What is a brain injury?

Also known as: Traumatic brain injury (TBI), acquired brain injury, primary and secondary brain injury

Traumatic brain injury or Primary injury to the brain occurs after a direct blow to the head which results in a diminished function of the brain. It can cause bruising of the brain or bleeding on or in the brain tissue. Secondary injury develops in minutes to weeks after the initial (primary) insult from a number of processes (including a low blood pressure and lack of oxygen to the brain) that over time can lead to brain cell damage.


What causes brain injury?

In infants, child abuse is the commonest cause of brain injury. In older children and adolescents, falls, bicycle - related injuries, motor vehicle collisions and assaults are the leading causes.


What are the symptoms of brain injury?

Symptoms vary widely depending on the age, type and severity of brain injury and may occur immediately or days later. They may include sleepiness, loss of consciousness, convulsions, vomiting or nausea, fatigue, headache, problems with balance, attention and concentration problems, issues with memory, emotion and behavior, among others.


What are brain injury care options?

Treatment will also vary based on severity. Minimal injury may just require rest and observation. For more severe brain trauma, making sure that the child can breath, is well oxygenated and his blood pressure is maintained is important; management after that may require a team of Surgical, Medical and Intensive care Specialists to provide optimum care. Long term services involving many Rehabilitation Specialists may be needed. Nicklaus Children's Hospital, as a designated Pediatric Trauma Center has all the Specialists and facilities to provide for the full range of short and long term services needed.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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