Blast Injury Basics

Blast injuries are a complex form of injury — from the effects of pressure waves on the body's tissue to the psychological trauma that can come with physical injury.

Well, a blast injury is a unique form of brain injury in that it has a lot of different levels to it. [Tina Trudel, Ph.D. President, Chief Operating Officer, Lakeview Companies] First of all is the obvious explosive effect of the repercussive pressure wave that comes and passes through the tissue, and human tissue has a fluid base to it so there are affects that happen on a cellular level when these pressure waves, which include the intensive hyper-pressurization and then the negative pressure wave afterwards come through the system. But what makes blast injury different is that often it is accompanied by a series of things. For example, people more often than not are at risk of being hit by flying debris, shrapnel, and other projectiles so they may have a penetrating wound. Often, they are knocked through the air or off of what they were standing on so they would also have the concussive fall effect potentially from them striking their head when they landed. In many instances, the explosive force then has gasses or smoke that are released so you get the anoxic effect from inhaling that and loosing oxygen. And then you have all kinds of other sequella that come from it so it's a complex form of injury because we're more often than not seeing it in a major accident or far more often now in the context of war, it's often accompanied by psychological trauma not just the physical trauma so the TBI PTSD relationship with the post-traumatic stress disorder is something that is also given consideration.
Posted on BrainLine August 29, 2012.

About the author: Tina Trudel

Tina M. Trudel, PhD is president/COO of the Lakeview Companies, a leader in brain injury rehab, medically complex care and neurobehavioral treatment, overseeing a national care continuum. She is researcher/former site director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center-Charlottesville.

Produced by Krystal Klingenberg, Justin Rhodes, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.