A gunshot wound to the head is considered as one of the deadliest firearm injuries. In the past years, the rates have increased evidently and a gunshot wound to the head is one of the leading cause of head injuries.
The mortality rate from head injuries due to gunshot wounds is relatively high and in most cases, death is likely to occur even before the individual reaches a healthcare facility.
What are the indications?
If an individual sustained a gunshot wound to the head, aggressive treatment for resuscitation is vital upon arriving in a healthcare facility. The individual might present the following:
- Swelling of the brain
- Brain hemorrhage
- Cerebral ischemia
- Increased intracranial pressure
Indication of brain injury from a gunshot wound to the head
A severe case of brain injury is suspected if the CT scan or MRI reveals significant hematoma along with the following:
- Individual is in a state of coma
- Erratic breathing or difficulty breathing
- Cardiac arrhythmia
The life-saving measures that are employed by the emergency professionals include the following:
- Restore normal breathing – positioning the head to allow breathing via the nose or mouth without any obstruction, clearing the oral cavity from blood or vomitus, administration of nasal oxygen and insertion of an oral airway
- Cardiovascular stability
- GSC score
It is important to note that head trauma from a gunshot wound is a serious scenario and necessitates life-saving measures such as the following:
- Admission to an intensive care unit
- Intermittent positive pressure ventilation
- Cardiac support using intravenous medications
- Emergency surgical procedure to remove the bullet, blood clots and fix the brain tissue
If there is an increase in the intracranial pressure, a surgical procedure known as craniotomy is performed in which part of the skull is taken out temporarily if found suitable to the case of the individual. In cases in which the individual has a better motor response on GCS, immediate and intensive neurological management is needed.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on head injuries from a gunshot wound is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage head injuries, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Red Deer, Ottawa and Halifax.