Author(s): Bizhan A, Mossop C, Aarabi JA
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Abstract Each year close to 20000 Americans are involved in gunshot wounds to the head (GSWH). Over 90\% of the victims of GSWH eventually fail to survive and only a meager 5\% of the patients have a chance to continue with a useful life. One of the fundamental jobs of providers is to realize who the best candidate for the best possible management is. Recent evidence indicates that a good Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score at the time of admission puts such patients at high priority for management. Lack of abnormal pupillary response to light, trajectory of slug away for central gray, and visibility of basal cisterns upgrade the need for utmost care for such a victim. Surgical management is careful attention to involvement of air sinuses and repair of base dura. Patients with diffuse injury should have intraventricular intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring and if needed a timely decompressive craniectomy. Since close to 2\% of patients with penetrating brain injury may harbor a vascular injury, subjects with injuries close to the Sylvian fissure and those with the fragment crossing two dural compartments should have computed tomography angiography and if needed digital subtraction angiography to rule out traumatic intracranial aneurysms. In case of a positive study, these patients should have endovascular management of their vascular injuries in order to prevent catastrophic intracerebral hematomas and permanent deficit. Although supported by class III data, subjects of GSWH need to be on broad spectrum antibiotics for a period of 3-5 days. If cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistulas are observed at any time during the patient's hospital course, they should be taken very seriously and appropriate management is needed to prevent deep intracranial infections. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Handb Clin Neurol
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology