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Early neurorehabilitation in a patient with severe traumatic brain injury to the frontal lobes

Maria Pachalska, Marek Moskala, Bruce Duncan MacQueen, Jaroslaw Polak, Magdalena Wilk-Franczuk

Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(12): CS157-168

ID: 881285


Background:    It seems to be generally believed that early neurostimulation after severe TBI is useless or even harmful, and neuropsychological intervention should not be initiated until the patient is medically stable. On the other hand, the unstimulated brain can incur irreversible damage. The purpose of the present study is to assess the impact of early neuropsychological rehabilitation on a patient with an extremely severe TBI.
    Case Report:    The patient, a 32-year old male, suffered a massive cranio-facial injury with significant loss of tissue in the right frontal lobes after being struck by a tram. Beginning two weeks after injury, after pharmacological coma, he was attended on a daily basis by a neuropsychologist and a neurolinguist, with the active assistance of his family, when he was still in critical condition and essentially without logical contact. By the time he returned to Scotland 4 weeks later, he was sitting up, writing complete, sensible and grammatical sentences, and making rapid progress every day despite the development of hydrocephalus. Over the course of neurorehabilitation, most of MF’s cognitive dysfunctions resolved. Six months later, however, hydrocephalus was increasing and the patient was showing severe frontal syndrome. A personalized version of Community Based Rehabilitation was applied. After two weeks of intensive treatment considerable improvement was achieved and frontal syndrome was reduced.
    Conclusions:    The present case suggests that the prevailing views regarding the inadvisability of early neurorehabilitation in the acute phase after TBI should be reconsidered.

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