Fewer head injury patients are being declared "brain dead" because of better prevention and improved care, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The findings are based on an analysis of 2,788 patients in Calgary, Alberta. Researchers found that the odds of patients with brain injury deteriorating to neurologic death have decreased over the last decade — from 8.1 percent in 2002 and 9.6 percent in 2004 to 2.2 percent in 2010.
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The most dramatic decline was seen in patients with serious traumatic brain injuries.
"Our finding that a reduced proportion of patients with brain injury progressed to neurologic death suggests that initiatives aimed at improving road safety, preventing injuries during recreational activities, and improving pre-hospital and in-hospital care, have had an effect and should continue to be promoted," said Andreas Kramer, M.D., a physician with the departments of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Foothills Medical Centre, University of Calgary.
The researchers attributed the trend to the increasing use of automobile airbags and helmets for cycling, skiing, and other activities, as well as improvements of clinical care for patients with brain injuries.
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