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Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Mar;37(3):318-32.

Traumatic brain injury outcome: concepts for emergency care.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0303, USA.


Injury to the brain is the leading factor in mortality and morbidity from traumatic injury. The devastating personal, social, and financial consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are compounded by the fact that most people with TBI are young and previously healthy. From the emergency physician's standpoint, patients with severe TBI are those with a presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score of less than 9. Over the past 30 years, mortality from severe traumatic brain injury for those patients who survive to the hospital has been reduced by half from nearly 50% to approximately 25%. Because most of the pathologic processes that determine outcome are fully active during the first hours after TBI, the decisions of emergency care providers may be crucial. This review addresses new concepts and information in the pathophysiology of TBI and secondary brain injury and demonstrates how emergency management may be linked to neurologic outcome.

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