Fatal transorbital penetrating intracranial injury caused by a bicycle hand brake
1 Department of Critical Care, Meander Medical Center, Utrechtseweg 160, Amersfoort, ES 3818, the Netherlands
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Meander Medical Center, Utrechtseweg 160, Amersfoort, ES 3818, the Netherlands
International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 5:34 doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-34Published: 18 September 2012
A transorbital penetrating intracranial injury is a rare and severe traumatic brain injury. Patients with this type of injury may present dramatically, but often the injury is subtle and therefore easily overlooked and not recognized in the first place. We present the case of a 45-year-old female admitted to the emergency department after she fell with her bike and the bicycle brake handle penetrated her left eye. A computerized tomography of the cerebrum showed a fracture of the superior orbital roof with multiple bone fragments extending into the brain near the circle of Willis. A pneumocephalus and traumatic frontobasal, intraventricular and subdural hemorrhage was seen. The patient deteriorated suddenly and was transferred to a neurosurgical center where she underwent an emergency craniotomy with evacuation of the intracerebral hematoma and an intraventricular drain was placed. After surgery, the patient’s condition deteriorated, and total compression of the brain stem occurred, upon which the patient was declared brain dead. Our case report shows that the Glasgow Coma Scale score at admission is not always a good predictor of the severity of the injury. Even when there is minimal suspicion of a penetrating intracranial injury, a computerized tomography should be performed immediately, independent of the patient’s Glasgow Coma Scale score. A direct transfer to a specialized neurosurgical center is recommended because this injury often results in death due to fatal complications such as intracerebral hemorrhage, pneumocephalus and brain stem injury.