One of the most common brain injuries, a diffuse axonal injury results from the brain moving back and forth in the skull as a result of declaration or acceleration. Car accidents, sports accidents, falls and child abuse are common causes of diffuse axonal brain injuries.
When the brain moves back and forth in the skull, the part of the brain that sends messages is disrupted. As tissues slide over tissues, a shearing injury occurs. This leads to brain lesions which are responsible for unconsciousness and the vegetative state that follows many serious brain injuries.
If a patient remains conscious after a mild diffuse axonal injury, they will be asked a series of questions to test their cognitive ability; discover how the brain injury occurred; and determine what symptoms are present.
Diagnosing a Diffuse Axonal Injury
Brain injury diagnostic tests will then be run to establish the severity of the brain injury. Since most individuals with diffuse axonal injuries are unconscious following the accident, the only way to determine the severity of the brain injury is to perform tests, including:
- CT scan
- Evoked potentials to observe the visual, auditory and sensory pathways in the brain
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure electrical activity in the brain
After determining the extent of the brain injury, measures will be taken to reduce brain swelling, which often occurs with diffuse axonal injuries. In most situations, steroids will be administered to reduce brain inflammation. Surgery for brain injury is not an option for diffuse axonal injury patients.
Diffuse Axonal Brain Injury Treatment
If the diffuse axonal injury is mild or moderate, rehabilitation will begin after the patient has been stabilized. During this initial phase of treatment, the patient will work with a group of doctors, nurses and physical and occupational therapists. Designed to return the patient to their maximum level of function, rehabilitation for diffuse axonal injuries may include:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Recreational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Adaptive equipment training
Diffuse axonal injuries can be mild, moderate or severe. In mild to moderate diffuse axonal injuries, recovery is possible; milder forms often result in no long-term effects. Unfortunately, 90% of patients with a severe diffuse axonal injury remain unconscious. The 10% of patients that do wake up are often severely impaired.
If you or a loved one suffered a diffuse axonal brain injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Fill out our free case review form on the right to speak to a brain injury attorney today.