Traumatic Brain Injury FAQs


What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury is sudden physical damage to the brain which can be the result of a closed head injury, such as sudden impact, or a penetrating head injury, such as a bullet, or other material, penetrating the skull. 

What can result from a traumatic brain injury?*
  • Anteretrograde amnesia: inability to remember events at the onset of an injury.
  • Brain Contusion: a bruise under or opposite from the side of the impact which may cause swelling and neurological dysfunction
  • Brain Herniation: caused by intracranial pressure. This can cause the patient’s consciousness to deteriorate.
  • Changes in personality
  • Coma: state of unconsciousness from which patients cannot be awakened. These may last a few days or several years.
  • Concussion: a non-penetrating blow to the head. The early symptoms of a concussion are dizziness, loss of equilibrium, nausea, vomiting and headache.
  • Difficulty learning
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Difficulty with mobility
  • Difficulty with sensations
  • Epidural Hematoma:  the collection o blood between the skull’s outer shell (dura) and the skull’s inner table.
  • Lack of attention span
  • Retrograde amneria: memory loss of events preceding an injury.
  • Skull Fracture: due to a large amount of force to the head. Symptoms include bleeding from the ear, bruising behind the ear, and dark eyes.
  • Subdural Hematoma: caused by the tearing of a bridging vein between the draining venous sinus and the cerebral cortex. This is often the result from whiplash.
*IN ALL INSTANCES, SEEK IMMEDIATE PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE.

What are the common brain injury symptoms?
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Inappropriate emotional displays
  • Incoherent speech
  • Lack of attention span
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of interest
  • Nausea
  • Post-traumatic amnesia
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Tearfulness
  • Trouble finding words
  • Vomiting
What causes a traumatic brain injury?*
  • Car accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Sports-related accidents
  • Violence
*IN ALL INSTANCES, SEEK IMMEDIATE PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE.

Brain Injury Data & Statistics
  • 50%-70% of traumatic brain injuries result from car accidents.
  • 50,000 people die as a result of a brain injury each year in America.
  • Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from a brain injury each year.
How is a brain injury classified?

Severe brain injuries are classified as:
  • Persistent vegetative state
  • Severe disability
  • Moderate disability
  • Good recovery
Moderate brain injuries include loss of consciousness and findings like contusions or bleeding in the brain.

Mild brain injuries are often caused by car accidents and falls because the head is struck by an object, or it strikes an object.

How are brain injuries diagnosed?*

There are various diagnostic tests used to determine the extent of a brain injury. These tests include:
  • CAT or CT Scan
  • EEG
  • fMRI Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • PET Scan
  • Psychological and functional tests
  • SPECT Scan
*IN ALL INSTANCES, SEEK IMMEDIATE PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE.

What are the types of skull fractures?
  • Linear skull fracture: a simple straight break in the skull. Common in children. Can be caused by motor vehicle accidents.
  • Basilar skull fracture: fracture to the floor of the skull. Can be caused by severe head trauma.
  • Depressed skull fracture: Can be caused from impact by a blunt object which caused dents in the skull bone. If fracture is between ¼- ½ inch, it may require surgery to check for damage.
  • Subdural hematoma: bleeding between the brain tissue and the skull.
  • Epidural hematoma: can be caused by trauma to the temporal bone.
  • Intraparenchymal hemorrhage/cerebral contusion: bleeding into the brain tissue.
What is an acquired brain injury and what can cause it?*

An acquired brain injury is one that occurs after birth. Common causes include:
  • Airway obstruction
  • Artery impingement
  • Blood loss
  • Chest crushing injuries
  • Choking
  • Electrical shock
  • Heart attack
  • Lightening strike
  • Near drowning
  • Shock
  • Stroke
  • Trauma to the head or neck
*IN ALL INSTANCES, SEEK IMMEDIATE PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE.

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