According to Herng-Ching Lin, PhD.; senior study author and professor at the School of Health Care Administration, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, states " It's reasonable to assume that cerebrovascular damage in the head caused by traumatic brain injury can trigger either a hemorrhagic stroke or an ischemic stroke." This is the first study that pinpoints traumatic brain injury as a risk factor for a stroke.
Using a nationwide Taiwanese database, the researchers investigated the risk of stroke in TBI patients over the course of a 5-year period. There were 23,199 adult TBI patients who received ambulatory hospital care between 2001-2003. In the comparison group there were 69,597 non-TBI injury patients. The average patient age was 42 and a little over half of those were male. During the three month period after injury, 2.91% of TBI patients suffered a stroke as compared to only 0.30% of those with non-TBI injuries. The risk for stroke did decrease over time, according to the research.
It was also noted that stroke risk was high in those patients that had suffered a bone fracture than those that did not have fractures. The researchers also came to the conclusion that considering age and gender, TBI patients were more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure than those without traumatic brain injuries.
Lin suggests that early neuroimaging exams, like a MRI, as well as extensive medical monitoring should be required following a traumatic brain injury. He also said that better health education could increase public awareness about the factors that cause strokes and the signs and symptoms of stroke in patients that have sustained a traumatic brain injury.
The study is another step in proving that there is a link between traumatic brain injuries and other health problems later. It is important to be informed of the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury and then to be very aware of the signs of other health problems, like stroke, that can occur after a TBI.
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