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Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Seizures?

Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause Seizures?When a seizure happens, it is like a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. This abnormal activity can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on which part of the brain is affected. These symptoms can range from brief lapses of attention or muscle jerks to more severe convulsions and loss of consciousness.

Research published in Frontiers in Neuroscience in 2023 cited traumatic brain injury as a “key cause” of post-traumatic epilepsy. From the research (citations removed for clarity):

Patients who present with moderate to severe TBI often have associated seizures. Seizures that occur immediately (within 24 h of trauma) are not considered “epileptic” and are attributed to the impact itself. Epilepsy developing after an acute brain insult is referred to as post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE)…. In mTBI, seizures are less common, but if a seizure occurs in the emergency room, or shortly after discharge, this can be a warning sign that important findings of significant intracranial injury may have been missed.

A moderate or severe traumatic brain injury can lead to seizures, often as a result of the primary injury. this makes seizures a type of “secondary” brain injury. The research also notes that “the seizure itself can act like a second brain injury.”

What is a secondary brain injury?

Unlike the primary injury, which occurs at the moment of impact, secondary TBIs develop over time as a result of the body’s response to the initial trauma. A chapter from Translational Research in Traumatic Brain Injury, published by the National Institutes of Health, states that seizures can result from the following secondary TBI symptoms:

  • Cerebral edema: After a TBI, inflammation and damage to the blood-brain barrier can cause fluid buildup in the brain, known as cerebral edema. This swelling raises pressure inside the skull, hampering blood flow and oxygen delivery. It worsens preexisting brain damage, causes more inflammation, and raises the risk of seizures.
  • Excessive release of glutamate: TBI can trigger the excessive release of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, leading to neuronal hyperexcitability and excitotoxicity. Glutamate-induced excitotoxicity disrupts the balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition, contributing to neuronal injury and increasing the risk of seizure development.
  • Cerebral contusion: Cerebral contusion, often seen in TBI, involves bruising and damage to a specific area of brain tissue. This injury disrupts nerve and blood vessel structures, setting off inflammation and cell dysfunction. It alters normal brain function, weakening nerve cells, and triggering secondary damage processes, potentially increasing seizure risk.

All of these symptoms, resulting from a primary TBI, require dedicated medical attention and the extensive cost of care should be the responsibility of the negligent party in your accident. Whether a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall or workplace injury the experienced team of Savannah TBI attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP are prepared to identify all liable parties and hold them responsible for what can be lifelong medical expenses related to your TBI.

What are the different types of seizures that can occur from a TBI?

The danger zone of having a seizure after a TBI is typically within a few weeks following the injury. Ten percent of head injury patients develop seizures. However, for some people, seizures can begin months or years after a brain injury.

Seizures from TBIs are categorized according to when the first episode occurs:

  • Early post-traumatic seizures: These seizures can occur within the first week following a TBI. Approximately twenty-five percent of those experiencing early post-traumatic seizures are also subject to later episodes. Still, those seizures may happen months or years later.
  • Late post-traumatic seizures: Seizures occurring after seven days following a TBI are called “late post-traumatic seizures.” Notably, eighty percent of TBI patients who develop late post-traumatic seizures will experience additional seizures over their lifespans.
  • Epilepsy: Someone who frequently experiences seizures has epilepsy. Most people who develop epilepsy after suffering a severe brain injury have seizures for the remainder of their lives. The authors of the article published in Frontiers of Neuroscience estimate “that between 3 and 5% of moderate TBI cases and between 25 and 50% of severe TBI cases go on to have” post-traumatic epilepsy.

If your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term care expenses. It is essential to contact a Savannah TBI attorney as soon as possible after your accident, as the Georgia statute of limitations of TBI claims is two years.

With over $500 million in verdicts and settlements, the Savannah brain injury attorneys of Harris Lowry Manton LLP are ready to fight for yours or your loved ones compensation after the accident. Our trusted team will investigate your case and work with medical experts to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries and losses. Call or contact us today for your free consultation. We maintain an additional office in Atlanta for your convenience. Proudly serving all of Georgia.


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