Traumatic brain injury can range from relatively mild to catastrophic. The extent of injury depends on multiple factors, including the magnitude of the trauma, neurological complications and timeliness of medical treatment. However, regardless of the level of severity, all individuals who suffer head trauma should receive medical attention immediately.
Brain Injury Diagnosis
The first step in successfully diagnosing brain injury is to stabilize the patient by administering emergency treatment, physical exams and close monitoring of vital signs. Once life-threatening injuries have been treated and the patient is stable, medical practitioners are able to utilize imaging technology and a wide range of other medical tests to diagnose brain injury. Diagnosing brain injury and assessing the level of damage is essential in order to prevent further injury that may lead to permanent disability, persistent vegetative state or death.
X-rays, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computerized tomography) scans are often used in diagnosing brain injury. These advanced imaging technologies allow physicians to detect any life-threatening bleeding or swelling of the brain tissues. In addition, more elaborate imaging methods, including PET (positron emission tomography) scans may be used to diagnose closed head injuries that may affect more than one area of the brain.
Because brain injury often leads to functional as well as behavioral changes, many Pensacola patients diagnosed with brain injury undergo a set of neurological evaluations, which help determine the individual’s level of consciousness. The two most common systems that medical practitioners use to diagnose the symptoms and the level of traumatic brain injury include the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Rancho Los Amigos Scale.
Glasgow Coma Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale is a 15-point scale that allows doctors to measure the patient’s visual, verbal and motor responses. The final score is determined by adding up the values from each category. A lower score indicates more severe brain injury.
Best Eye Response (4)
- No eye opening
- Eye opening in response to pain
- Eye opening to commands
- Eyes opening spontaneously
Best Verbal Response (5)
- No verbal response
- Incomprehensible sounds
- Inappropriate words
Best Motor Response (6)
- No motor response
- Extension pain
- Abnormal flexion to pain
- Withdrawal to pain
- Localizes to pain
- Obeys commands
Rancho Los Amigos Scale
The Rancho Los Amigos Scale is another frequently used assessment to determine the severity of brain injury and consciousness of each patient. This system is also used to evaluate the patient’s progress at all stages of brain injury treatment. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale measures eight levels of cognitive function.
- Level I – No Response
- Level II – Generalized Response
- Level III – Localized Response
- Level IV – Confused/Angry Response
- Level V – Confused/Inappropriate Response
- Level VI – Confused/Appropriate Response
- Level VII – Automatic/Appropriate Response
- Level VIII – Purposeful/Appropriate Response
Closed head injury can be extremely difficult to diagnose in younger patients, particularly children under the age of four. This is because a wide range of brain functions in children continue developing through adolescence. Therefore, any problems caused by brain injury may not become apparent for several years. The most devastating brain injuries in children are caused by falls and birth trauma.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Legal Recourse
Traumatic brain injury is often a result of a car accident, fall or physical attack. Brain injuries often cost victims their lives while Pensacola brain injury survivors face countless challenges, including accepting and adjusting to a new life often limited by a devastating disability. A Pensacola brain injury attorney from ES&C will work closely with professionals who understand the complexity of brain injury and the immense life changes it presents.
For a free consultation, please call 850-444-HURT (4878).