Up until now it was thought that monitoring the intracranial pressure of patients that have suffered a traumatic brain injury was crucial to their survival. Not necessarily, says a new study by researchers from the University of Washington…
When a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, cells at the point of impact die as a result of the trauma. As they decompose, these dead cells release toxic substances that make the brain swell and as the swelling grows within the limited space of the skull, the veins and arteries that carry vital oxygen to the brain are constricted or reduced, cutting the flow of oxygen. This oxygen deprivation causes more brain cells to die, turning this into a vicious circle that if left untreated, can cause a patient’s death.
Consequently, doctors monitor the intracranial pressure caused by the swelling brain in order to determine if surgery is necessary. If so, the surgeon bores a whole in a patient’s skull in order to relieve the pressure caused by the swelling brain. An intracranial pressure under 20 mm (millimeters of mercury) is usually the benchmark. Once the inra-craneal pressure reaches 20 mm, doctors usually elect to do something to avoid permanent neurological damage or death by reducing or relieving the pressure.
The study consisted of following 324 patients over the age of 13 that were being treated in intensive care units at four hospitals in Bolivia and two hospitals in Ecuador and assigning them to one of two specific protocols. One protocol would consist of intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP), while the other would consist of imaging and clinical exam. The patients were evaluated by a combination of survival time, impaired consciousness, three and six-month functionality and six-month neuropsychological status assessed by a blinded examiner.
Much to the surprise of researchers, the composite measure for intracranial pressure monitoring was a median of 56 versus 53 for imaging and clinical exam. Almost no difference…
According to Randall Chesnut, a Neurosurgeon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and main investigator of the study, this means that a new multi-modality monitoring approach should be used more frequently, something that would translate into more focused treatments, less unnecessary treatments and shorter stays at the intensive care unit for patients.
Strong Support By Latin American Neurosurgeons
According to sciencedaily.com, the idea for the study came from intensive care specialists from Bolivia trying to figure out whether they should spend money on new costly monitors (at more than $700.00 each). This passionate group of latin american physicians wanted to help survivors of traumatic brain injuries, but didn’t know how to best help them. They formed the Latin Brain Injury Consortium and teamed up with Dr. Chesnut and his colleagues to conduct this study. The most important result of this study is that it challenges the traditionally held belief that traumatic brain injury patients need intracranial invasive monitoring to survive and proves that a good clinical exam combined with appropriate imaging has the potential to be as good as the intracranial monitoring.
We Can Help
With more than 100 years of combined experience, the lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help victims that have suffered any kind of traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation.
Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Traumatic Brain Injuries Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have represented many clients that have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.
If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident, a truck accident, an accident at an amusement park or as a result of any other kind of accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. As stated before, a lawyer can help you seek financial compensation from those whose negligence caused your injuries as well as from their insurers. This financial compensation may include past and future medical expenses (including rehabilitation therapy), lost wages and pain and suffering.
We offer a free initial consultation and we work on contingency fees, which means that there is no charge unless we win your case.