Illuminating Neuropsychological Dysfunction and Systemic Inflammatory Mechanisms Gleaned After Hospitalization in Trauma-ICU Study (INSIGHT-ICU)

  • End date
    Nov 21, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Updated on 23 January 2022
cognitive impairment
respiratory failure
alzheimer's disease
traumatic brain injury


Cognitive skills are essential to live independently, manage finances, maintain employment, and function in society. Loss of these cognitive skills puts a tremendous burden on society as seen with dementias, Alzheimer's disease, and traumatic brain injury. The INSIGHT-ICU Study (Illuminating Neuropsychological dysfunction and Systemic Inflammatory mechanisms Gleaned after Hospitalization in Trauma-ICU Study) is the first comprehensive and longitudinal long-term cognitive impairment study after traumatic injury. The societal impact of long-term cognitive impairment after trauma is immense given that these patients are young and constitute a large proportion of employable adults.


Cognitive skills are the crucial abilities required to manage money, maintain employment, and live independently. Long-term cognitive impairment (LTCI) is a disabling loss of these skills that can persist for months to years. LTCI frequently occurs after primary brain injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury, hypoxia), but older LTCI research has not characterized primary brain injury using NIH Common Data Elements in Imaging, the contributions of polytrauma, and the time-course of the critical illness, including secondary brain injury (i.e., delirium). In our recent large study of ICU patients without primary brain injury, over 50% of patients had LTCI and nearly 50% were newly unemployed at one-year post-discharge. In-hospital delirium was the major independent risk factor for LTCI. Surprisingly, this delirium-related LTCI was similar to the LTCI seen in past studies after moderate traumatic brain injury. Thus, both primary and secondary brain injury are associated with LTCI, yet they have not been studied together. There is an unmet need to define the independent risks of primary brain injury and delirium in LTCI. The trauma ICU patient is at combined risk for primary brain and/or multisystem injuries, secondary brain injury, and critical illness; these critically injured patients are the unique population to address this knowledge gap.

Therefore, our FIRST HYPOTHESIS is that delirium duration is an independent risk for the severity of LTCI, controlling for confounders of co-morbidities, socioeconomic status, pre-injury employment, primary brain injury, polytrauma, and critical illness. AIM 1 will address this hypothesis by defining the independent risks of primary and secondary brain injury on the severity of LTCI among 900 trauma ICU subjects.

But, LTCI's real-world impact on employment has not been explained or adjusted for the above confounders and social factors. Accordingly, our SECOND HYPOTHESIS is that LTCI severity is an independent risk for lower level of employment, adjusting for similar confounders. AIM 2 will delineate the independent risk of LTCI severity on employment among trauma ICU survivors. Lastly, LTCI pathogenesis may be related to persistent inflammation.

So, our THIRD HYPOTHESIS is that hospital discharge biomarkers of persistent inflammation will be independent risks for LTCI severity, adjusting for similar confounders. AIM 3 will explore the mechanistic role of plasma inflammatory biomarkers on LTCI severity among trauma ICU survivors.

Condition Delirium, Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer; Early Onset, Trauma, Polytrauma, Traumatic Brain Injury, ICU, Critical Illness
Treatment Non-interventional observational prospective cohort study
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03098459
SponsorVanderbilt University Medical Center
Last Modified on23 January 2022


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Inclusion Criteria

Adult trauma and/or burn patients, injury from any mechanism, requiring
admission to an Adult ICU for the treatment of shock (any type), respiratory
failure, and/or neurologic failure, including monitoring for deteriorating
brain function

Exclusion Criteria

Inability to obtain informed consent within the 72 hours following injury
Attending physician refusal
Patient and/or surrogate refusal
-hour period of eligibility was exceeded before the patient was screened
Patient unable to consent and no surrogate available within the 72-hour period
Residence > 200 miles from study site and do not regularly visit the Nashville area
Patients who are homeless and have no secondary contact person available
Severe prior cognitive or neurodegenerative disorder that prevents a patient from living independently at baseline
Inability to understand English or Spanish or bilateral deafness or bilateral vision loss
Inability to co-enroll with other studies
Substance abuse requiring treatment, known psychotic disorder (e.g., schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder), or recent (within the past 6 months) serious suicidal gesture necessitating hospitalization
Expected death within 24 hours of enrollment or lack of commitment to aggressive treatment by family or the medical team (e.g., likely to withdraw life support measures within 24 hours of screening)
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