Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Brain Injury, Traumatic

Brain Injury, Traumatic is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.
  • System(s) affected: neurologic; psychiatric; cardiovascular; endocrine/metabolic; gastrointestinal
  • Synonym(s): head injury, concussion


  • 2.2 million ED visits and 280,000 hospitalizations/year
  • 50,000 deaths/year; ~30% of all injury-related deaths
  • Incidence in males twice that of females with 4-fold risk of fatal trauma

  • Predominant age: 0 to 4 years, 15 to 19 years, and >65 years
  • Predominant gender: male > female (2:1)

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Falls (40%)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (14%)
  • Assault (10%)
  • Child abuse (24% of TBI age ≤2 years)
  • Recreational activities (21% of pediatric TBI, peak seasons spring/summer; peak ages 10 to 14 years)
  • Primary insult: direct mechanical damage
  • Secondary insult: actuation of complex cellular and molecular cascades that promote cerebral edema, ischemia, and apoptotic cell death

Risk Factors

Alcohol and drug use, prior/recurrent head injury, contact sports, seizure disorder, ADHD, male sex, luteal phase of female menstrual cycle

Geriatric Considerations
Subdural hematomas are common after a fall or blow in elderly; symptoms may be subtle and not present until days after trauma. Many elderly patients are on antiplatelet or anticoagulation therapy.

General Prevention

  • Safety education
  • Seat belts; bicycle and motorcycle helmets
  • Protective headgear for contact sports

Pediatric Considerations
Child abuse: Consider if dropped or fell <4 feet (e.g., off bed, couch), suspicious history, significant injury present, or any retinal hemorrhages.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Brain Injury, Traumatic." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116085/all/Brain_Injury__Traumatic.
Brain Injury, Traumatic. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116085/all/Brain_Injury__Traumatic. Accessed April 20, 2019.
Brain Injury, Traumatic. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116085/all/Brain_Injury__Traumatic
Brain Injury, Traumatic [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 20]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116085/all/Brain_Injury__Traumatic.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Brain Injury, Traumatic ID - 116085 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116085/all/Brain_Injury__Traumatic PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -