Pathophysiology of Head Trauma

  • M. Cormio
  • G. Citerio
Conference paper


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) shares the same basic mechanisms of any organ trauma but, at the same time, it is unique. Some aspects render TBI extremely peculiar and very attractive to study:
  • — The brain is the most complex and highly organized system within the human body. It carries on extraordinary “superior” functions. TBI affects brain delicate potentialities and eventually leads to coma.

  • — The brain is contained in a rigid container. A perfect volume equilibrium of its components (blood/parenchyma/CSF) is required to maintain normal pressures, essential to allow normal brain perfusion. The rigid nature of the brain’s container introduces the topic of intracranial pressure (ICP) and its pathological response to TBI.

  • — Head injuries vary widely in their etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and optimal treatment strategies. TBI initiates many heterogeneous and interactive pathological, neurochemical, metabolic and functional changes. Even if the clinical sign expressing them is finite, we have to bear in mind the complexity and variability of the interactions behind them.

  • — In many cases, TBI occurs in polytrauma and, therefore, it is accompanied by derangements in some physiological variables important in ensuring a continuous blood supply and oxygenation to the brain. Hypoxia and hypotension are the principal factors leading to secondary insults and secondary brain damage.


Traumatic Brain Injury Cerebral Blood Flow Head Injury Brain Edema Cerebral Perfusion Pressure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cormio
  • G. Citerio

There are no affiliations available

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