TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury is a disruption in normal brain function caused by a jolt, bump or blow to the head violently and suddenly. Even when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain tissue the normal brain function is disrupted.
Clinical signs of changes in normal brain function
- Decreased or loss of consciousness
- Focal neurological deficits like vision loss, speech issues, or muscle weakness
- Memory loss of events before or after the blow [amnesia]
- Change in a mental state like lack of concentration, disorientation, or slow thinking
TBI symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on brain damage extent. In mild cases, there can be a brief alteration in consciousness or mental state. In severe cases, there can be a lengthy period of unconsciousness or coma and even death.
Symptoms of TBI
The symptoms can differ based on head injury intensity. It can include some of the following.
- Confusion, vomiting, headache, lethargy
- Confusion, dizziness, dilated pupils, loss of consciousness
- Coma, paralysis, vision change, breathing issues
- Cerebrospinal fluid appears from the nose or ears
- Slow pulse, slow breathing, increased blood pressure
- Change in hearing, cognitive issues, speech problems, difficulty in swallowing
- Facial weakness, inappropriate emotional response, body tingling
- Bowel/bladder control loss
Trauma Brain Injury suspicions need you to take the person to an emergency room. The instant need is to offer the brain sufficient blood supply and oxygen. After the condition is stabilized the doctors run some neuro-monitoring and diagnostic tests to understand the injury severity and nature. Upon discharge from the hospital, it’s important to follow up with a neurologist. The board-certified neurologists at South Valley Neurology are trained to treat Traumatic Brain Injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Intracerebral hemorrhage
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Diffuse injuries
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Skull fractures
Medical providers stabilize the TBI patient and concentrate on preventing the injury from progressing. Neurological examinations and radiological tests are conducted to determine the treatment plan.
From the ER, TBI patients are shifted to the operation theater. Surgery is done to eliminate contusion or hematoma that is compressing the brain significantly. After the operation, the patients are transferred to the ICU for observation.
Some TBI patients will not head directly to the operation theater but taken to the ICU. Instant surgery is impossible in patients whose hematomas or contusions are enlarged after head injury. Delayed hematomas are discovered when their ICP increases. A routine CT scan even helps to determine hematoma or contusion.
The main goal in the ICU is to avoid secondary brain injury. The secondary brain insult is a subsequent development contributed by the primary brain injury. The decrease in blood oxygenation, increase in ICP, high blood glucose, high body temperature, and many such disturbances can worsen the neurological damage. ICU management means taking steps to prevent secondary brain insult to the TBI patient. ICP monitors help to identify excessive brain swelling.
After the TBI patients leave the hospital, they are prescribed a rehabilitation program. It can include psychiatry, speech & language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Constant vigilance is necessary to prevent the slow onset of issues like respiratory status, joint mobility, infection, and more.