Brain Injury, Traumatic
- 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; pulmonary
- Synonym(s): head injury, concussion
- Sixty-nine million individuals worldwide are estimated to sustain a TBI each year.
- 801,700 ED visits and 326,600 hospitalizations per year in the United States
- 61,000 deaths per year; ~30% of all injury-related deaths
- Incidence in males twice that of females
- Predominant age: 0 to 4 years, 15 to 19 years, and >65 years
- Predominant gender: male > female (2:1)
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) TBI data in 2017, mechanism of injury of hospitalized patients (male vs. female percentage)
- Unintentional falls (35.6 vs. 23.9)
- Motor vehicle crashes (22.5 vs. 10.8)
- Unintentionally being struck by or against an object (2.3 vs. 0.9)
- Intentional self-harm (0.8 vs. 0.3)
- Assault (7.5 vs. 1.7)
- Children 0 to 17 years
- Falls (7.7)
- Motor vehicle crashes (6.8)
- Contact sports account for 45% of TBI emergency room visits for children related to sports and recreation.
- Primary insult: direct mechanical damage
- Secondary insult: actuation of complex cellular and molecular cascades that promote cerebral edema, ischemia, and apoptotic cell death
Alcohol and drug use, prior/recurrent head injury, contact sports, seizure disorder, ADHD, male sex
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.
- Safety education and fall prevention
- Seat belts; bicycle and motorcycle helmets
- Protective headgear for contact sports
Child abuse: Consider if dropped or fell <4 feet (e.g., off bed, couch), suspicious history, significant injury present, or any retinal hemorrhages.
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