Anesthesia and the brain after concussion


Purpose of review: To provide an overview of acute and chronic repeated concussion. We address epidemiology, pathophysiology, anesthetic utilization, and provide some broad-based care recommendations.

Recent findings: Acute concussion is associated with altered cerebral hemodynamics. These aberrations can persist despite resolution of signs and symptoms. Multiple repeated concussions can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder associated with pathologic findings similar to some organic dementias. Anesthetic utilization is common following concussion, especially soon after injury, a time when the brain may be most vulnerable to secondary injury.

Summary: Brain physiology may be abnormal following concussion and these abnormalities may persist despite resolutions of clinical manifestations. Those with recent concussion or chronic repeated concussion may be susceptible to secondary injury in the perioperative period. Clinicians should suspect concussion in any patient with recent trauma and strive to maintain cerebral homeostasis in the perianesthetic period.

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