Brain injury

Influence of intrathecal baclofen on the level of consciousness and mental functions after extremely severe traumatic brain injury: brief report.

PMID 25437354


Whenever oral treatment or botulinum toxin injections fail to control severe spasticity, a trial with intrathecal baclofen is recommended no earlier than 1 year after brain injury. When irreversible contractures are to be avoided, such a trial might be done earlier. Some have briefly reported cognitive modifications with this treatment. During the trial period, intrathecal baclofen is continuously infused by a portable external pump through an intrathecal catheter. The daily dose is adjusted according to the clinical response. If the expected response is obtained by reduction of spasticity, a programmable pump is then implanted. Throughout the procedure, close neuropsychological follow-up is pursued. Two persons with extremely severe brain injury and spasticity received a programmable pump less than 10 months after trauma. Unexpectedly, one emerged from the minimally conscious state and the other from post-traumatic amnesia. Intrathecal baclofen should be considered within the first year after brain injury whenever spasticity does not respond to medication. ITB lessens the degree of spasticity which in turn facilitates care and, thus, has the potential to limit contractures. After severe brain injury, this treatment might trigger recovery from altered states of consciousness, improve cognition and facilitate rehabilitation.

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