Brain MRI Can Detect Streaks of Blood Hours After Mild TBI
On March 20, 2013 neurologist Gunjan Parikh, M.D. presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on MRI evidence of brain damage following mild TBI. Dr. Parkh works at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore. He used MRI to evaluate 256 people with an average age of 50 who were admitted to the emergency department at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda and Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia after mild head injuries. Of those, 104 had imaging evidence of hemorrhage in the brain (67 percent reported loss of consciousness, and 65 percent reported amnesia, or temporary forgetfulness). Patients with hemorrhage underwent further MRI an average of 17 hours post-injury.
Two-third of these patients showed tiny, wide-spread micro-bleeds representing droplets of blood from broken brain capillaries. One-third showed streak-like or linear injuries which Dr. Parikh said represent a type of blood vessel injury similar to those seen in brains after severe head trauma. Dr. Parikh says that typically many patients with mild traumatic brain injury will not get this kind of scan. Accordingly MRI scans can be useful in finding patients who need additional treatment. Dr. Parikh has suggested making MRI standard protocol for evaluation of concussion patients.
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