Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually changes the victim’s life forever. There are many serious consequences that result from a brain injury, which may include:
It is estimated that mild head injuries, such as concussions, are responsible for more than 600,000 visits to hospital per year in the United States.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) – The nerve cells in the brain located in the gray matter communicate with distant nerve cells through long nerve fibers called axons, which make up the white matter. Any severe sudden twisting, as occurs as a result of a whiplash accident, can stretch, twist, and damage the delicate axonal fibers. Damage to these axonal fibers is called Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). DAI usually results from severe whiplash that causes a patient to become comatose. Due to the fact DAI is microscopic, it cannot be seen on CT or MRI scans.
Direct Impact Injury – Any force that breaks through or fractures the skull may cause a severe brain injury, and is know as a direct impact injury.
Direct impact does necessarily have to penetrate the skull. The force of the impact to the brain can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull.
Direct impact can happen when the skull strikes an object, such as the sidewalk. When a moving head comes to a quick stop, the brain continues in its movement, striking the interior of the skull. This can cause bruising of the brain and bleeding.
Hypoxia Injury – Hypoxia is when the brain suffers from a lack of oxygen, even though the heart is still functioning. Hypoxia can be caused by a number of factors, including:
There are two principle types of coma associated with head and spinal trauma.
Edema is swelling of the brain, which can occur as the result of a head injury or cardiac arrest. Symptoms of cerebral edema include headaches, decreased level of consciousness, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, memory loss, and coma. Edema can lead to death if left untreated.
Brain edema causing increased pressure inside the head. This pressure can squeeze the soft brain tissue against the skull, ultimately causing damage to brain cells.
Hematoma is a collection of blood due to a tissue injury or the tearing of a blood vessel. The dura is a tough membrane that covers the entire brain and spinal cord. A blood clot that develops outside the dura, between the skull and dura, is known as an epidural hematoma. A blood clot that develops between the dura and the brain is called a subdural hematoma.
If a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or if you have a traumatic brain injury question and you’re not sure what to do,
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