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BackgroundIn traumatic brain injury (TBI), large between-center differences in treatment and outcome for patients managed in the intensive care unit (ICU) have been shown. The aim of this study is to explore if European neurotrauma centers can be clustered, based on their treatment preference in different domains of TBI care in the ICU.MethodsProvider profiles of centers participating in the Collaborative European Neurotrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI study were used to assess correlations within and between the predefined domains: intracranial pressure monitoring, coagulation and transfusion, surgery, prophylactic antibiotics, and more general ICU treatment policies. Hierarchical clustering using Ward's minimum variance method was applied to group data with the highest similarity. Heat maps were used to visualize whether hospitals could be grouped to uncover types of hospitals adhering to certain treatment strategies.ResultsProvider profiles were available from 66 centers in 20 different countries in Europe and Israel. Correlations within most of the predefined domains varied from low to high correlations (mean correlation coefficients 0.2-0.7). Correlations between domains were lower, with mean correlation coefficients of 0.2. Cluster analysis showed that policies could be grouped, but hospitals could not be grouped based on their preference.ConclusionsAlthough correlations between treatment policies within domains were found, the failure to cluster hospitals indicates that a specific treatment choice within a domain is not a proxy for other treatment choices within or outside the domain. These results imply that studying the effects of specific TBI interventions on outcome can be based on between-center variation without being substantially confounded by other treatments.Trial registrationWe do not report the results of a health care intervention.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurocritical care

Publication Date





846 - 856


Center for Medical Decision Making, Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000, CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


CENTER-TBI participants and investigators, Humans, Trauma Centers, Intensive Care Units, Hospitals, Surveys and Questionnaires, Brain Injuries, Traumatic