Posted in Blog on May 25, 2013
Approximately 1.7 million Americans suffer brain injuries every year, most of them in road accidents, or bicycle accidents. Approximately 3/4th of these injuries are reported to be mild traumatic brain injuries that are not serious enough to lead to long-term disability, but can have long-term outcomes. However, doctors find it a challenge to determine if a patient’s brain injury will have any long-term outcome. New research seems to suggest that MRIs can help a doctor in this area.
The doctors compared patients who were given only CT scans after a brain injury, with the results after they were given an MRI scan as well. The researchers analyzed 135 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, and had been administered a CT scan in the hospital. All of these patients were also admitted an MRI about a week later.
A majority of the patients in the study had a clear CT scan, but when they were administered an MRI, approximately a quarter of those patients with clear CT scans were found to have microscopic bleeding in the brain.
This provided doctors vital clues about the long-term outlook for these patients, something which would not have been possible if they had relied on the CT scans alone.
A mild traumatic brain injury, like a concussion, is nothing to sneer at. These injuries may not lead to lo severe disability, but in 15% of cases, these injuries have been found to lead to long-term neurological complications. If a doctor is able to identify which patient is likely to have long-term complications, these patients can be monitored more closely, and can be given more clear instructions about what kind of activities to avoid.