Determinants of Adherence to Best Practice in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Qualitative Study

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Background: Management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) is highly variable and inconsistently aligned with evidence derived from high-quality trials, including those examining intravenous fluid resuscitation and use of decompressive craniectomy surgery. This study explored the barriers and facilitators of general and specific evidence-based practices in sTBI from the perspectives of stakeholder clinicians. Methods: This was a qualitative study of semistructured interviews conducted with specialist clinicians responsible for acute care of patients with sTBI. Interview analysis was guided by the Theoretical domains framework (TDF), and key themes were mapped to relevant TDF behavioral domains. Results: Ten neurosurgeons, 12 intensive care specialists, and three trauma physicians from six high-income countries participated between May 2020 and May 2021. Key TDF domains were environmental context and resources, social influences, and beliefs about consequences. Evidence-aligned management of patients with sTBI is perceived to be facilitated by admission to academic research-oriented hospitals, development of local practice protocols, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Determinants of specific practices varied and included health policy change for fluid resuscitation and development of patient-centered goals for surgical decision-making. Conclusions: In choosing interventions for patients with sTBI, clinicians integrate local environmental, social, professional, and emotional influences with evidence and associated clinical practice guideline recommendations. This study highlights determinants of evidence-based practice that may inform implementation efforts and thereby improve outcomes for patients with sTBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744–753
Number of pages10
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Behavioral determinants
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Qualitative exploration
  • Theoretical domains framework
  • Traumatic brain injury

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