Brain Edema/ Brain Swelling After Severe Brain Injury

Brain Edema and Brain Swelling

TBI is also called a head injury, severe brain injury or just plain brain injury. TBI is caused by a  sudden event that damages the brain. It can be caused by the physical impact or the quick acceleration and deceleration of the head. Some of the causes of brain injury may be falls, vehicle crashes, being hit with or crashing into an object, and assaults. The initial injury can cause brain tissue to swell which could result in a brain edema. In addition, broken pieces of bone can rupture blood vessels in any part of the head. The body’s response to the injury may also increase swelling. Too much swelling may prevent fluids from leaving the brain.

After a severe brain injury, changes occur which require monitoring to prevent further damage from increased pressure. The brain’s volume frequently increases after a severe brain injury. This is called brain swelling, also known as brain edema  and occurs because there is an increase in the amount of blood to the brain. This is similar to the swelling with a broken ankle, but potentially fatal because the swelling has no where to go because of the fixed size of the skull.

Brain Swelling and Brain Edema result in excessive pressure in the brain called Intracranial Pressure (“ICP”). Constant monitoring during this period after a severe brain injury is essential in order that ICP can be immediately treated.

The following symptoms may indicate a brain edema.  Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, faintness, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.  If herniation occurs, the patient may display signs of respiratory arrest due to the compression of the respiratory of the brain.

Treatment of brain swelling or brain edema can be complicated. Strong medications are administered and removal of small amounts of fluids from the brain or surgery may be beneficial. Most brain injury edema are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent the brain edema causing or aggravating brain injury.

NEXT: What is Coma?.

by Attorney Gordon Johnson