When a physical force damages the brain, it’s known as a traumatic brain injury.
In the United States, it’s estimated that 1.5 million people will sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury each year.
Traumatic brain injury is caused by a sudden blow to the head; either the head strikes an object, or an object strikes the head. And what it does is, it causes the brain to actually shift within the skull. And that shifting motion causes injury to the brain, either by bruising or by tearing small blood vessels.
Both open and closed head injuries can cause severe brain damage, resulting in the need for immediate medical attention.
The first thing we do is, we stabilize the patient. Once the patient is stabilized, then we do a brief neurological assessment to determine urgency of imaging studies. We will assess the patient’s level of alertness, we will check their cranial nerves, we’ll check their pupils, and we’ll check their gross motor function.
If the patient has significant intracranial injury, they will require monitoring in the Intensive Care Unit. They may require an intracranial pressure monitor. They may also require additional medications to control the brain swelling.
The NeuroScience Department at CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth provides diagnostic, surgical, and acute care facilities for those with traumatic brain injury.
St. Elizabeth has great facilities to handle traumatic brain injury. We have a fully staffed Neurological Intensive Care Unit. We have full capacity for intracranial monitoring. We also have very good equipment for placement of these monitors.
We have a full supportive staff in terms of trauma services and pulmonary services, which can also assist us.
For more information on traumatic brain injury, including the signs and symptoms, visit the CHRISTUS Web site.