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Acquired brain injury - ABI

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain, which has been caused by a traumatic or non traumatic event. Common traumatic causes include incidents on the road, assaults and falls which cause violent movement of the brain within the skull.

In these cases, primary damage is caused by the ricochet effect of the brain hitting the inside surface of the skull. However, the secondary damage, caused by consequent bleeding and increased pressure within the enclosed skull can often be more damaging and treatment may be required for the brain injury. There is a high incidence of traumatic brain injury in young men between ages 17-24.

Non-traumatic causes of acquired brain injury include strokes, tumours, haemorrhage, aneurysm asphyxiation and the effects of toxic substances. The effect of these processes is to starve the brain of oxygen causing irreparable brain cell damage (this is also known as hypoxia or hypoxic brain injury) that results in a need for brain injury help.

The effects of suffering Acquired brain injury (ABI)-

Whether the brain injury is traumatic or non traumatic, the physical, cognitive and behavioural consequences can be complex and difficult to manage. In these instances, the person suffering will often require brain injury rehabilitation from a specialist rehabilitation team in order to maximise their future quality of life and ability to function to their maximum capability. 

Physical problems-

The brain instigates all purposeful movement in the body and is responsible for co-ordinating movements. Physical manifestations of brain injury include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasticity
  • Restricted range of movement

These can affect a person's independence and lead to problems carrying out functional activities such as walking, feeding, eating and dressing. The lack of control can also extend to the muscles in a person's face and throat, which can affect speech and swallowing.

Cognitive problems--

A person suffering a brain injury can often struggle with their cognitive ability in the period following, which reduces their ability to cope with life. This includes problems with their memory, concentration, problem solving ability and self monitoring.

Behavioural problems-

A person's behaviour can become dramatically different following an ABI or an acute brain injury, which can be one of the most difficult aspects for family and friends to cope with during the recovery process. Impulses are often acted upon by sufferers and they will fail to understand the consequences of their behaviour. They may also become irritable, aggressive or even very placid. Mood swings are very common and people can find it difficult to express their emotions.

Treatment for ABI at the Priory-

Priory has been helping to treat people with acquired brain injuries for over 25 years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs.

The services for neuro rehabilitation and brain injury rehabilitation offered by the Priory are usually on an inpatient basis. We have a brain injury care pathway which co-ordinates our skilled team in treating and caring for a diverse range of people following brain injury. This may include people who are in a low awareness state, through to people who have very complex behavioural difficulties. The aim of the service is to address the consequences of the disability as well as maximising quality of life, functional potential and independence via brain injury rehabilitation.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Acquired brain injury - ABI, please call 0845 277 4679. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

Who treats this

Dr Krystyna Walton

Dr Krystyna Walton

Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and Medical Director for Neurorehabilitation Services - Adult

The Priory Highbank Centre - Bury

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