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Study links CT scans to prognosis in concussion patients

Patient lying inside a medical scanner in hospital

A head injury suffered in a car accident can result in a concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a serious injury with potential long-term effects that can be hard to predict. But a new study finds that CT scans provide critical information that can help doctors determine a patient’s chances for recovery and risk of long-term impairment.

Researchers at UC San Francisco examined the CT scans of 1,935 patients in hospitals throughout the country. All patients were ages 17 and over and met the criteria for concussions based on neurological exams. They found links between imaging features in the scans and patient outcomes.

When you have a concussion, follow up with your doctor

“Radiologists who routinely read trauma scans know intuitively that patterns of intracranial injury on CT are not random,” said Esther Yuh, first author of the study, “We showed there are patterns of injury, that some of these are associated with worse outcome than others, and that they provide a window into mechanisms of injury that is reproducible across large studies.”

Similar links have been found in cases involving moderate and severe TBI, but researchers believe this study is the first to identify the link in patients with concussions.

With regard to automobile crashes, a concussion can occur when a driver or passenger’s head hits the steering wheel, window, or another part of the vehicle. The brain is injured when it strikes the inside of the skull. A concussion can also happen when a person’s head is shaken back and forth with great force during impact.

A concussion is sometimes called a minor brain injury. But as one of the study’s authors notes, the effects can be quite serious.

“Although concussions are referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries, there is nothing mild about some concussions,” said senior author Geoffrey Manley. “Patients with concussion may suffer from prolonged headache, poor sleep, and impaired concentration, and they are at higher risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. A concussion can also contribute to depression and anxiety, and increase the risk for suicide. We need to view concussion not as an event but as a disease requiring physician follow-up after a patient is discharged from the hospital.”

An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve

When a concussion is the result of an accident caused by someone else's negligence, the victim deserves financial compensation. Medical expenses for treating any brain injury can add up quickly. But negligent drivers may deny doing anything wrong, even if they were speeding or texting before the accident.

Insurance companies may try to downplay the severity of your injury in an effort to pay you as little money as possible. That’s why it’s important to get legal advice from an experienced car accident lawyer who knows how to fight for crash victims with concussions and other brain injuries.

The attorneys at Clancy & Diaz, LLP are dedicated to going the distance for clients. Our law firm knows the impact a concussion can have on people and their families. We build strong cases and fight back against insurance companies to get the results our clients need and deserve.

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Walnut Creek, Antioch, or anywhere in the Bay Area, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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