Vascular injury after traumatic brain injury

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is often referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’. It often has no immediately obvious physical symptoms and can be easily missed in acute care. Cerebral Vasculature Injury is a form of TBI, where the blood vessels in the brain are damaged causing intracranial bleeding. It is frequently seen in those suffering from TBI, from 5% of those with mild TBI to 46% of those suffering from moderate to severe TBI. Subdural haemorrhage is often the focus of studies looking at Cerebral Vasculature Injury; its prevalence is high and can be fatal soon after the TBI occurs. Other types of vascular injury have not been investigated to the same extent, therefor the causes and loading conditions are not fully understood. If the mechanisms which cause the injury are found then prevention methods can be developed to mitigate and prevent these bleeds from occurring. This project investigates vasculature injury using tools such as finite element modelling to recreate and understand the biomechanics of vasculature injury.

Rat Brain FE ModelThe cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is one of the most challenging features to represent correctly in a finite element model of the head and brain. Currently, most models employ a solid element, Lagrangian mesh representation of the CSF, achieving fluid-like responses by using low shear and bulk moduli. The small space which the CSF occupies, in addition to the large relative displacement of the brain to the skull, means the Lagrangian mesh method is not well suited for this situation. This study investigates the usefulness of a particle method, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH), in representing the CSF in the brain. We hope to allow greater accuracy in modelling injuries which have direct relation to the relative movements of the brain, such as subdural hemorrhaging, coup and contrecoup, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

 


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