research links brain injury with elevated risk of stroke

About one out of every 53 Americans suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Traumatic brain injuries are so common that many in the medical community consider TBI to be a silent epidemic. In addition, the after-effects of a brain injury can be profound but very difficult to detect.

When many people in Pennsylvania think about what causes a brain injury, they often think about a serious blow or blunt force trauma that impacts the head and the brain. Although blunt force head trauma is a leading cause of brain injuries, there are other causes of brain injury that are less obvious. For example, acquired brain injuries are brain injuries that happen because of non-traumatic events. Common causes of acquired brain injuries include degenerative diseases, infections and medical errors. Anesthesia errors in particular can often result in serious brain injury.

While many readers may be familiar with the devastating impact a severe brain injury can have on a person’s quality of life, we are learning that brain injuries of all kinds can have a broad range of effects. These effects may include an elevated risk of other serious medical conditions. For example, recent, medical research found a strong connection between brain injury and an increased risk of stroke.

The study, published by a team of medical researchers in last week’s edition of the medical journal, Stroke, analyzed data on 23,199 patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The research team then compared this group of patients with 69,597 patients who had not suffered a TBI. Among the patients who suffered a TBI, 2.91 percent suffered a stroke within three months of the brain injury, compared with only 0.30 percent of the patients who had not suffered a TBI. Herng-Ching Lin, the leader of the research team, found that this amounted to a 10-fold increase in the risk for having a stroke.

Although this research offers evidence of a strong connection between traumatic brain injuries and the risk of having a stroke, proving the connection between a medical error and a patient’s injuries can be a difficult task on an individual basis. For this reason, it is important for people who have suffered a medical injury to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand the importance of collecting medical evidence and analyzing the evidence in order to help establish the connection between a medical mistake and a patient’s injuries.

Source: USA Today, “Brain injury may boost stroke risk,” Steven Reinberg, Aug. 1, 2011

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