Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) accounts for 50 percent of trauma related deaths.
It is commonly caused by a blow to the head which injures the brain. This can also occur with penetrating injuries or indirect injuries such as sudden acceleration/deceleration which can damage the brain.
There are different severities of TBI ranging from mild to severe.
TBI symptoms can include physical, sensory and cognitive symptoms. Physical symptoms include
headache, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, trouble with speaking, trouble sleeping or being off balance.
In severe cases, physical symptoms include seizures, pupil dilation, spinal fluid draining from the nose or ears, and being unconscious.
Sensory symptoms include blurry vision, ringing in the ears, changes with taste or smell and sensitivity to light or sound.
Cognitive symptoms include trouble remembering things or difficulty with concentration. Some patients exhibit labile moods and feelings of depression.
In severe cases, there can be agitation and combativeness, and changes in conciouscness including coma.
TBI can include concussions, epidural hematomas, subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hematomas, and cerebral contusions.
These types of injuries can lead to increased pressure in the skull causing parts of the brain to herniate which can lead to death.
It's important to note that around 5% of patients with severe TBI have a cervical spine fracture so proper care during transport is required to prevent further injury.
Diagnosis of TBI is generally made with radiographic imaging with CT scans and possibly MRI's. Treatment options vary from supportive care to emergent surgery depending on the type and magnitude of the damage.