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I. General Principles

D. Brain swelling

Increased intracranial pressure and herniation can be a lethal complication in head trauma. The two major factors which contribute to brain swelling are edema and increased cerebral blood volume.

E. Delayed sequelae/complications of CNS trauma

  • Post-traumatic epilepsy, due to seizure activity initiated at sites of meningocerebral cicatrix (scar tissue)
  • Hydrocephalus - obstruction of CSF resorption after subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Delayed intracerebral hemorrhage - may occur days or months later (probably due to partial tearing of vessels during trauma with subsequent rupture)
  • Psychological deficits (post-traumatic syndrome) -symptoms include headache, dizziness, anxiety, poor concentration;   morphological substrate unknown
  • White matter degeneration (pathogenesis not clear, may be related to stretching or shearing of axons during trauma)