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Giving the Brain a BOOST

UNM Hospital Studies Strategies for Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries in ICU

Minutes count when treating traumatic brain injuries.

Each year, some 2.5 million Americans sustain such injuries – which are responsible for some 30 percent of all injury-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet doctors face a host of challenges when studying the most effective treatments for these injuries.

The University of New Mexico Hospital is participating in a National Institutes of Health research study to compare two current brain trauma treatments currently used in intensive care units.  

In one strategy doctors concentrate on preventing high intracranial pressure caused by a swollen brain. With the other, they also look at preventing high intracranial pressure and preventing low brain oxygen levels.

Both strategies are seen as the standard of care for severe brain injury treatment, but they have yet to be formally compared to see if one is more safe and effective than the other.

The research will be part of the Brain Oxygen Optimization in Severe TBI Phase-3 (BOOST-3) study, and will include adults and children older than 14 years with severe brain injury requiring admission to the ICU. 

While study staff may opt to include those patients who are medically unable to provide consent, every attempt will be made to locate family prior to enrollment to allow them to decide about the patient’s participation in the study, according to Huy Tran, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and principal Investigator for the study.

“By their nature, these head injuries are life threatening and require immediate treatment, so we can foresee the possibility of patients being enrolled without consent if a family member or other representative is not rapidly available,” Tran says.

For more information or to decline participation in the study, visit or contact the study staff at 505-925-4392.

Categories: Top Stories, Patient Care, School of Medicine, UNM Hospitals, Research, Features

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