Tests to Determine Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Medical providers can test for TBI and the severity of damage it causes using a variety of procedures.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially life threatening condition. Even a minor bump or blow can result in a brain injury that leaves the victim with permanent impairments. TBI testing has become more advanced in determining the parts of the brain impacted and the extent of the damage done. The following outlines some traditional testing doctors use to diagnose TBI, along with some of the latest developments in the field.

Testing for Traumatic Brain Injury

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) outlines a variety of tests that doctors use to diagnose TBI and to determine the level of brain or nerve functioning. Among these, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) provides a basic assessment of the person’s condition. It measures the ability to speak, to open the eyes, and to move, assigning a numerical score for each. Numbers of 13 or higher indicate a mild TBI, while a lower score indicates a more severe injury.

In addition to the GCS, imaging tests also play a key role in treating brain injuries, allowing doctors to see the exact areas affected and the extent of the damage. These include:

Other TBI tests focus on speech, language, and cognitive abilities. These evaluate the patient’s ability to communicate and the strength and coordination of the muscles that control speech. This can impact the patient’s ability to swallow and indicates whether feeding tubes or supplements are needed. Cognitive tests, which are usually administered over a number of hours by a neuropsychologist, evaluate the impacts a brain injury has on the person’s memory and ability to reason or make judgments. These often involve interviews with family members to uncover personality changes which occurred due to the brain injury.

Additional Testing For TBI

An additional, yet less common method of TBI testing listed by the NIH is diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This uses water molecules to contrast with magnetic resonance images, and can help quantify the amount of damage directly attributed to the brain injury. This can be particularly helpful in personal injury lawsuits. While not routinely provided by doctors, it can be requested through your attorney.

An additional, less common method of TBI testing is Functional MRI (fMRI) which tests impact of an injury on particular areas of the brain. Thisese tests can be particularly helpful in personal injury lawsuits. While not routinely provided by doctors, it can be requested through your attorney.Another procedure which could hold promise is blood testing, which monitors protein levels in those with suspected brain injuries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this procedure in early 2018, and claims it could help to ensure patients at risk get the additional testing and treatment they need.

Austin Brain Injury Attorney Stephen G. Nagle Is Here to Help

If you or someone you care about has suffered a brain injury as the result of another’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact Austin attorney Stephen G. Nagle. Request a consultation to discuss your options in seeking the compensation needed to recover from these injuries.

Traumatic brain injury: Advances in diagnosis

On behalf of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in brain injuries on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

Although traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are well-known, medical professionals continue to struggle with a simple method of diagnosis. Diagnosis is important, as it can play a role in holding those who cause these injuries financially accountable.

What exactly is a TBI? A TBI is generally defined in the medical field as “an acute brain injury resulting from mechanical energy to the head from external forces with loss of consciousness less than 30 minutes, posttraumatic amnesia less than 24 hours, and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13-15 after 30 minutes post-injury or on presentation for healthcare.”

How are TBIs diagnosed? At this time, medical professionals generally use the definition above to determine if a patient has suffered a TBI. Additional research is underway to develop a more concrete form of diagnosis.

One such method, recently discussed in an article in Medscape, involves measuring a protein released in the brain during an injury. If the research proves successful, the protein could be measured instead of using head CT or brain MRIs to aid in diagnosis, both of which can result in exposure to potentially dangerous radiation.

How common are TBIs? TBIs are likely more common than reported, and reports are staggering. There are 1.7 million people in the United States that visit emergency departments, are hospitalized or die due to TBIs every single year.

This number is likely inaccurate, as an additional 30 to 45 percent of victims of these injuries are estimated to never seek treatment from a healthcare provider.

Why is diagnosis important? TBIs can result from a number of different accidents, including bicycle accidents, car crashes and construction accidents. Having a diagnosis can help hold others responsible when these accidents are the result of another person’s negligent or reckless actions.

TBIs can result in additional medical care, rehabilitation costs and other expenses. By holding responsible parties accountable for their actions, victims can receive monetary awards to help cover these costs and others associated with these injuries.

Related Posts: New tool could help determine extent of damage from brain injuryWhy is the brain so susceptible to injury?When Crashes Cause TBIs in Children3 ways a traumatic brain injury can happen on the job