Treatment Techniques for Infants with TBI by Charles Watson
Posted on March 12, 2021
The onset of TBI in infants is quite different from what has been observed in adults or older children. Although, a head trauma may be a likely cause of TBI in infants, Asphyxia is one of the most common causes. Asphyxia refers to a severe oxygen shortage to the baby’s brain over a significant period of time. This is usually the result of complications during delivery like the umbilical cord wrapping around the neck or the baby’s head gets lodged in the pelvis during labor. It can also be caused by illnesses during pregnancy.
TBI in infants can be detrimental, the effects almost twice as bad as those of adults. Because diagnosis is the trickiest part of the treatment due to no effective communication it can be hard deciding a proper treatment and this also scratches out all the possible communicatory treatment like therapies and vocal motivation. So what can be done?
Hypothermic treatments is deemed as the latest and most innovative treatment for TBI in infants. Doctors believe maintaining a lower body temperature for about 72 hours at most can inhibit the production of harmful substances in the body that kill cells. The absence of an optimum temperature hinders many processes but this could include necessary body processes as well.
The body is cooled from a normal 8.2 to 92.3 degree Fahrenheit. The treatment has been successful in many babies as per a 2009 study report. Also, such children were at a lower risk of TBI complications later in their toddler years.
A few symptoms of TBI in infants requires medications. Seizures mainly are controlled by calculated doses of anti-seizure medicine. Also, the long term effects of TBI can also be delayed by medications. Common conditions like ADHD, aggressive and impulsive behavior are all triggered by brain damage. Medications can help minimize these effects.
It is common knowledge how cognition and coordination are developing features during infancy. Even in normal situations, parents are encouraged to engage their child in physical exercises. Physical therapy for TBI in infants mainly targets the physical shortcomings like the pain and loss of movement. From balance and coordination to massages and thermal treatments, the baby’s body is once again trained to function independently. This is carried out even years after the brain damage.
Occupational therapy helps the baby learn how to carry out the basic routine activities like brushing their teeth, using everyday items like pencils or spoons and teaching them to eat independently. This sometimes includes helping the child use wheelchairs or crutches also.
A Modified Educational Approach
An infant with TBI is bound to suffer from impaired cognitive skills and learning disabilities. This can be very prominent in a normal school environment further discouraging the child. Such children are initially home-schooled so that they receive undivided attention. At times teachers are also willing to extend their help and be more mindful and flexible with the child.
The severity and the need of each treatment varies greatly with the symptoms of TBI. Also the immediate treatment like hypothermia or surgery contributes to only a minor part of recovery. In infants, the recovery is lengthy and continues almost till teenage even after that many effects may go with them in adulthood.