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Minimal brain activity after accident. On life support. Had punctured lung, broken ribs, brain aneurysm

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Pediatrician, Critical Care
Practicing since : 2001
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What would the diagnosis be for my friend who has minimal brain activity after being in car accident and is in icu on life support. She has a punctured lung, broken ribs, and had a brain aneurysm as far as I know. What would the diagnosis be for her since she is on life support with minimal brain activity.
Posted Fri, 19 Apr 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Tejas Shah 4 hours later
Thanks for posting your query here.

I am really sorry to hear about your friend.

I'm not sure how has the minimal brain activity diagnosed by doctors. Have they done what is called - EEG test (to test electric activity of the brain)?

Following multiple injuries, patients need life support system and ventilator. However, these measures are temporary, giving organs in the body time to recover from their trauma. They would involve multiple specialists to deal with all these injuries and have a team approach.

I am suspecting that along with poly-trauma and brain aneurysm you have mentioned, there are very high chances of bleeding inside the brain. If it is a major hemorrhage, affecting many areas of the brain and swelling of brain resulting from trauma, the brain activity can be minimal.

Other possibility is Injury to brain tissue and very severe swelling of brain resulting from the injured tissue, called Diffuse Axonal injury.

CT scan /MRI scan will show the exact nature of the problem and prognosis based on that.

Occasionally, with very severe injury, the medical/neurosurgical team feels the outcome is unlikely to improve with any intervention.

Please do let me know what did her CT/MRI Scan showed and how long she has been on life support? Is she had EEG or any other test to find out brain activity?

Dr Tejas Shah
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