Traumatic brain injury

According to reliable sources, traumatic brain injury or TBI is one of the most common causes of death among children and adolescents. No one knows exactly how many fatal cases there are, but conservative estimates put the total number of traumatic brain injuries at around two million per year in the United States, with half a million severe enough to require hospitalization. In Britain, around a million people are treated for head injuries each year, with almost 12,000 of these being severe. One in ten people die

What is traumatic brain injury?

In a severe injury to the skull or brain, brain tissue and blood vessels are seriously damaged by some external violent attack.

How does traumatic brain injury happen?

A traumatic brain injury is usually the result of a heavy blow or punch to the head. According to one US study, 80 percent of severe or moderately severe brain injuries are caused by traffic accidents. Around 15 percent happen in the home, followed by acts of violence, and accidents at work or playing sport.

How can you recognize a traumatic brain injury?

Through very careful and precise examination. This includes measuring the person's blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood and temperature, X-rays, MRI scan of the head (possibly including the chest, stomach and spine), conventional X-rays of the chest, stomach and spine, ultrasound scans, blood test, electrocardiography (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG).

What are the signs of a traumatic brain injury?

One of the main signs is loss of consciousness. There are three levels of gravity in traumatic brain injury: brief unconsciousness (less than 5 minutes). Unconsciousness lasting more than 5 minutes, and persistent unconsciousness. These conditions are often caused by bleeding in the brain, which can appear immediately after the injury or up to 48 hours following the accident. Bedside monitoring is essential.

What are the symptoms or after-effects of a traumatic brain injury?

TBI can cause long-lasting damage to brain function, which can vary depending on which region of the brain was damaged. Symptoms or effects can include headaches of increasing severity, clouding or loss of consciousness, clear or watery bloody liquid running from the nose and ears, bruising under the eyes, differently enlarged pupils, a strong, slow pulse, breathing difficulties, vomiting, headache, fainting, paralysis, impaired speech, coordination problems, problems with regulating body temperature, brain function problems, perception problems. In contrast to a slight brain injury, or moderately severe TBI, whose symptoms disappear after a few days or months, with severe trauma the damage can last a lifetime.

What are the prospects of a cure?

Permanent damage is likely if the brain injury is traumatic. The effects can range from slight changes in personality or impaired memory capacity through to severe conditions like persistent vegetative syndrome (PVS). Intensive and early rehabilitation (with occupational therapy) improves the prognosis.

Source: alf

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