Assessment of a Triage Protocol for Emergent Neurosurgical Cases at a Single Institution

Jeff Ehresman, A. Karim Ahmed, Daniel Lubelski, Zachary Pennington, Bowen Jiang, Corinna Zygourakis, Ethan Cottrill, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Level I trauma centers use patient triaging systems to deploy neurosurgical resources and pursue good outcomes; however, data describing the effectiveness these triage systems are lacking. We reviewed the leveling protocol (cases designated urgent and emergent) of a regional Level I trauma center to obtain epidemiologic data about the efficiency of that system and identify areas for improvement. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed leveled neurosurgical cases from January 2015 to October 2017, assessing surgery date, neurosurgical procedure, posted surgical urgency level (levels 1–3, with 1 being most urgent), and post-to-room (PTR) time (i.e., the time between initial leveling and admission of the patient to the operating room). Mean PTR times were compared between case types using one-way analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey honestly significant difference analysis. Results: Of 1469 cases, 577 (39.3%) were shunt placement or revision, 231 (15.7%) were craniectomy or craniotomy for hematoma, 147 (10.0%) were craniectomy or craniotomy for tumor, and 514 (35.0%) were for other indications. Among level 1 cases, PTR time was lowest for craniotomies to evacuate intracranial hematoma (mean 16.2 minutes) and highest for spinal decompression procedures and wound washouts (mean 36.2 and 42.4 minutes, respectively). Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study of variability in PTR timing as a function of surgical urgency or indication. The most common leveled cases were craniectomies or craniotomies to relieve increased intracranial pressure, which were also the most common level 1 cases. Significant variability occurred within each leveling category; thus, further investigation is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Emergent
  • Level
  • Neurosurgical
  • Protocol
  • Trauma
  • Triage
  • Urgent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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