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Severe brain injury

Severe brain injury is usually defined as being a condition where the patient has been in an unconscious state for 6 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 24 hours or more.

These patients are likely to be hospitalised and receive rehabilitation once the acute phase has passed. Depending on the length of time in coma, these patients tend to have more serious physical deficits.

A further category of very severe injury is defined by a period of unconsciousness of 48 hours or more, or a period of PTA of 7 days or more. The longer the length of coma and PTA, the poorer will be the outcome. However, there are exceptions to this rule and, just as there is a small group of people who have a mild head injury who make a poor recovery, so there is a small group of individuals who have a severe or very severe injury who do exceptionally well.