Objective: Several studies have indicated that decompressive craniectomy (DC) for traumatic brain injury (TBI) is lifesaving. However, there is lack of level 1 evidence to define the role of DC in TBI. We performed a meta-analysis of all the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published so far on the role of DC in adult patients with TBI. Materials and Methods: A systematic literature search was performed for articles published until September of 2016 for RCTs of DC in adult patients with TBI. The primary end-point was mortality at six-months. We also evaluated the overall adverse outcomes at six months. Assessment of risk of bias of the RCTs was also performed. Results: Three trials evaluating adult population satisfied the eligibility criteria. Pooled analysis involved 285 and 288 patients in DC group and control groups respectively. Patients undergoing DC for TBI had a lower mortality association of nearly 50 percent. However, patients surviving DC were more likely to have a poor neurological outcome compared to patients undergoing medical management. Conclusion: Based on the available RCTs on DC in TBI, the results of our meta-analysis show that there is a mortality benefit of performing a DC over the best medical management in adult patients. Furthermore, surviving following DC, a greater incidence of a poor neurological outcome is noted. In the event of small number of high-quality RCTs, our results must be interpreted with caution.
- traumatic brain injury