According to a new study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, rapid air evacuation has the potential to cause more damage to those patients suffering from an extremely established battlefield condition—traumatic brain injury. Throughout modern history and continuing on to today, the US has flown its wounded warriors out of combat zones to medical centers around the world so that they can get the best medical treatment in the fastest way possible.
More than 330,000 U.S. service members have suffered from TBI injuries, one of the leading causes of death and disability for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The study was funded by a $2.5 million U.S. Air Force grant and was helmed by Alan Faden, a professor of anesthesiology at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine.
The Facts of the Study
The study was published on Monday in the Journal of Neurotrauma and stated, “This research shows that exposure to reduced barometric pressure, as occurs on military planes used for evacuation, substantially worsens neurological function and increases brain cell loss after an experimental TBI-even when oxygen levels are kept in the normal range. It suggests that we need to carefully evaluate the cost-benefit of air transport in the first days after injury.”
The objective of the study was to investigate whether prolonged hypobaria (atmospheric pressure similar in military planes) in rats subjected to traumatic brain injury alters behavioral and histological outcomes. The rats were placed in chambers after given TBIs that would simulate air pressure in a military transport aircraft. A pressurized cabin in a military transport aircraft cruising at an altitude of 9,000 feet above sea level is about 3,000 feet above what civilian airliners journey through. This atmospheric pressure along with timed exposure helped to exemplify how the brain actually worsens through subjectivity.
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In a variety of tests, Faden put the injured rats in two pressurized sessions separated by two days, simulating what a service member might go through when traveling between countries. The researchers found that repeated exposures to pressurized cabins with a mild head injury compounded the effects to mimic a larger head injury. The study also looked at the results of air transport in the days following an injury. According to Faden, there was added inflammation to the brain after transport seven days post-injury. Throughout the variety of tests, the rats were given oxygen to make sure that their blood oxygen levels were normal. Some of these rats were also given 100% supplemental oxygen to mimic real world medical treatment that is often prescribed to patients in transport .
“What we showed is that if you give 100 percent supplemental oxygen in this condition of air evacuation pressure, it was worse than just giving enough oxygen to normalize the oxygen tension,” Faden said.
This study bolsters the need to weigh the benefits of rapid air evacuation against keeping patients stabilized closer to the battlefield before airlifting them home. “The major point of this is to rethink this issue,” Faden said, adding that he hopes the Air Force will look at ways to better pressurize aircraft or find other approaches to lessen the effects of pressurization.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur any time the brain tissue is damaged due to trauma from an outside force or due to the brain jostling against the skull. What you may not realize, however, is that there are several different types of brain injuries with which a TBI victim may be diagnosed. The signs, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis of the injury all largely depend not only on the severity of the injury, but on the particular kind of TBI that occurred.
It is important for a qualified brain injury attorney to recognize the differences in types of brain injuries as the potential issues in any resulting legal claims may differ based on a particular individual’s diagnosis. At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we pay close attention to every client’s brain injury diagnosis and to the other specific facts of their case to make sure we can work for the best possible outcome in a brain injury lawsuit. We also stay on top of the latest news to make sure that all of our information it up to date to make sure that we are the best legal representatives for victims of such injuries. Our information also helps you to understand the most current headlines regarding the issue.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
For more information on traumatic brain injury and related topics, visit our website at dolmanlaw.com. If you’re seeking legal help pertaining to a personal injury caused by another party’s negligence which led to the traumatic brain injury of you or a loved one, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers a free consultation and case evaluation by an experienced brain injury attorney. Give us a call today at 727-451-6900.
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