Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major healthcare problem and a major burden to society. The identification of a TBI can be challenging in the prehospital setting, particularly in elderly patients with unobserved falls. Errors in triage on scene cannot be ruled out based on limited clinical diagnostics. Potential new mobile diagnostics may decrease these errors. Prehospital care includes decision-making in clinical pathways, means of transport, and the degree of prehospital treatment. Emergency care at hospital admission includes the definitive diagnosis of TBI with, or without extracranial lesions, and triage to the appropriate receiving structure for definitive care. Early risk factors for an unfavorable outcome includes the severity of TBI, pupil reaction and age. These three variables are core variables, included in most predictive models for TBI, to predict short-term mortality. Additional early risk factors of mortality after severe TBI are hypotension and hypothermia. The extent and duration of these two risk factors may be decreased with optimal prehospital and emergency care. Potential new avenues of treatment are the early use of drugs with the capacity to decrease bleeding, and brain edema after TBI. There are still many uncertainties in prehospital and emergency care for TBI patients related to the complexity of TBI patterns.
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