'Talk and Die' patients presenting to a major trauma centre over a 10 year period: A critical review

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Talk and die patients describes a small number of patients who present with a mild head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] 13-15) and then subsequently deteriorate and die from intracranial causes. We analysed the medical records of all those adult patients whose primary diagnosis as the cause of death was head injury, as determined by the coroner, who were admitted to a major Australian trauma centre between January 1994 and December 2003 (a 10-year period). The clinical profile of those patients who fulfilled the criteria of talk and die were documented, including age, mode of injury, initial GCS, lucid interval, CT scan reports, operation performed, post mortem findings and intracranial cause of death. Factors considered potentially contributory to the patients deterioration, such as delays in CT scanning or patient transfer, coagulopathy or hypoxic episodes were also noted. The incidence of talk and die patients was 2.6 (15 out of 569) overall and the annual incidence did not significantly alter over the 10-year period of the study. The small number of patients precludes inferences regarding causal relationships, although potentially preventable factors, which could have been contributory to patient deterioration, were identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618 - 623
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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