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Neurologically Intact Survival after Bihemispheric Penetrating Head Trauma: A Case Report

Published:December 26, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2022.12.028

      Abstract

      Background

      Patients with penetrating head trauma that crosses the midline of the brain have a high mortality rate; most die in the prehospital setting or during initial resuscitative efforts. However, surviving patients are often neurologically intact and several factors other than bullet path, including post-resuscitation Glasgow Coma Scale, age, and pupillary abnormalities, must be considered in aggregate when prognosticating patients.

      Case Report

      We present a case of an 18-year-old man who presented unresponsive after a single gunshot wound to the head that traversed the bilateral hemispheres. The patient was managed with standard care and without surgical intervention. He was discharged from the hospital neurologically intact 2 weeks after his injury. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This? Patients with such apparently devastating injuries are at risk of premature termination of aggressive resuscitative efforts based on clinician bias that these efforts are futile and that patients cannot recover to a neurologically meaningful outcome. Our case reminds clinicians that patients with severe injury patterns with bihemispheric involvement can recover with good outcomes, and that bullet path is only one variable among multiple that must be considered to predict clinical outcome.

      Keywords

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