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Acquired Brain Injury

Facts on the Condition

General description including types, causes, prevalence, signs and symptoms

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is injury to the brain, which results in deterioration in cognitive, physical, sensory, emotional or independent functioning. ABI can occur as a result of trauma, hypoxia (where a person has less than the normal level of oxygen in the body), infection, tumour, substance abuse, degenerative neurological diseases or stroke.

These impairments to cognitive abilities or physical functioning may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or total disability or psychosocial difficulty. The term “acquired brain injury” is used to describe all types of brain injury, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), which occurs as result of a blow to the head in for example a car accident, fall or assault.

Treatments, including role of specialists, effects of treatments, use of devices, daily routines

The acute phase of a traumatic head injury includes emergency care, stabilisation and later transfer to a rehabilitation hospital, other health facility or home. The staff caring for the patient at this point include emergency medical staff, nurses, surgical staff including the neurosurgical registrar and a neurosurgeon. Long term rehabilitation and therapy will often be necessary.

In addition to those involved in the acute phase treatment of a traumatic head injury, other health professionals involved may include an intensive care physician, medical director, neurologist, occupational therapist, orthotist, physiotherapist, social worker and speech pathologist.

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