Traumatic brain injury affects approximately 500,000 persons each year. For those patients who survive until they reach the hospital, the major goal of the health care team is to prevent secondary injuries or insults that may follow the initial event and worsen the brain injury. Factors that can cause secondary insults to the brain include hypoxia, hypercapnia, hypotension, and intracranial hypertension. Prevention of these factors begins in the pre-hospital care phase and continues into the critical care unit. Early recognition of these factors and prompt intervention can improve the neurologic outcome of the patient with severe head injury. An understanding of the causes and effects of these secondary insults is critical to the appropriate medical and nursing management of these patients

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