The Brain Injury Guidelines (BIG) are a classification tool for stratifying patients into injury severity and risk-of-progression categories based on presenting clinical and radiographic findings. In a study, Ross et al. aimed to validate BIG criteria at a single level 1 trauma center.
Patients were classified according to BIG criteria and evaluated for subsequent radiographic progression or development of neurological decline. A 2-year retrospective cohort review of consecutive patients with neurotrauma (n = 590) was undertaken. The authors then developed a modified BIG algorithm for use at their institution and followed its implementation prospectively over 555 consecutive patients.
In the retrospective analysis, no patient in the BIG 1 category (n = 88, 14.9%) demonstrated progression or neurological decline, and 7.5% of BIG 2 patients (n = 107, 18.1%) demonstrated mild radiographic progression without any decline or need for additional neurosurgical or medical intervention, whereas 15.4% of BIG 3 patients (n = 395, 66.9%) underwent additional neurosurgical procedures. In the prospective analysis, no BIG 1 (n = 105, 18.9%) or BIG 2 (n = 48, 8.6%) patients demonstrated a clinical decline or required any further neurosurgical intervention. By contrast, 12.9% of BIG 3 patients (n = 402, 72%) required immediate neurosurgical intervention, and a further 2.0% required delayed intervention based on clinical and/or radiographic evidence of injury progression.
Application of the BIG criteria in a single large level 1 trauma center reliably sorted patients into appropriate risk categories that accurately guided ongoing management 1).