not have intracranial hematoma at necropsy. Most of these had intracranial hypertension, and the commonest finding was local swelling related to contusions. Almost half of the non-haematoma cases had ischaemic or hypoxic brain damage, usually without contusions; 3 were children who had had status epilepticus. Fatality without raised I.C.P. was most often due to meningitis. In deteriorating patients without haematoma mortality and morbidity might be reduced by more diagnosis and treatment, particularly of raised ICP 2).