Medical Management of the Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Patient

Neurocrit Care. 2017 Dec;27(3):430-446. doi: 10.1007/s12028-017-0408-5.


Severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) is a major contributor to long-term disability and a leading cause of death worldwide. Medical management of the sTBI patient, beginning with prehospital triage, is aimed at preventing secondary brain injury. This review discusses prehospital and emergency department management of sTBI, as well as aspects of TBI management in the intensive care unit where advances have been made in the past decade. Areas of emphasis include intracranial pressure management, neuromonitoring, management of paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity, neuroprotective strategies, prognostication, and communication with families about goals of care. Where appropriate, differences between the third and fourth editions of the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines for the management of severe traumatic brain injury are highlighted.

Keywords: Brain injuries, traumatic; Critical care; Decision-making; Intracranial pressure; Neuroimaging; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / therapy*
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*