Feasibility of identifiying modifiable risk factors for the prevention of TBI

Dr Julie Mytton, University of the West of England, Bristol

Brain injuries that are caused as result of traumatic events may result in prolonged hospital admissions and lifelong consequences for the individual and their family. To find out if any of these injuries could have been prevented we need to understand in detail how the injury occurred; both the circumstances leading up to the injury event and what actually happened during the injury event to cause the injury to the brain. Once this information is available it can then be determined if any of these factors could have been anticipated, or prevented.

In England, whenever a child dies (for any reason) a multi-agency panel (comprising paediatricians, public health experts, social care and the emergency services) come together to review an anonymous set of records that have been collated to tell the story of that child’s circumstances leading to their death. The purpose of this Child Death Overview Panel is to consider objectively, without apprortioning blame, how services can work better to support these children and their families and to determine if anything could have been done differently to have avoided the outcome in that case.

We propose to explore the feasibility of applying an adapted version of this process to determine if non-fatal traumatic brain injuries could have been prevented. We will find out if information that is routinely collected by the healthcare services caring for the patient with the brain injury could be used to identify potentially modifiable risk factors. It will then be possible to establish if any of these factors are amenable to technology-based prevention approaches.