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Certain older patients can recover from severe brain injuries

Ohio readers may be interested to learn about a new study that shows some patients over the age of 75 can recover from severe traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. The study, which was conducted by the Helsinki University Hospital Department of Neurosurgery, is the first to report the results of elderly patients who have been surgically treated for subdural hematomas.

Typically, medical professionals do not surgically treat elderly patients suffering from acute subdural hematomas, believing they have little chance of survival or independent living. Even younger patients who are surgically treated for severe TBIs have significant mortality rates. However, older patients are more vulnerable because many use oral anticoagulant medications for cardiovascular diseases.

However, the Helsinki researchers found that older patients' functional status before suffering a TBI and their use of anticoagulant medications can help predict those who may have a positive surgical outcome. They discovered that patients age 75 and older who were conscious after their injury, were not using anticoagulant drugs and were independent recovered well from surgery, enjoying lifespans comparable to peers who had not suffered a brain injury. However, patients who were unconscious when they were admitted to the hospital, were on anticoagulants and were not living independently were unlikely to be alive one year after surgery. The researchers acknowledged that their study sample was small, but they concluded that age should not automatically preclude older patients from surgical treatments for acute subdural hematomas.

Brain injuries can take weeks or months to recover from. In some cases, a victim may be left with a permanent disability that requires a lifetime of expensive medical care. Ohio residents who suffer a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another party may wish to consult with an attorney about their legal options.

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