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Discoveries

Headway in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Patients with acute traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more likely to survive when they’re given beta blockers in the hospital.

Patients with acute traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more likely to survive when they’re given beta blockers in the hospital, according to a multicenter study led by Cedars-Sinai.

Patients with acute traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more likely to survive when they’re given beta blockers in the hospital, according to a multicenter study led by Cedars-Sinai.

Eric Ley, MD, director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and the Trauma/Surgical Care Fellowship Program, analyzed outcomes for TBI patients across 15 trauma centers in the U.S. and Canada. He found that patients who were treated with a common blood pressure medication within one day of hospital admission were three times more likely to survive their injuries than patients who weren’t given the drug.

Investigators have long known that beta blockers blunt trauma-inflicted inflammation by calming an overresponse of stress chemicals in the body. Ley’s analysis indicates that this reduction in stress chemicals can save lives. His findings inspired a shift in trauma-care guidelines: The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma now encourages physicians to give beta blockers to TBI patients within a day of hospitalization, with exceptions for patients with certain conditions such as low blood pressure. 

Ley is developing a multicenter randomized controlled trial to further support his findings.