Increased Intracranial Pressure from a Traumatic Brain Injury
Over the past few decades, there have been a lot of advances in the field of modern medicine. This has led to new diagnostic and treatment modalities for injuries and diseases that previously didn’t have any options at all. Unfortunately, despite all of these advances, traumatic brain injuries remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among individuals and families in the United States. According to some of the statistics that were published by Brainline:
- A traumatic brain injury is frequently listed as a contributing factor in fatalities, mentioned in a third of all injury-related deaths in this country
- On a daily basis, over 150 people are killed in traumatic accidents that included brain injuries
- In the year 2000, the total costs of traumatic brain injuries was more than $60 billion, including costs that were related to lost productivity and missed days of work
These statistics demonstrate the dangers of suffering a traumatic brain injury. While they can lead to death, even those who survive often end up with permanent, lifelong complications as a result of their injuries. Because of this, it is important to understand just how a traumatic brain injury can lead to death. One of these mechanisms is from an increase in intracranial pressure.
What is Increased Intracranial Pressure?
The intracranial pressure refers to the pressure that the brain tissue feels inside of the skull. Because the skull is an enclosed space, there is a finite amount of room. If the solid and liquid inside of the skull increase, the air particles have less room to move around. This leads to an increased pressure inside of the skull. This can have dangerous complications, particularly for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
How does Increased Intracranial Pressure Occur?
When someone sustains trauma to the head, the response is swelling. Think about what happens when someone bangs their knee; they often wind up with a bump on their knee. This is the body’s response to trauma. Immune cells flood the area to start the repair process. Unfortunately, when it happens in the brain and the brain swells, this decreases the amount of space available for the liquid and air inside of the skull cavity. This leads to an increased pressure inside of the skull which can have life-threatening consequences.
Complications of Increased Intracranial Pressure
When the brain starts to swell and the pressure increases, this could be a sign of an impending intracerebral herniation. The swelling brain tissue needs to swell into a specific space. When it runs out of room, it starts to protrude through some of the holes in the skull, such as the foramen magnum. When this happens, this is called a herniation. The complications of a herniation are typically severe brain damage which could result in death. To prevent this from happening, emergent brain surgery (called a craniotomy) is often performed to relieve this increased intracranial pressure.
Related Articles by Ed Smith
Brain Injury Lawyer in North Highlands
I’m Ed Smith, a North Highlands Brain Injury Lawyer. The increased intracranial pressure that follows a traumatic brain injury could be fatal. If you or a loved one has sustained head or neck trauma in an accident, please contact me for free, friendly legal advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
I’m a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
I encourage all of my visitors to read our verdicts and settlements.
Image Attribution: The image from the top was found and used with permission from Unsplash.
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