New research suggests that even patients over the age of 75 can recover from a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

According to the study, published in World Neurosurgery, researchers at the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, has now determined how the patients’ functional status before the injury and the use of oral anticoagulant medications influence the prognosis of patients 75 years or older operated on for an acute subdural hematoma, per a release from University of Helsinki.

No patients who had been brought to hospital unconscious, who had not been independent before the trauma, or who had used anticoagulants were alive at 1 year after the surgery.

“What was surprising, however, was that patients who were conscious at presentation, who were not using anticoagulants or were independent before the operation, recovered quite well. The expected lifespan of these patients was comparable to their age-matched peers,” says Rahul Raj, MD, PhD, one of the study’s main authors, in the release.

“One should be careful to make to strong conclusions from such a small number of patients,” Raj points out, “but it seems that in approximately half of all cases, even elderly patients may benefit from surgery and recover to an independent life.”

It is important to note that included patients had an isolated acute subdural hematoma with no injuries to the brain tissue itself. This means that the results cannot be applied to patients with contusions or other intracranial injuries, whose treatment and prognosis are different,” he notes in the release.

[Source(s): University of Helsinki, Science Daily]