New study reveals as many as one in three may suffer serious complications
Dr. Alexander Razumovsky, PhD, FAHA, internationally recognized as an expert in Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound (TCD) and the Pathophysiology of Cerebral Blood Flow, Director of Sentient NeuroCare Services and lead researcher of study commented "Research shows that traumatic brain injury is a hallmark of recent military conflicts, affecting nearly a third of all wounded soldiers.”
Researchers set out to find out how common these complications are in U.S. combat soliders.
Dr. Razumovsky and colleagues examined the medical records of 122 traumatic brain injury patients who had transcranial Doppler testing. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound testing shows how good the blood flow is in the brain vessels. The test is performed with a probe the size of a pencil which is placed over specific areas of the skull where the bone is thin , over the eyes, temples and in the back of the head. This test is non-invasive, inexpensive and portable way to assess these complications.
Among the patients, 88 had penetrating head injuries and 34 had closed head injuries.
The study revealed nearly two out of three veterans also had constricted blood vessels and 4 in 10 had high pressure in the brain.
"What we've found is applicable and important to civilian traumatic brain injury patients, given that a significant number of them will have posttraumatic bleeding that will lead to vasospasm and intracranial hypertension," states Dr. Razumovsky,
Vasospasm occurs when a nearby blood vessel goes into spasm and constricts, closing down the vessel and possibly leading to permanent brain damage or death. Intracranial hypertension (IH) is high pressure inside the skull, which may happen suddenly or build up gradually over time.
In closing Dr. Razumovsky says “Tracking and managing these patients is important, and therefore daily transcranial Doppler studies are recommended for recognition and subsequent management of these secondary complications.”
This new research was presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2013.
A recent study by psychiatrists from the Iowa City VA Medical Center and University of Iowa Health Care finds that soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that 10 to 20% t of the more than 2 million U.S. soldiers deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan have experienced traumatic brain injury.
More information on traumatic brain injury can be found online at the CDC website traumatic brain injury.