Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children: Complications and Rehabilitation Strategies.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death in children in the United States. Each year 37,200 children sustain a severe TBI, with up to 1.3 million life-years potentially adversely affected. Severe pediatric TBI is associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Of the children who survive their injury, more than 50% experience unfavorable outcomes 6 months after the injury. Although TBI-associated death rates decreased between 1997-2007, disabilities for TBI survivors continue to have both a direct and indirect impact on the economic and human integrity of our society. The degree of disability varies with the severity and mechanism of the injury, but a realm of physical and emotional deficits may be evident for years after the injury occurs. This article describes the pathophysiology of moderate to severe TBI, its associated complications, and opportunities to improve patient outcomes through use of acute management and rehabilitation strategies. To address the many challenges for TBI survivors and their families, including significant financial and emotional burdens, a collaborative effort is necessary to help affected children transition seamlessly from acute care through long-term rehabilitation.
Popernack, ML; Gray, N; Reuter-Rice, K
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