Serious brain trauma can be devastating for both the victim and their family. This is perhaps never more true than when the victim is a child. A young person caught in a car accident or other incident caused by someone else’s negligence and suffering a potentially lifelong disability is a tragedy no parent in Kokomo wants to imagine.
Sadly, it can happen, no matter how much you work to protect your kids from harm. When a child sustains a TBI, their parents do everything they can to help them get better. And researchers around the world are continuously testing new treatments and therapies to help boost child TBI patients’ chances of a complete recovery.
Anesthetic as brain injury medicine?
One potentially promising new treatment is using ketamine to reduce pressure inside the skull, known as intracranial pressure or ICP. A new study from Vanderbilt University suggests that ketamine could effectively reduce ICP in children, which can reduce long-term harm from a TBI. If true, this would go against conventional wisdom, which states that TBI patients should not receive ketamine as an anesthetic because it increases ICP.
The study is relatively small, involving an analysis of 33 patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with severe brain injuries. The patients ranged from 16 years to just one month old. Twenty-two of the patients received ketamine as part of their PICU treatment. It appears that half of those patients experienced reduced ICP.
More research is needed, but if these findings hold up, it could add ketamine to the currently limited number of medicines used to reduce cranial pressure after a TBI.
The implications of severe brain trauma
Early medical intervention can make a big difference after a brain injury. But patients can still suffer severe symptoms that linger for years after their accident. As a result, they might be unable to work or live independently. Compensation from the driver who caused the injury can help make up for this.