Protocol-Based Standardized Endocrinological Evaluation of Children With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Quality Improvement Initiative

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Clinical Pediatrics


Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can disrupt the hypothalamo-pituitary axis, causing neuroendocrine dysfunction. As a third of children can develop post-traumatic hypothalamo-pituitary axis dysfunction (HPAD), a longitudinal follow-up is required in children with TBI. Method: The study comprised a pre-quality improvement (QI) phase (baseline phase) and a QI phase (post-intervention phase). Retrospective data were collected on children with TBI at our hospital during the pre-QI phase of the study to estimate the baseline data on HPAD prevalence and pediatric endocrine referral rate. Guidance protocol for standardizing the pediatric endocrine referral, evaluation, and follow-up of children with TBI was implemented. Prospective data were collected to estimate outcome measures (prevalence of HPAD, rate of initial endocrine consultation and outpatient follow-up) and process measures (protocol adherence rate). Result: Twenty-seven children, aged ≤19 years, were admitted with TBI in the pre-QI phase. The median age was 9 years. Motor vehicle accidents predominated. Thirty percent had limited endocrine evaluation, and 4% had transient cranial diabetes insipidus (DI). The QI phase included 8 children. Demographic data were similar to those in the pre-QI phase. Both outcome and process measures increased to 75% from the pre-QI phase following the protocol implementation. Conclusion: A lower prevalence rate of HPAD in the current cohort may be owing to underevaluation and a smaller sample size. The QI initiative incorporating a guidance protocol-based endocrinological approach to children with TBI improved the pediatric endocrinology referral and follow-up rates.

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