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The management of isolated traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (itSAH) in non-trauma centers usually results in transfer to a Level 1 trauma center with neurosurgical capabilities. Due to lack of trauma center resources, we sought to evaluate if patients with itSAH need transfer to a Level I trauma center. A retrospective review of the trauma registry was conducted from Jan 2015-Dec 2020. Patients with itSAH on initial computed tomographic imaging and a Glasgow Coma Scale score >13 were included. Patients with any other intracranial pathology, skull fractures, multi-system trauma or age less than 15 were excluded. 120 patients were identified with itSAH. Mean age was 63 years, and 44% were male. Mean injury severity score was 4.7 with 48% on anticoagulation/antiplatelet therapy. Radiology Reports were reviewed and only 2 scans (1.7%) showed an increase in itSAH, 98.3% reports revealed no change, improvement, or resolution. No patients deteriorated and no patients underwent neurosurgical intervention. Once admitted, 27 (23%) were treated for acute medical conditions and 39 (33%) required subspecialty medical consultations. There was no difference in increased itSAH on repeat imaging between patients on anticoagulation/antiplatelet therapy and those without. The population taking anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy was older, more likely to have suffered a fall, have more comorbid conditions, was more likely to be treated for a non-traumatic medical condition and have a subspecialty medical consultation. Patients with itSAH do not require transfer to a Level 1 trauma center for acute neurosurgical intervention.


Eric D Forney, Anne Montgomery, Marshal Williams, Mital Patel, Dennis W Ashley. Do All Isolated Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhages Need to Be Transferred to a Level 1 Trauma Center? The American surgeon. 2022 Aug;88(8):1827-1831

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PMID: 35404687

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