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Perioperative Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: What Is New?

PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) continues to represent a global public health issue, and mortality and morbidity in TBI patients remain substantial. There are ongoing international collaborations to provide guidelines for perioperative care and management of severe TBI patients. In addition, new pharmacologic agents are being tested along with cognitive rehabilitation to improve functional independence and outcome in TBI patients. This review will discuss the current updates in the guidelines for the perioperative management of TBI patients and describe potential new therapies to improve functional outcomes.

RECENT FINDINGS: In the most recent guidelines published by The Brain Trauma Foundation, therapeutic options were reviewed based on new and revised evidence or lack of evidence. For example, changes and/or updates were made to the recommendations for the use of sedation and hypothermia in TBI patients, and new evidence was provided for the use of cerebrospinal fluid drainage as a first-line treatment for increased intracranial pressure (ICP). In addition to the guidelines, new 'multi-potential' agents that can target several mechanisms are being tested along with cognitive rehabilitation.

SUMMARY: The major goal of perioperative management of TBI patients is to prevent secondary damage. Therapeutic measures based on established guidelines and recommendations must be instituted promptly throughout the perioperative course to reduce morbidity and mortality.

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