Traumatic brain swelling studied by computerized tomography and densitometry
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Two-hundred and fifty-two computerized tomography (CT) scans of 107 patients with head injuries were analyzed. The most frequent consequence of trauma was a diffuse swelling of the brain in 91% of the cases. The severity of brain swelling and its course can be estimated by the compression of (or absence of) the intracranial cerebrospinal fluid space. These observations may be of prognostic value as well.
By measurement of theHounsfield units (HU) in 52 cases the blood or water content in the brain tissues was assessed. An increase in blood content of the tissues (hyperaemia) can account for an increase in Hounsfield values. A decrease in HU suggests brain edema.
The density measurements showed that in the first hours and days following head injury, the diffuse brain swelling was caused by severe cerebrovascular congestion in the majority (53%) of the cases. Immediate brain edema without a preceeding hyperaemic phase occurs less frequently (32%).
Between the 1st and 4th day after injury, edema started to prevail, and between the 5th and 8th day the edematous type of brain swelling was present almost exclusively.
KeywordsBrain edema brain swelling CT-densitometry head injury hyperaemia
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