Management of Mild Head Injury


Management of Mild Head Injury, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, MTBI, Minor Head Injury, Mild Head Injury, Mild Head Trauma

  • Epidemiology
  1. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) accounts for 75-90% of the 2.8 Million people in U.S. who suffer TBI annually (2013)
    1. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is under-reported and likley approaches 3.8 Million in U.S.
  • Background
  1. Mild Traumatic Head Injury is the preferred term for Concussion and Minor Head Injury
    1. These terms are interchangeable, referring to the same condition
  • Criteria
  1. Glasgow Coma Scale: 13-15 (at two hours)
  2. Loss of consciousness may have occurred with injury
  3. Awake and oriented with normal Neurologic Examination
  • History
  1. See Concussion
  2. See AMPLE History
  3. Time and mechanism of injury
  4. Loss of Consciousness
    1. How long?
    2. Contiguous with initial injury?
  5. Level of Consciousness (AVPU)
    1. Immediately post injury
    2. Subsequent evaluations
  6. Amnesia (Retrograde and antegrade)
  7. Headache
  8. Seizures
  • Exam
  1. See Trauma Secondary Survey
  2. Exclude concurrent systemic injury
  3. Limited Neurologic Exam
  • Labs
  • Disposition
  • Criteria for Hospital Observation
  1. No CT scan available (and warranted) or abnormal CT Head
  2. All penetrating head injuries
  3. Glasgow Coma Scale <15
  4. History of loss of consciousness
  5. Deteriorating Level of Consciousness
  6. Moderate to severe Headache
  7. Significant Alcohol or drug Intoxication
  8. Skull Fracture
  9. Focal neurologic deficit
  10. Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage (Otorrhea or Rhinorrhea)
  11. Significant associated injuries
  12. Persistent Vomiting
  13. No reliable companion at home or displaced home
  14. Amnesia
  15. Anticoagulant use (e.g. Warfarin)
    1. Risk of delayed Intracranial Hemorrhage (see Head Injury)
  • Disposition
  • Criteria for home observation
  1. Criteria
    1. At least six hours after injury
    2. Normal clinical exam
    3. Normal Head CT without acute injury
    4. No findings as above indicating hospital observation
  2. Studies suggesting safety for discharge in children after blunt Head Trauma and reassuring findings
    1. Hamilton (2010) Pediatrics 126(1): e33-9 [PubMed]
    2. Holmes (2011) Ann Emerg Med 58(4): 315-22 [PubMed]
  3. Studies suggesting safety for discharge in children after blunt Head Trauma with known pre-existing Bleeding Disorders
    1. Lee (2011) J Pediatr 158(6): 1003-8 [PubMed]
  4. Delayed Intracranial Hemorrhage following minor head injuries is rare beyond 6 hours in children
    1. Hamilton (2010) Pediatrics 126(1): e33-9 [PubMed]
  • Complications
  • Management
  1. See Concussion
  2. See Mild Head Injury Home Management (includes Head Injury Precautions)
  3. Follow-up primary care (or Concussion clinic)
  • Precautions
  • Red Flags