Diffuse Axonal InjuryDiffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury is one of the most common traumatic brain injuries because unfortunately, it happens in about half of all severe head injuries. Diffuse Axonal Injuries can also occur in moderate and mild brain injuries. That being said, this type of injury is also the most devastating  and is the leading cause of death in people with traumatic brain injuries. Diffuse axonal brain injury is associated with a diffuse brain injury because unlike a focal brain injury where the damage occurs in only a specific area, it occurs over a larger area.

Causes of Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury occurs more in victims who have been involved in a car accident, sports-related accident, violence, falls, and child abuse such as shaken baby syndrome. The reason these types of accidents are commonly related to diffuse axonal injury is because these accidents do not necessarily always involve a blow to the head, but rather the brain being shaken back-and-forth within the skull by acceleration or deceleration. When this happens, axons are disrupted–the parts of the nerve cells that allow the neurons to send messages between them. Shearing injury occurs when tissue slides over tissue which causes lesions that are directly responsible for unconsciousness that will often happen after a severe head injury. Shearing can also cause more injury to the brain when the neurons release chemicals into the brain. Brains cells dying is also another result of a diffuse axonal injury which then can cause swelling in the brain, subsequently causing additional injury to the brain with the added pressure.

Symptoms of Diffuse Axonal Injury

Unconsciousness is the main symptom of a diffuse axonal injury; this state can last up to six hours or more. Depending on which part of the brain in affected, someone who is conscious suffering from a mild or moderate diffuse axonal injury can have other brain injury symptoms.

Treatment of Diffuse Axonal Injury

When swelling occurs, the first thing that must be done is to take measures to reduce the swelling as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of damage caused by the added pressure. This can be done by taking steroids or other medications designed to help with inflammation. Surgery is not an option for victims suffering from a diffuse axonal injury. Once the patient is awake from the unconsciousness stage, rehabilitation will begin to get the victim up to normal cognitive and physical activity. Rehabilitation could include:

  • Speech Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Adaptive Equipment Therapy
  • Counseling

It is said that diffuse axonal injury can occur in just about every level of severity, with concussion thought to be one of the milder forms. In mild to moderate forms of diffuse axonal injury, recovery is possible. If you or a loved one is suffering from a diffuse axonal injury because of someone else’s negligence, contact Christensen & Hymas for a free confidential consultation at (801)506-0800. You may be able to receive compensation for the pain and suffering that you have endured because of this injury.

Image “Compare SWI and GRE Trauma” copyright by SBarnes.

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