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Traumatic Brain Injury
Also called craniocerebral trauma

TBI is a sudden injury from an external force that affects the functioning of the
brain. It can be caused by a bump or blow to the head (closed head injury) or
by an object penetrating the skull (called a penetrating injury). Some TBIs
result in mild, temporary problems, but a more severe TBI can lead to serious
physical and psychological symptoms, coma, and even death
The most common form of TBI is
concussion. A concussion can
happen when the head or body is
moved back and forth quickly, such
as during a motor vehicle accident
or sports injury. Concussions are
often called "mild TBI" because they
are usually not life-threatening.
However, they still can cause
serious problems, and research
suggests that repeated concussions
can be particularly dangerous

• A person who has a TBI may have some of

the same symptoms as a person who has a
non-traumatic brain injury.
• Unlike TBI, this type of injury is not caused
by an external force, but is caused by an
internal problem, such as a stroke or
infection. Both types of injury can have
serious, long-term effects on a person's
cognition and functioning
Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs
Mild traumaticor symptoms
brain injury may appear immediately afterModerate the traumatic event,brain
to severe traumatic while others may appear
Physical symptoms days or Physical
• Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
• No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
• Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
• Headache • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
• Nausea or vomiting • Repeated vomiting or nausea
• Fatigue or drowsiness • Convulsions or seizures
• Problems with speech • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
• Difficulty sleeping • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
• Sleeping more than usual
• Dizziness or loss of balance
• Inability to awaken from sleep
Sensory symptoms • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
• Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the • Loss of coordination
mouth or changes in the ability to smell Cognitive or mental symptoms
• Sensitivity to light or sound
Cognitive or mental symptoms
• Profound confusion
• Memory or concentration problems • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
• Mood changes or mood swings • Slurred speech
• Feeling depressed or anxious • Coma and other disorders of consciousness
Effects of TBI

• Loss of social and emotional filter

• Inability to maintain relations ships
• Unable to work because of lack of
• TBI stigma is similar to those had by others
who have disabilities or diseases: impaired
coordination, loss of senses, impaired
cognitive abilities and emotional instability
Types of TBI
• TBI includes (but is not limited to) several types of injury to
the brain:
• Skull fracture occurs when the skull cracks. Pieces of
broken skull may cut into the brain and injure it, or an object
such as a bullet may pierce the skull and enter the brain.
• Contusion is a bruise of the brain, in which swollen brain
tissue mixes with blood released from broken blood vessels.
A contusion can occur from the brain shaking back and forth
against the skull, such as from a car collision or sports
accident or in shaken baby syndrome.
• Intracranial hematoma (pronounced in-truh-KREY-nee-uhl
hee-ma-TOH-muh) occurs when damage to a major blood
vessel in the brain or between the brain and the skull causes
• Anoxia (pronounced an-OK-see-uh), absence of oxygen to
the brain, causes damage to the brain tissue
• TBI can happen to anyone, but certain
groups face a greater risk for TBI than
• TBI among members of the military has
become a particular concern in recent
years because many military personnel
in Iraq and Afghanistan have been
exposed to such TBI hazards as
improvised explosive devices.
• Head and neck injuries, including severe
brain trauma, have been reported in 1
out of 4 military members who were
evacuated from those conflicts.
• Treatment depends on how sever the injury is.
• Mild TBI requires no treatment
• Sever injuries immediately oxygen and blood supply are taken into
• People with severe injuries may also have other injuries that need to be
addressed. Additional treatments in the emergency room or intensive care
unit of a hospital will focus on minimizing secondary damage due to
inflammation, bleeding or reduced oxygen supply to the brain
• Diuretics. These drugs reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and increase
urine output. Diuretics, given intravenously to people with traumatic brain
injury, help reduce pressure inside the brain.
• Anti-seizure drugs. People who've had a moderate to severe traumatic
brain injury are at risk of having seizures during the first week after their
• Coma-inducing drugs. Doctors sometimes use drugs to put people into
temporary comas because a comatose brain needs less oxygen to function.
This is especially helpful if blood vessels, compressed by increased pressure
in the brain, are unable to supply brain cells with normal amounts of
nutrients and oxygen.
• Removing clotted blood (hematomas). Bleeding outside or within the
brain can result in a collection of clotted blood (hematoma) that puts
pressure on the brain and damages brain tissue.
• Repairing skull fractures. Surgery may be needed to repair severe skull
fractures or to remove pieces of skull in the brain.
• Bleeding in the brain. Head injuries that cause bleeding in the brain may
need surgery to stop the bleeding.
• Opening a window in the skull. Surgery may be used to relieve pressure
inside the skull by draining accumulated cerebral spinal fluid or creating a
window in the skull that provides more room for swollen tissues
• Physical therapist, who helps with mobility and relearning movement patterns, balance and walking
• Speech and language pathologist, who helps the person improve communication skills and use assistive
communication devices if necessary
• Neuropsychologist, who assesses cognitive impairment and performance, helps the person manage
behaviors or learn coping strategies, and provides psychotherapy as needed for emotional and
psychological well-being
• Social worker or case manager, who facilitates access to service agencies, assists with care decisions and
planning, and facilitates communication among various professionals, care providers and family
• Rehabilitation nurse, who provides ongoing rehabilitation care and services and who helps with
discharge planning from the hospital or rehabilitation facility
• Traumatic brain injury nurse specialist, who helps coordinate care and educates the family about the
injury and recovery process
• Recreational therapist, who assists with time management and leisure activities
• Vocational counselor, who assesses the ability to return to work and appropriate vocational
opportunities and who provides resources for addressing common challenges in the workplace

Sources Sited