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Open Access Research article

Use of the Oxford Handicap Scale at hospital discharge to predict Glasgow Outcome Scale at 6 months in patients with traumatic brain injury

Pablo Perel*, Phil Edwards, Haleema Shakur and Ian Roberts

Author Affiliations

Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2008, 8:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-8-72

Published: 6 November 2008

Abstract

Background

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important cause of acquired disability. In evaluating the effectiveness of clinical interventions for TBI it is important to measure disability accurately. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) is the most widely used outcome measure in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in TBI patients. However GOS measurement is generally collected at 6 months after discharge when loss to follow up could have occurred. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the association and predictive validity between a simple disability scale at hospital discharge, the Oxford Handicap Scale (OHS), and the GOS at 6 months among TBI patients.

Methods

The study was a secondary analysis of a randomised clinical trial among TBI patients (MRC CRASH Trial). A Spearman correlation was estimated to evaluate the association between the OHS and GOS. The validity of different dichotomies of the OHS for predicting GOS at 6 months was assessed by calculating sensitivity, specificity and the C statistic. Uni and multivariate logistic regression models were fitted including OHS as explanatory variable. For each model we analysed its discrimination and calibration.

Results

We found that the OHS is highly correlated with GOS at 6 months (spearman correlation 0.75) with evidence of a linear relationship between the two scales. The OHS dichotomy that separates patients with severe dependency or death showed the greatest discrimination (C statistic: 84.3). Among survivors at hospital discharge the OHS showed a very good discrimination (C statistic 0.78) and excellent calibration when used to predict GOS outcome at 6 months.

Conclusion

We have shown that the OHS, a simple disability scale available at hospital discharge can predict disability accurately, according to the GOS, at 6 months. OHS could be used to improve the design and analysis of clinical trials in TBI patients and may also provide a valuable clinical tool for physicians to improve communication with patients and relatives when assessing a patient's prognosis at hospital discharge.

Trial Registration Number

ISRCTN74459797