Infection occurs commonly among patients hospitalized after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and has been associated with increased intensive care unit and hospital lengths of stay and an elevated risk of poor neurological outcome and mortality. However, as many relevant published studies to date have varied in the type and severity of TBI among included patients as well as in their design (randomized versus non-randomized), risk of bias, and setting (hospital ward versus intensive care unit), their reported estimates of infection occurrence vary considerably. Thus, the purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to estimate the incidence, prevalence, and occurrence rate of infection among patients hospitalized after TBI.
We will search electronic bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Scopus, Web of Science, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews) from their first available date as well as personal files, reference lists of included articles, and conference proceedings. Two investigators will independently screen titles and abstracts and select cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, and randomized controlled trials involving adults hospitalized after TBI that reported estimates of cumulative incidence, incidence rate, prevalence, or occurrence rate of infection for inclusion in the systematic review. These investigators will also independently extract data and assess risk of bias. We will exclude studies with fewer than ten patients; experimental groups allocated to treatment with antibiotics, glucocorticoids, immunosuppressants, barbiturates, or hypothermia; and studies focused on military/combat-related TBI. Pooled estimates of cumulative incidence, incidence rate, prevalence, and occurrence rate will be calculated using random effects models. We will also calculate I2 and Cochran Q statistics to assess for inter-study heterogeneity and conduct stratified analyses and univariate meta-regression to determine the influence of pre-defined study-level covariates on our pooled estimates.
This study will compile the world literature regarding the epidemiology of infection among adults hospitalized after TBI. A better understanding of the role of infection will be helpful in the development of guidelines for patient management. This protocol has been registered in the PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (ID: CRD42013005146).