1 Adrian Young NeuroRehab Services N. 22 St. Tampa, FL (941) The Efficacy of Emergency Department Protocols in Diagnosis of Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
2 What is a brain injury? There are two categories of brain injury: Traumatic Brain Injury and Acquired Brain Injury. Traumatic Brain Injury is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force (Brain Injury Association of America, 2012). Traumatic brain injury in the United States is a very common public health issue, which either results in death or permanent disability. About 30% of all injury deaths are caused by traumatic brain injury (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). There are different ranges of injury severity from mild, which are brief changes in mental status or consciousness, to severe, which are long-term memory loss and/or unconsciousness (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth (Brain Injury Association of America, 2012). Acquired brain injuries are any injury that is non traumatic such as stroke, near drowning, hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, tumor, neurotoxins, electric shock or lightning strike (Brain Injury Association of America, 2012). How are the injured and their families affected? For individuals who do survive accidents that caused their traumatic brain injury, they usually end up living the rest of their lives with reminders (Centers for Disease Control
3 and Prevention, 2014). Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). However, not all traumatic brain injuries have long lasting effects and could go away within a few days (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Statistics of traumatic brain injury causes According to the Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention (2014), the leading causes of traumatic brain injury in the United States from were: falls (40.5% resulted in emergency department visit, hospitalization or death), struck by/against (15.5%), motor vehicle (14.3%), assault (10.7%) and unknown/other (19%). In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI either alone or in combination with other injuries in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Screening process for traumatic brain injuries in the emergency department TBI was a diagnosis in more than 280,000 hospitalizations and 2.2 million ED visits. These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries (Brain Injury Association of America, 2012). With a high number of diagnoses, it is important to look at the screening processes for traumatic brain injuries in emergency departments. Although most trauma departments automatically do a head to toe scan, emergency departments will only scan the patient if they say they hit their head or their head hurts. In order to correctly treat patients with traumatic brain injuries, prevent chronic symptoms and minimize the effects of persistent post concussive symptoms, clinicians must be educated on protocols for these types of patients. Once the patient has been
4 diagnosed and assessed in the emergency department, there are recommended guidelines that clinicians should follow (Marshall et. al., 2012). There should be hourly clinical observation until four hours after injury; If the patient is clinically improving and has a normal CT scan, then clinical judgment should be made of discharge; Discharged patients should be given verbal and written advice for living with a brain injury; If patient returns to the emergency department with initial injury complaints, a full re-assessment and CT scan should be done (Marshall et. al., 2012). NeuroRehab services is trying to educate Physicians, Families, Advocates, Lawyers, and other Healthcare Professionals in the efficacy of follow up testing for individuals that have minimal or display no symptoms of a traumatic brain injury during the emergency room visit. These individuals over the course of the next several days, weeks or months may show signs of a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. These symptoms include Mild Brain Injury: There are a variety of symptoms associated with concussion, or mild TBI. Individual symptoms will vary by person. Listed are common symptoms typically demonstrated by concussion patients but they rarely have all of the symptoms at the same time and some show very few if any symptoms. Nausea Vomiting Fatigue Feeling light-headed or dizzy A feeling of having your bell rung
5 Trouble getting things organized Blurred vision or eyes that get tired easily Headaches or ringing in the ears Feeling sad or anxious Being easily irritated or angry Feeling tired all the time Having trouble with memory, attention, or concentration Having trouble with self-control Being bothered by sounds, lights or distractions Feeling easily confused or overwhelmed Thinking, moving, speaking or reading slower than normal Having trouble making decisions or solving problems Having changes in sleep, including much more or much less Having changes in sexual interest or behavior Despite the circumstances whether and individual is slightly dazed or loses consciousness for less than 30 minutes the likelihood of having ongoing problem is the same. Of major importance is understanding that the risk of sustaining a second brain injury after the first is three times greater than average and the risk for a third is 8 times greater than average. The more concussive injuries a person sustains the greater the likelihood of long term effects. Individuals in contact sports and combat are most likely to sustain multiple concussive injuries, sometimes leading to more severe injuries.
6 Typically Mild to Moderate TBI s are easily diagnosed in the emergency room but on those few occasions when the mild injury is missed it may develop into a more significant injury. Behavioral and Emotional Effects Associated with Moderate to Severe TBI Individuals vary and some persons have very few behavioral and emotional effects post TBI, more commonly there is a wide range of effects in varying levels and intensities. Because the brain controls the way we act, feel, communicate and behave, these changes will be individualized depending on the location of the TBI. Changes in behavior may include: Frustration, increased anger/ aggressiveness Impulsivity or difficulties in self-control Faulty or poor judgment Decreased ability to initiate conversation or activity Repetitive behaviors (perseveration) Less effective social skills Changes in sexual behaviors Impaired self-awareness about how TBI impacts him/herself and others Emotional effects may include: Depression Increased anxiety Mood swings (emotional lability)
7 Changes in self-esteem Confusion Most people with severe TBI experience some level of confusion after their injury. It is expected and often decreases over time. The confusion may last minutes, days, weeks, or be permanent. Keeping them safe, increasing cognitive rehabilitation and offering reassurance are important early on in recovery. While they are confused you might see: Disorientation (not sure of where he or she is, time of day, what has happened) Seems in a fog, staring blankly Confusing times/tasks in schedule of activities Confusing past and present events Slurred speech Speaking too rapidly Making up convincing stories to fill memory gaps. This is called confabulation. Speaking too loudly or softly Sleep problems Difficulty controlling emotions Lack of initiation or a Low activity level In most moderate to severe TBI cases, neurologic rehabilitation and or behavioral support are necessary to recovery. Immediate follow-up testing should occur if an individual starts to exhibit any of these symptoms post fall, MVA, or other type of accident.
8 While NRS struggles to change the philosophy of modern medicine to account for: The fact that individuals who lose consciousness cannot always make it known in the Emergency Room That any person involved in a MVA should have follow up CT scans and Neurological Evaluations at least once after the accident preferably no later than 30 days post-accident (MRI s may be appropriate in some circumstances) That it is imperative for those around the injured person to notice the signs and insist on follow-up testing and care *******At the end of this presentation you will find a very extensive questionnaire that any legal professional can utilize to determine the need for further investigation about a possible traumatic brain injury. Post-traumatic brain injury care Primary care providers should evaluate any patient who has had a traumatic brain injury. The assessment should include taking a history, physical examination, cognitive screening, post concussive symptom assessment, and a review of mental health (Marshall et. al., 2012, p. 261). According to Marshall et. al. (2012), the following protocols should be conducted: Appraisal of severity of injury and post concussive symptoms Consider that the patient may have reduced cognitive functioning, memory loss, speed of processing information, concentration or attention issues Manage any and all symptoms and educate the patient about how to manage the symptoms
9 Explain to the patient that they should not drive for at least 24 hours after the injury and after medical re-assessment. If the patient has complications, a medical assessment is required. Require the patient to schedule an assessment every 2 to 4 weeks when still have symptomatic. Educate the patient on the following: Information about common symptoms, Reassurance that it is normal to experience some symptoms and that a positive outcome is expected, Information about typical timelines (allowing for individual differences) and the course of recovery, Advice about how to manage or cope with symptoms, Advice about gradual reintegration of regular activities, Information on how to access further support if needed, and advice on stress management (Marshall, et. al. 2012, p. 262). Various criteria for a CT scan post-accident A cranial computerized tomography (CT) scan is the standard test to assess the brain right after injury. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your skull and brain (Mayo Clinic, 2014). However, there are different criteria based on each emergency department and then doctor to determine if the patient should get a CT scan after an injury. There is no standard nationwide criteria for when to perform a CT scan after injury. According to Levine (2010), there are factors to consider giving a CT scan with a minor head injury and different factors when the patient has a head injury. CT scan is needed if a patient has 1 or more of the following criteria: Headache Vomiting (any) Age > 60 y Drug or alcohol intoxication
10 Persistent anterograde amnesia (e.g., deficits in short-term memory) Visible trauma above the clavicle Seizure (Levine, 2010, p. 347). Indications for urgent CT scan include the following: Evidence of skull fracture basal, depressed, or open Abnormal results of neurologic examination Seizure Vomiting > 1 time High-risk mechanism (e.g., ejection from vehicle; pedestrian or cyclist vs automobile) Decreasing GCS score or persistently decreased GCS score of < 15 Indications for lower threshold for CT scan include the following: Age > 60 y Persistent anterograde amnesia Retrograde amnesia > 30 min Coagulopathy Fall > 5 stairs or > 3 ft. Intoxication (examination unreliable) LOC > 30 min Mechanism and location of injury Social factors (e.g., abusive situation at home, language barriers preclude accurate history) (Levine, 2010, p. 347). Emergency physicians face the difficult decision of which patients need urgent computed tomography (CT) scanning, which should be observed, and which can be sent home (Levine, 2010, p. 348). However, if a CT scan is not given and a patient has an injury or brain bleed, there can be further damage done to the brain, making recovery time and success more challenging. Efficacy of NeuroRehab Services programs Although NeuroRehab Services understands that no brain injury will be 100% cured, we do know the importance of early and effective treatment to help the patient go home and start working again. We take pride in being an industry leader in innovative, assistive and alternative rehab solutions and technologies.
11 Reference Brain Injury Association of America. (2012). retrieved from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). retrieved from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). retrieved from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). retrieved from: Levine, Z. (2010). Mild traumatic brain injury. Canadian Family Physician, 56. Retrieved from: Marshall, S., Bayley, M., McCullagh, S. Velikonja, D. & Berrigan, L. (2012). Canadian Family Physician, 58. Retrieved from: Mayo Clinic. (2014). Retrieved from
12 SYMPTOMOLOGY BASED QUESTIONAIRE (Questionnaire used at evaluator s discretion when client suffered blow to the head without clear evidence of TBI) This Form is not intended to be a medical evaluation unless administered by a licensed healthcare provider. All other use is educational in nature and should only be used to indicate need for further evaluation by appropriate healthcare professionals. 1. Sleep Disturbances: What is the length of time you currently sleep including specific times of your sleep cycle? Is this different from prior to injury? If yes, how is this different? What type of bedding do you use, including size? Is this different from prior to injury? If yes, how is this different? What is the number of pillows you use? Is this different from prior to injury? If yes, how is this different? What is your current sleep position? Is this different from prior to injury? If yes, how is this different? How many caffeinated beverages do you consume in a day? Is this different from prior to injury? If yes, how is this different? Do these caffeinated beverages help you to stay alert? Do you experience any of the following? Difficulty of falling asleep? YES NO If so, is there a delay in sleep? YES NO Difficulty staying asleep? YES NO Snoring? YES NO Apneic episodes? YES NO Nocturnal reflux? YES NO Sleep Walking? YES NO Teeth grinding? YES NO Restless legs? YES NO Nocturia? YES NO Do you currently use a sleeping pill? YES NO Did you previously use a sleeping pill? YES NO Have you participated in a sleep study? YES NO Overnight pulse oximetry? YES NO
13 Diagnosis of sleep apnea? YES NO Awakened by dreams? YES NO Do you take naps? YES NO Do you have difficulties staying awake? YES NO Do you talk in your sleep? YES NO Do you have nightmares? YES NO Do you feel rested and refreshed upon awakening? YES NO Do you feel more rested if you sleep longer? YES NO 2. Headache: Do you have problems with headaches? YES NO If yes, how many times per week? Is this different from prior to the injury? If yes, please explain. What was the date of your last headache? Please describe physical symptoms that occur (throbbing, pressure, what side of head? Please specify in detail): On a pain scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, where do your headaches rate? What time of day does the headache begin? Does the headache lessen or worsen? If so, when? What is the longest period of time you have experienced a headache? Have you missed work or events due to headaches? YES NO If yes, how many days or events? Does the pain increase or decrease through the day? YES NO Do any of the following trigger a headache? Spicy foods? YES NO Reading for more than 5 minutes? YES NO Reading for more than 15 minutes? YES NO Playing a video game for more than 15 minutes? YES NO Changes in weather? YES NO Pollen? YES NO Noise? YES NO Lights? YES NO
14 Odors? YES NO Alcohol? YES NO Do you experience any of the following? Nausea? YES NO Light sensitivity? YES NO Sound sensitivity? YES NO Dizziness? YES NO Are any of your symptoms be relieved by any of the following? Rest? YES NO Being in a dark room? YES NO Elimination of Noise? YES NO Caffeine? YES NO Use of over the counter products? If so, which ones? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most helpful what level does this assist you? 3. Reading / Focusing/ Attention Do you experience headaches or eye pain when reading for 15 minutes or more? YES NO Do you experience blurry vision? YES NO Do you experience red eyes? YES NO Do you experience irritated eyes? YES NO Do you experience watery eyes? YES NO Do you feel that the room will shift? YES NO Do you experience dizziness when reading? YES NO Do you lose your place or re-read lines unmentionably? YES NO Do you have trouble finding the next line of text? YES NO Do you have difficulty focusing on text or content? YES NO Do you have difficulty with comprehension? YES NO Do you pull away from objects when brought closer for you to see? YES NO Do you hit your sides when walking through doorways? YES NO Do you have difficulty remembering what you see? YES NO When driving, do you crowd the passenger or driver s door when parking? YES NO 4. Hearing Do you have problems with hearing? YES NO Do you experience ringing in your ears? YES NO Do you experience buzzing in your ears? YES NO Do you have decreased hearing sensitivity? YES NO Do you experience difficulty localizing the source of a sound? YES NO
15 Do you have trouble with loud noises? YES NO Do you have difficulty understanding others on the phone? YES NO Do you have difficulty speaking to multiple people at one time? YES NO Do you have difficulty hearing conversations in a loud environment? YES NO Do you watch people s face or lips to better understand them? YES NO Do you sometimes hear the wrong word? YES NO Do you have difficulty understanding conversations with one ear blocked? YES NO If yes, which ear? When does this occur? 5. Balance Do you experience any of the following? Dizziness? YES NO Lightheadedness? YES NO Motion sickness? YES NO Falling due to imbalance? YES NO Hold onto the wall for support when showering or when eyes are closed? YES NO Difficulty descending the stairs? YES NO Difficulty ascending the stairs? YES NO Difficulty with balance when carrying objects? YES NO Become anxious when there is movement around you? YES NO Feel more at ease when pushing a cart in the grocery? YES NO Difficulty scanning the shelves in a store? YES NO Do you use an assistive device when walking? YES NO If yes, which device? 6. Attention/Concentration: Can you do more than one thing at a time? YES NO If interrupted, can you return to the original task? YES NO Are you easily sidetracked when trying to stay focused? YES NO When driving do you speak with someone? YES NO When driving do you listen to the radio? YES NO Can you watch a 30 minute program and stay focused? YES NO Can you watch a 60 minute program and stay focused? YES NO Can you watch a movie and stay focused? YES NO If yes, can you remember what you watched? YES NO Can you stay focused to read a newspaper? YES NO If yes, can you remember the content? YES NO
16 7. Memory: Do you experience the following? Absentmindedness? YES NO Misplacing items as you use them? YES NO Misplace items you use daily? YES NO Feel more forgetful? YES NO Have difficulty remembering to pay the bills? YES NO Have difficulty remembering important events (i.e. birthdays, etc.)? YES NO Get lost in familiar places? YES NO Forget to add ingredients to a recipe when cooking? YES NO Leaving pots on the stove or burning food? YES NO Forget to add detergent to the washer? YES NO Forget to keep scheduled appointments? YES NO Forget tasks assigned to you? YES NO Have you run out of gas while driving? YES NO If lost, could you find your way back to the route? YES NO Forgotten to renew tags/license? YES NO Feel panicked if you do not recognize your surroundings? YES NO Experience times when you cannot recall your actions? YES NO More dependent on reminders or calendars? YES NO Use strategies to assist with memory? YES NO 8. Planning/ Organizing/ Executive Functioning: Do you have difficulty with the following? Being on time for appointments? YES NO Walking into a room and forgetting what you were doing? YES NO Creating a plan B if your original plan does not work? YES NO Spend too much time in stores looking an item? YES NO Creating a grocery list from a menu? YES NO Budget money to cover expenses? YES NO Are you rigid or inflexible in thinking or decision making? YES NO Recognizing other point of view in an argument? YES NO Making decisions without considering all factors? YES NO Being in touch/recognizing the needs of others? YES NO Getting stuck doing a task when another task is more important? YES NO Laziness? YES NO Difficulty understanding jokes? YES NO 9. Speech/Language: Difficulty spitting the words out? YES NO Do you have difficulty saying a word other than the one intended? YES NO Lose track of a point you wanted to make? YES NO Others become impatient when you are trying to make a point? YES NO Searching for the right word? YES NO Difficulty getting a point across? YES NO
17 Ability to defend your position in an argument? YES NO Do you become confused when discussing with a group? YES NO Do you interrupt others? YES NO Are you asked to speak louder? YES NO Do you become hoarse when speaking? YES NO Have you been diagnosed with dyslexia? YES NO Do you take longer to read? YES NO Do you have difficulty with remembering the plot or characters? YES NO Do you sometimes misread words? YES NO 10. Anger/ Irritability Are you easily frustrated? YES NO Other express that you are easily angered? YES NO Are you impatient when asked to wait? YES NO Are you more easily angered by other drivers? YES NO Do you experience road rage? YES NO Do you yell when you lose your temper? YES NO Do you hit or push someone when angry? YES NO Do you or have you hit or pushed a pet when angry? YES NO Do you lose your temper? YES NO Does the time of day or level of fatigue affect irritability? YES NO Are you more irritable when? YES NO In pain? YES NO There is a noisy environment? YES NO Hungry? YES NO Consuming caffeine? YES NO Drinking alcohol? YES NO Do you lose your temper and have no memory of the incident? YES NO Have the police been called due to you losing your temper? YES NO Do you feel remorse after losing your temper? YES NO 11. Depression/Tearfulness/Emotional Liability: Have you been diagnosed or treated for depression? NO Have you experience a prolonged reaction to the death of someone? NO Have you experienced mood changed due to menstrual cycle (if applicable)? NO Do you frequently experience mood changed due to menstrual cycle (if applicable)? NO Do you have the ability to have fun? NO YES YES YES YES YES
18 Do you enjoy hobbies? YES NO Do you frequently experience crying jags? YES NO If so, how often? Are you more emotional when watching something sad on TV or at the movies? YES NO Crying that is triggered by stress? YES NO If so, do you feel relief after? YES NO Have you experienced changes in appetite? YES NO If yes, please explain: Have you experienced changed in weight? YES NO If so, how much and how often? Do you now or have you experienced suicidal ideations? YES NO If yes, please explain (when, attempts, etc.): Do you feel optimistic about the future? YES NO Has there been any changes in libido? YES NO If yes, please explain: Please complete if applicable: Age of menarche: Do you have regular period cycles? YES NO Have there been changes in period cycles after the injury? YES NO If yes, Please explain: Once completed the evaluator should have a clear pattern of yes answers if there is a potential TBI. In cases where it is uncertain please contact NRS for assistance at
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