Traumatic brain injury (TBI), traumatic injuries to the brain, also called intracranial injury, or simply head injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes brain damage. TBI can result from a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury and is one of two subsets of acquired brain injury (ABI). The other subset is non-traumatic brain injury (e.g. stroke, meningitis, anoxia). Parts of the brain that can be damaged include the cerebral hemispheres, cerebellum, and brain stem.
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. Outcome can be anything from complete recovery to permanent disability or death.
TBI is a major public health problem, especially among males ages 15 to 24, and among elderly people of both sexes 75 years and older. Children aged 5 and younger are also at high risk for TBI. Males account for two thirds of childhood and adolescent head trauma patients.
Each year in the United States:
•approximately 1 million head-injured people are treated in hospital emergency rooms,
•approximately 270,000 people experience a moderate or severe TBI,
•approximately 60,000 new cases of epilepsy occur as a result of head trauma,
•approximately 50,000 people die from head injury,
•approximately 230,000 people are hospitalized for TBI and survive,
•and approximately 80,000 of these survivors live with significant disabilities as a result
of the injury.
Signs and symptoms
Some symptoms are evident immediately, while others do not surface until several days or weeks after the injury.
With mild TBI, the patient may remain conscious or may lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. The person may also feel dazed or not like him- or herself for several days or weeks after the initial injury. Other symptoms include:
•double vision, blurred vision, or tired eyes
•ringing in the ears
•bad taste in the mouth
•fatigue or lethargy
•a change in sleep patterns
•behavioral or mood changes
•trouble with memory, concentration, or calculation
•symptoms may remain the same or get better; worsening symptoms indicate a
more severe injury
With moderate or severe TBI, the patient may show these same symptoms, but may also have:
•loss of consciousness
•a severe, persistent, or worsening headache
•repeated vomiting or nausea
•inability to awaken
•dilation (widening) of one or both pupils
•weakness or numbness in the extremities
•loss of coordination
•increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation
•vomiting and neurological deficit (e.g. weakness in a limb) together are important
indicators of prognosis and their presence may warrant early CT scanning and
Small children with moderate to severe TBI may show some of these signs as well as signs specific to young children, including:
•inability to be consoled
•refusal to nurse or eat
Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive immediate emergency medical attention.
From the Wikipedia website