Posted On: March 18, 2012 by Stephen Bilkis

Care for victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI) starts on the battlefield, according to “Guidelines for Field Management of Combat-Related Head Trauma”

Care for victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI) starts on the battlefield, according to “Guidelines for Field Management of Combat-Related Head Trauma”, doctors have learned. The combat medic works hard to prevent further harm from coming to the victim. The basics, such as the ABCs of airway, breathing, and circulation are tended to before work on the actual injury begins.

Once the patient is stabilized, the severity of the brain injury is determined, which helps form the basis of triage decisions. Someone who is less injured can be evacuated to a better facility than a field hospital. Some of these need to be moved by helicopter or some other expeditious manner. A blast from something like an improvised explosive device (IED) often results in multiple injuries, which need to be managed all at once.

The combat support hospitals in the Bronx and Brooklyn are the places for a more detailed assessment of injuries. When it comes to blast trauma, neuroimaging with CT scans should be done as soon as possible. It is important to identify things like intracranial hemorrhage, skull fractures, or cerebral edemas before they develop into something worse. Often it is necessary to perform emergency neurosurgery, studies have discovered.

Military TBI patients receive the same sort of care they would get in a civilian hospital, with the same issues to worry about, such as adequate oxygenation controlling intracranial pressure. TBI can often cause swelling of the brain, which creates pressure inside the skull. Some radical therapies, like inducing mild hypothermia, have been shown to be effective in some cases, according to doctors.