Atlanta Hyperbaric helps kids with traumatic brain injury, but for various reasons the problem tends to be understated. As I discussed last week, the terminology we use can be confusing because parents and physicians alike often downplay a mild traumatic brain injury by calling it a concussion. This week I mulled over the problem and found a report that points to some other subtleties of children after traumatic brain injury.
In a well controlled and designed study, the researchers looked at kids who came in the emergency room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, who had head injuries and compared them with a control group of kids with arm or leg fractures. The head-trauma group was carefully defined to include only mild traumatic brain injury with unconsciousness of less than 30 minutes. All the children were reassessed at 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and a year.
Although it was not surprising, persistent symptoms such as amnesia, vomiting, headache, and dizziness occurred more often in the head trauma kids than in the fracture kids. What did surprise me was how often the fracture kids had these kinds of brain-injury type symptoms. The authors pointed out that all traumatic events will create some psychological problems but, obviously, if the whole issue were psychological, no differences between the head-injury group and the fracture group would have been found. By the same token, if no psychological problems were involved, the fracture group would probably have had no long-term symptoms.
The authors were able to identify a group of kids at high risk for persistent brain-injury symptoms. When they ranked the kids by severity, those in the high-severity group were three times more likely to have persistent symptoms.