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History of head injury

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Most usually, the history of events before and after the injury must be obtained from witnesses or ambulance staff.

Important points to determine include:

  • period of altered consciousness } indicates severity of
  • period of post traumatic amnesia} diffuse brain damage
  • cause and circumstances of injury - violent injuries, e.g. road traffic accidents, are associated with greater risk of extracranial injuries. Ask about relevant medical history - e.g. epilepsy.
  • presence of headache - if persistent, raises possibility of intracranial haemorrhage
  • presence of vegetative features - e.g. vomiting, inappropriate salivation, abnormal sweating/shivering, respiratory disturbances, e.g. Cheynes-Stokes breathing, hyperventilation; suggests brain stem lesions.

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