Head injury remains the leading cause of death from trauma. The definitive method for eliminating preventable death from traumatic brain injury remains elusive. New research underscores the danger of inadequate or inappropriate support of oxygenation, ventilation, and perfusion to cerebral tissues. The belief that sensitivity to hypotension makes the patient with head injury fundamentally different is critical to nursing strategies. The conventional concept that fluid restriction decreases cerebral edema in patients with head injury must be weighed against mounting evidence that aggressive hemodynamic support decreases the incidence of subsequent organ system failure and secondary brain injury. New evidence has triggered a scrutiny of conventional interventions. A search for optimal treatments based on prospective randomized trials will continue. Davelopment of neuroprotective drugs and use of hypertonic saline may be on the horizon. In an effort to ensure optimal outcome, contemporary trauma nursing must embrace new concepts, shed outmoded therapy, and ensure compliance with the basic tenets of critical care for the multitrauma patient with head injury.

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