Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)

 

About 20% of those who present at A & E with a mild traumatic brain injury will have ongoing problems.

Of the approx. million people who attend hospital A & E departments each year with a head injury, about 90% will only have sustained a brief period of unconsciousness or none at all. Most will be discharged home without admission to hospital. In many cases, they may not have received a CT scan.

They and their families need good hospital discharge information.

Many more people will not even attend an A & E department, for example, after a sports injury, and should have access to the same advice via their GP.

Providing such advice will be very helpful to the person and their family, and also to their employer, etc.

While most such patients will be fine after a few weeks, around 20% of people will have persistent problems, and will need on-going care.

The Headway UK website provides good information at https://www.headway.org.uk/minor-head-injury-and-concussion.aspx – see, in particular, the downloadable factsheets giving hospital discharge information and guidance to GPs.

 

People may have complex problems which include:

  • Physical problems – affecting movement, fatigue
  • Communication difficulties
  • Cognitive difficulties – affecting thinking, eg, memory problems
  • Emotional or behavioural changes

There is a need for adequate early assessment of such people in specialist clinics, so that the person with the injury, their families, employers/schools where appropriate, and their GPs can get the advice and guidance they need to cope with the effects of the injury.

Concussion sustained through contact sports should be taken seriously and medical advice sought before the person is allowed to continue to play – see, for example, https://www.headway.org.uk/sport-concussion.aspx

(and also https://www.headway.org.uk/research/american-medical-society-for-sports-medicine-position-statement-concussion-in-sport.aspx)