Management of Pediatric Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: 2019 Consensus and Guidelines-Based Algorithm for First and Second Tier Therapies

Patrick M. Kochanek, Robert C. Tasker, Michael J. Bell, P. David Adelson, Nancy Carney, Monica S. Vavilala, Nathan R. Selden, Susan L. Bratton, Gerald A. Grant, Niranjan Kissoon, Karin E. Reuter-Rice, Mark S. Wainwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Objectives: To produce a treatment algorithm for the ICU management of infants, children, and adolescents with severe traumatic brain injury. Data Sources: Studies included in the 2019 Guidelines for the Management of Pediatric Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8), consensus when evidence was insufficient to formulate a fully evidence-based approach, and selected protocols from included studies. Data Synthesis: Baseline care germane to all pediatric patients with severe traumatic brain injury along with two tiers of therapy were formulated. An approach to emergent management of the crisis scenario of cerebral herniation was also included. The first tier of therapy focuses on three therapeutic targets, namely preventing and/or treating intracranial hypertension, optimizing cerebral perfusion pressure, and optimizing partial pressure of brain tissue oxygen (when monitored). The second tier of therapy focuses on decompressive craniectomy surgery, barbiturate infusion, late application of hypothermia, induced hyperventilation, and hyperosmolar therapies. Conclusions: This article provides an algorithm of clinical practice for the bedside practitioner based on the available evidence, treatment protocols described in the articles included in the 2019 guidelines, and consensus that reflects a logical approach to mitigate intracranial hypertension, optimize cerebral perfusion, and improve outcomes in the setting of pediatric severe traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • barbiturate
  • decompressive craniectomy
  • head injury
  • herniation
  • hyperosmolar
  • intracranial pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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