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Study examines surgery on elderly patients with brain injuries

As Colorado citizens grow older, the increased risk of falls brings with it an increased risk of brain injury. Brain injury is often treated with surgery, but this is generally not recommended for elderly patients due to a low chance of survival. A 2015 study, however, indicates that the success of surgical treatment for subdural hematoma on patients over the age of 75 depends largely on the condition of the patient prior to the injury.

The study by Helsinki University Hospital showed that among a group of patients over the age of 75 who had surgery for subdural hematoma, those who had not been living independently prior to the brain injury or who were brought to the hospital unconscious did not survive for a year after having surgery. Anticoagulant use was also a factor, with patients who had used anticoagulants in the group of those who did not survive a year. Patients who had not used anticoagulants, who had lived independently or who were conscious when they came to the hospital were still living one year after the surgery.

Helsinki University Hospital's policy to treat elderly brain injury patients surgically goes against the common belief that brain surgery is not worthwhile for elderly patients. One of the authors of the study said that age should not be the only factor in deciding if surgical treatment is a viable option. He pointed out that the study involved patients who had acute subdural hematoma and cannot be applied to other types of brain injuries. His belief is that in the future, surgical treatment will be advised for only patients who have the best of chance of recovery.

Brain injuries can be caused by falls or accidents, and they can place a heavy financial burden on patients and their families. If an accident that causes a brain injury was caused by the negligence of another person, the patient and their family have legal rights and may be entitled to financial compensation. Legal representation for a brain injury patient could help to ease the financial burden of treatment and recovery.

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