Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Anaesth. 2007 Jul;99(1):18-31. Epub 2007 Jun 1.

Traumatic brain injury: assessment, resuscitation and early management.

Author information

Division of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Nottingham and Queen's Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK.


This review examines the evidence base for the early management of head-injured patients. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common, carries a high morbidity and mortality, and has no specific treatment. The pathology of head injury is increasingly well understood. Mechanical forces result in shearing and compression of neuronal and vascular tissue at the time of impact. A series of pathological events may then ensue leading to further brain injury. This secondary injury may be amenable to intervention and is worsened by secondary physiological insults. Various risk factors for poor outcome after TBI have been identified. Most of these are fixed at the time of injury such as age, gender, mechanism of injury, and presenting signs (Glasgow Coma Scale and pupillary signs), but some such as hypotension and hypoxia are potential areas for medical intervention. There is very little evidence positively in favour of any treatments or packages of early care; however, prompt, specialist neurocritical care is associated with improved outcome. Various drugs that target specific pathways in the pathophysiology of brain injury have been the subject of animal and human research, but, to date, none has been proved to be successful in improving outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center