Without a quick and accurate diagnosis, a brain injury can rapidly get worse. Accordingly, doctors must run the necessary tests if a brain injury is suspected and learn how the brain injury may have happened to get a prompt diagnosis.
Brain Injury Symptoms
Some brain injury symptoms are obvious, and others are more subtle. In infants, for example, excessive crying, failure to nurse, or lethargy could be symptoms of a brain injury, but if you aren’t aware that your child was shaken violently by a frustrated babysitter or fell off the changing table when left unattended by a negligent caretaker, you could miss these signs of a brain injury. For children and adults, brain injury symptoms may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty thinking
- Memory problems
- Speech problems
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Dilated pupils
- Clear fluid leaking from the ears or nose
Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms, and sometimes these symptoms are not indicative of a brain injury.
Could a Brain Injury Be Possible?
Before making a diagnosis, a doctor may ask questions to see if a brain injury may have occurred. For example, the doctor may want to know if there was a:
- Motor vehicle accident
- Violent shaking (typically of a baby)
- Another head injury
If a brain injury is suspected based on what happened or a patient’s symptoms, the doctor should order diagnostic tests.
Brain Injury Diagnostic Tests
Before diagnosing a brain injury and recommending treatment, a doctor may perform or order the following:
- Glasgow Coma Scale Assessment. This 15-point assessment allows medical professionals to evaluate a person’s eye-opening response, verbal response, and motor response to assess whether a person has a head injury. A lower score on the Glasgow Coma Scale indicates a more severe head injury.
- CT Scan. A CT scan allows medical professionals to look at the brain to determine if there is a fracture, brain bleed, blood clot, or bruised or swollen brain tissue. If a brain injury is suspected, a CT scan may be one of the first diagnostic tests performed.
- MRI. An MRI can provide a more detailed picture of the brain. Typically, however, it is used to assess a patient’s condition after the patient is stable. It can help diagnose why symptoms are not improving as expected.
- Intracranial Pressure Monitor. If brain tissue swells, a brain injury may worsen. Medical professionals may insert a probe through the skull to carefully monitor intracranial pressure.
- Quantitative Diffusion Tensor Imaging Test. This test, also known as a qDTI, is an advanced MRI that can detect nerve damage in the brain.
Your doctor will consider all test results, symptoms, and information from you or your loved ones before making a diagnosis. Even after a diagnosis, further testing, such as neuropsychological testing, may be necessary to determine the extent of your brain injury and to guide treatment plans.
What to Do After a Brain Injury Diagnosis
Once a doctor diagnoses a brain injury, you or your loved ones will have to make critical decisions. First, you will need to decide on a treatment plan that puts you in the best position to achieve as complete a recovery as possible. Your doctor may suggest medications, surgery, and rehabilitation therapies, for example.
Additionally, you will need to decide whether to pursue a Kentucky brain injury lawsuit. If someone else’s negligence caused the brain injury, you might have the right to seek damages. You only have a short amount of time to pursue a lawsuit, however. Therefore, it is essential for you to contact an experienced Kentucky brain injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss how to protect your rights and potential recovery. Call us or start a live chat with us any time—24/7/365—to schedule your free initial consultation.