Brain Injury:

Acute Treatment

The purpose of acute treatment for a brain injury is to minimize secondary injury and life support. Acute brain injury treatment focuses on stabilizing the patient immediately after the accident and providing emergency brain injury treatment to save their life. During this phase of brain injury treatment, hospital staff members will maintain body fluid levels and prevent or treat brain injury complications, such as infections.

Mechanical ventilation supports breathing and helps keep the pressure down in the head. In addition to that, a device may be placed surgically in the brain cavity to monitor and help control intracranial pressure.

Medications to sedate and put the brain injury patient in a drug-induced coma may be used to minimize agitation and secondary injury.  Seizure prevention medications may also be given early on in the course of treatment and later if the individual has seizures.

Medications to control spasticity may be used during the time that the patient recovers function.  During acute brain injury treatment, behavioral issues also can be treated with medications.  Medications for attention problems and aggressive behavior are often tried as well.

Depending on the type of TBI, the patient may need surgery due to brain injury with hours or days of the accident, particularly if a blood clot has led to ICP, or intracranial pressure.