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Head Injury

The brain may be injured by many forms of trauma to the head.

  • Direct violent forces
  • Indirect violent forces

Most head injuries are mild in nature. However severe damage may occur in the form of :

  • Internal bleeding
  • Swelling of the brain tissue
  • Severe brain damage

Severe head injury may result in permanent neurological impairment and also death. Head injuries can be associated with injuries to other body parts particularly the neck.

Who are at risk of head injury?

Motorcyclists are most vulnerable to head injuries. Other risk groups include :

  • Road traffic users
  • Construction workers
  • Contact sportsman or extreme recreational activities

How to suspect a head injury??

Patients with head injury may present with :

  • History of trauma or accident
  • Scalp swelling or wounds
  • Pain and headaches
  • Blurring of vision
  • Vomiting
  • Amnesia
  • Seizures
  • Altered level of consciousness

How to suspect a serious head injury?

If the patient develops any of the symptoms below, a serious head injury must be suspected :

  • Reduced level of consciousness
  • Increasing sleepiness
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Inability to feel or move any parts of the body or limb
  • Unable to speak properly
  • Reduced vision.

What should I do to the injured patients?

Individuals suspected to have head injury must be brought to a medical facility urgently. At the incident site, injured patients may need to be moved to a safer area. Patient must be moved carefully to avoid further injury. If the patient is unconscious, the neck must be assumed to be injured until proven otherwise.While transferring, the injured parts need to be immobilized and splinted. This can be done by applying cervical or neck support if available or strapping the patient on a firm board. Emergency first aid may be necessary. By learning first aid, emergency assistance can be given to victims before professional help arrives.

What are the consequences of head injury?

The consequences of head injury depend on the severity of injury. In cases of cerebral concussion (a brief loss of consciousness after a head injury), most patients recover completely after a few hours or days. In cases of severe head injury such as intracranial bleeding (internal bleeding of the brain), patients may recover with some permanent disability or may even lead to death.

What should I do to prevent head injury?

  1. Avoid any accident.
  2. To prevent injury from motor vehicle accident :
    • Always use protective gear during traveling
      • Motorcyclist – use helmet
      • Motorist – use seat belt
    • The road users must always observe road safety regulations such as speed limit and road courtesy.
  3. For construction workers :
    • Use protective helmet all the time
    • Follow all safety instructions at the site

Support groups

www.e-medicine.com www.trauma.org

Last Reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Muhammad Fadhli Mohd Yusoff
  : Dr. Ahmad Tajuddin Mohamad Nor
Reviewer : Dato’ Dr. Hj. Md Hanip b. Rafia