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Medical Edge: Traumatic brain injury study

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- There could soon be a new way to up the odds of survival if a person suffered a serious head injury.

Emergency medicine experts at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center were part of a national trial looking at a drug that people may be given if they were in an accident in the tri-state.  The drug is called TXA and it helps control bleeding in the body.

For the first time in ten sites around the country emergency medicine experts are studying TXA as part of a national trial.  The trial allows them to administer this drug even before a person arrives at the hospital if it appears from an accident the person has a traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Jason McMullan, who works with emergency medicine, said, "A traumatic brain injury can be anything from a mild hit in the head and a concussion, to a devastating hit to the head and brain injury that can either kill you or put you in a coma forever."

The drug is considered safe and has been used for other purposes for years.  But it's never been studied specifically for traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Bryce Robinson, a trauma surgeon, said, "Traumatic brain injury could be bleeding in your head.  So the thought is to expand this drug to patients with traumatic brain injury."

The hope is to find out if those who get TXA right away have better outcomes compared to those not given the drug.  Study sites are able to administer the medicine even if the person is unconscious at an accident because they have what's called, 'exception from informed consent.'  The federal government gives very specific studies like the one for TXA that kind of consent.

TXA is already used on military battlefields.  And even in hospitals for those with severe injuries because it promotes blood clots in the body in areas of bleeding.  The follow up care at a trauma center won't change whether a patient is given the drug.
 
If a person would like to opt out of this trial they can,  They need to request a bracelet to do this so they will not be given the drug on the scene of an accident.

CLICK HERE for information on how to opt out.

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