Name: Traumatic Brain Injury
Alternate Names: TBI, closed head injury, acquired brain injury, concussion, contusion, coup – contracoup injury, acceleration – deceleration injury, diffuse axonal injury, shearing brain injury, traumatic encephalopathy
A traumatic brain injury is caused by any injury that damages brain cells. A traumatic blow, blunt force trauma, violent shaking or any injury that results from a motion in which the brain is forced into one side of the bony skull and then the other (coupcontra coup or acceleration – deceleration injuries). There are two stages that occur in the process that damages cells during a traumatic brain injury. The first stage involves the initial injury which destroys brain cells which leads to massive swelling (edema) of brain tissues. During the second stages of traumatic brain injury the amount of brain swelling present causes the extension of the injury beyond the initial injury site with release of cellular chemical modulators and even more swelling. The signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury are directly related to the severity of the brain swelling.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Following a traumatic brain injury, the affected individual may suffer from a short or prolonged period of a loss of consciousness. Others may become agitated, lethargic, or incoherent. As the injury evolves the possibility of seizure becomes possible due to the ability of cellular modulators to create an environment in the brain tissue of hyper excitability. Individuals who suffer from a traumatic brain injury should be closely monitored for sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, agitation, or changes in the shape and diameter of their pupils.
Treating Traumatic Brain Injury or Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury
In the period immediately following a traumatic brain injury, an individual must receive prompt care to minimize swelling and extension of the initial injury. Surgical intervention may be required to relieve the pressure on brain tissues affected by swelling. Beyond that, medical management of the patient with a traumatic brain injury is largely supportive and full of observation while waiting for the swelling of tissues to abate. Mechanical ventilation is provided for individuals who cannot breathe on their own and intravenous cardiovascular medications are administered for patients who required blood pressure management. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been successful in decreasing the amount of brain tissue swelling in patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. In addition, the amount of oxygen that is made immediately available with HBOT treatment and improvement in circulation leads to a decrease in brain tissue swelling and improvement in brain functioning.HBOT has proven to be effective in stimulating the production of new blood vessels. The increase in the number of blood vessels produced by hyperbaric therapy leads to increased blood flow to the nervous system and the ability to form new connections between nerves.