Research Reports - Cerebral blood vessel damage in traumatic brain injury

Clinical Biomechanics
Available online 19 February 2018

Kenneth L. Monsona, b, , , Matthew I. Conversea, Geoffrey T. Manley

Traumatic brain injury is a devastating cause of death and disability. Although injury of brain tissue is of primary interest in head trauma, nearly all significant cases include damage of the cerebral blood vessels. Because vessels are critical to the maintenance of the healthy brain, any injury or dysfunction of the vasculature puts neural tissue at risk. It is well known that these vessels commonly tear and bleed as an immediate consequence of traumatic brain injury. It follows that other vessels experience deformations that are significant though not severe enough to produce bleeding. Recent data show that such subfailure deformations damage the microstructure of the cerebral vessels, altering both their structure and function. Little is known about the prognosis of these injured vessels and their potential contribution to disease development. The objective of this review is to describe the current state of knowledge on the mechanics of cerebral vessels during head trauma and how they respond to the applied loads. Further research on these topics will clarify the role of blood vessels in the progression of traumatic brain injury and is expected to provide insight into improved strategies for treatment of the disease.

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