The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme is expanding the evidence base surrounding the treatment of traumatic brain and head injury (TBI) by commissioning four new research projects. If left untreated many patients with head injury will rapidly develop complications which may lead to death or permanent disability. More than 100,000 people in the UK have long-term effects caused by such injuries. Prompt medical treatment may prevent the worsening of symptoms and lead to a better outcome.
A £2.3 million clinical trial will assess whether or not surgery is of benefit to patients with a bleed or bruise inside the brain following a head injury. At present it is known that patients with a bleed on the surface of the brain following a head injury benefit from urgent surgery but it is not known whether patients with a bleed inside the brain would also benefit from surgery.
Researchers based at neurosurgery at Newcastle University will randomly allocate participants to either receive early surgery to remove the blood from the brain or receive best medical treatment and delayed surgery if they deteriorate. To view the full project details visit www.hta.ac.uk/1756
A second study is reviewing the existing evidence around head cooling in adults after traumatic brain injury and stroke. A raised temperature is common and damaging to the brain after brain injury and stroke, therefore reducing patients' temperature could reduce brain damage.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh will assess if head cooling can reduce brain temperature and result in less disability and fewer deaths. They will also look at whether head cooling affects other indicators of brain damage, such as brain pressure, side effects and how effectively temperature is reduced. For further information on this project visit www.hta.ac.uk/1777
Another study is conducting a prospective validation of risk prediction models for adult patients with acute traumatic brain injury (TBI). The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guideline into head injury recommends that all patients with a severe brain injury caused by trauma should be treated within a specialist neuroscience centre.