Anaesthesia of the head trauma patient

Sam McMillan
Thursday, April 2, 2015

Head trauma or traumatic brain injury is commonly encountered following polytrauma, such as road traffic collisions and high rise falls, and it presents specific anaesthetic challenges. The brain is extremely sensitive to changes in volume which can be the consequence of haemorrhage, oedema or compressive fractures. Understanding the interplay between intracranial factors (such as intracranial pressure and cerebral blood flow), physiological factors (such as blood pressure and ventilatory status) and pharmacological factors is important in order to come up with an appropriate anaesthetic plan. This article outlines some of the theory and evidence that surrounds this complicated subject and suggests some nursing and anaesthetic strategies which can be implemented when managing these complex cases.

Anaesthesia of the head trauma patient
Anaesthesia of the head trauma patient

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