NICE issues new guidance on head injuries

Clinicians need to assess adults and children with head injuries for risk factors, according to an updated NICE guidance.

Hospital emergency departments see an estimated 750,000 people with head injuries each year.

But most cases are mild and do not lead to hospital admission.

The updated guidance states: ‘GPs should receive training, as necessary, to ensure that they are capable of assessing the presence or absence of risk factors.’

Risk factors include any loss of consciousness as a result of the injury, persistent headache and any suspicion of a skull fracture.

Clinicians should also check for focal neurological deficits since the head injury, such as problems understanding speaking, reading or writing, says NICE.

Loss of balance, decreased sensation and abnormal reflexes, are also listed as risk factors.

Any patients identified as having risk factors should be sent to a hospital emergency department using the ambulance service.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

NICE guideline: http://www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=455350

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