Expansion of the size of the brain that occurs following head trauma and brain injury.
Brain swelling can elevate intracranial pressure immediately following brain injury and can continue hours or days after the onset of brain injury. Once intracranial pressure is elevated, oxygen, glucose, and blood have difficulty reaching all portions of the brain. Blood vessels are no longer efficient in carrying blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the brain. As a consequence, increased intracranial pressure complicates the degree of brain injury and also the brain’s natural response to trauma.
Brain swelling can occur in 15–20% of severe brain injuries. The exact mechanism that leads to brain swelling is poorly understood, but once trauma is sustained, the brain tissue swells to compress harder and harder against the rigid skull. Brain swelling must be managed emergently following brain injury because patients experiencing brain swelling are at a higher risk of...
References and Readings
- Marmarou, A. (2007). A review of progress in understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of brain edema. Neurosurgery Focus, 22, E1.Google Scholar