What are the delayed effects of brain injury?

A blow to the head from an accident in Delaware may cause a traumatic brain injury. However, the effects of a brain injury do not always show up immediately. Bleeding, swelling or other symptoms secondary to the initial injury can take time to develop. Left untreated, these delayed effects can damage the brain.

According to the Barrow Neurological Institute, there is sometimes a cause-and-effect relationship among the different delayed effects of a brain injury. For example, the initial injury can cause swelling of the brain, also known as edema. Edema can cause intracranial pressure to increase as the brain swells. Increased intracranial pressure can cause brain herniation, which occurs when brain structures move across or through other portions of the skull.

The brain floats within a special fluid in the skull called cerebrospinal fluid. CSF flows around the brain and the spinal cord via special ducts. However, swelling or bleeding in the brain can block the ducts, causing a buildup of CSF in the brain. The name for this condition is hydrocephalus, which can also cause increased intracranial pressure.

A traumatic brain injury can cause blood vessels in the skull to break. The blood that bleeds into the skull, or the brain itself, as a result, can pool and form a clot. The name for this collection of blood is a hematoma, which has the potential to increase intracranial pressure and/or compress the brain itself.

The potential damage that these delayed effects can cause may occur in addition to any brain damage resulting from the initial injury. Each is an emergency situation requiring prompt medical attention.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.