Head injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death in both adults and children. The injury can be as mild as a bump, bruise (contusion), or cut on the head, or can be moderate to severe in nature due to a concussion, deep cut or open wound, fractured skull bone(s), or from internal bleeding and damage to the brain. Each year, minor incidents of traumatic brain injury (TBI) happen to over one million people in the United States. These minor injuries result in the treatment and release from hospital emergency departments. Another 230,000 people are hospitalized each year with TBI. Of these people, 99,000 will show a lasting disability.
In children, head trauma annually results in approximately 600,000 emergency department visits and 95,000 hospital admissions, and is the leading cause of traumatic death in children. One study of children with intracranial hemorrhages found that many children with serious injuries may have only mild symptoms and that those diagnosed early have a better outcome. Follow-up studies have confirmed these findings and have been directed at identifying the signs and symptoms of children who have more serious injuries to enable us to diagnose them as early as possible while avoiding unnecessary tests.
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