Initial Treatment

As with any accident, the first few moments are unnerving, filled with fear and anxiety.  If it was you that just suffered an injury, and if you are conscious and alert, you may be wondering what you should do next.  If you are with a loved one, your first concern may be for their safety.  Depending upon the severity of the injury, the treatment you seek and receive immediately following the accident can determine your likelihood of recovery.  These first few moments after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are referred to as the "golden hour" because the treatment you receive during this critical time frame will determine not only your chances of recovery, but whether you could live, die or suffer a lifelong disability.

Importance Of Immediate Treatment

Your chance of survival often depends upon access to brain injury treatment, and the more advanced the treatment center and their level of preparedness when treating a TBI, the greater your chances become.

"The initial few seconds, minutes, and hours after a brain injury has occurred are the most critical." 
If the initial treatment is not appropriate or is not effective, you may not live to see any further possible treatment. Additionally, if you do live, in spite of inappropriate or ineffective initial treatment, the long-term effect your brain injury will be far more substantial and devastating to full recovery than it otherwise might have been.

The First Phase Of Brain Injury Treatment

Initial brain injury treatment will focus on stabilizing the patient as a whole; stabilizing the brain injury, pressure and swelling of the brain. Monitoring devices and drainage devices are used to help regulate pressure in the brain. In the initial brain injury treatment phase the healthcare staff will be working together to resuscitate and/or stabilize the your vital signs.

Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation of the blood, respiratory rate and effort are all affected heavily by a brain injury, therefore the providers of care have to work effectively and often repeatedly at stabilizing these vital signs. Healthcare providers communicate with the individual’s loved ones as often as possible throughout this phase, though their primary focus remains with the care of the patient.

Preventing Brain Injury 

The most effective treatment for a traumatic brain injury is taking steps to prevent a TBI from happening in the first place. Enough cannot be said nor stressed about how important and effective simple prevention measures can be in “treating” the epidemic of brain injury. Steps toward brain injury prevention can include: 

  • seatbelts
  • helmets
  • appropriate infant/child restraints
  • driving under no influence (including alcohol, drugs, cell phones/texting/reading communication, etc)
  • living a healthy lifestyle to prevent such brain injury causes as a stroke
However, until we choose to completely avoid risky or non-preventative behaviors altogether, traumatic brain injuries will continue to occur. Because high prevalence of brain injury is the reality, initial brain injury treatment is a critical piece of the TBI care puzzle.