22 September 2009
Moderate traumatic brain injury, Severe traumatic brain injury
Recruitment site location(s) (State)
Anticipated date of first participant enrolment
01 February 2010
Ethics application status
Many people who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) - usually from a blow to the head such as in a vehicle collision or in a fall do not survive or, if they do, suffer from long-term disability. Previous studies have shown that about 1,000 people in Australia and New Zealand suffer a moderate or severe TBI every year. With current best available treatment and therapies many of these patients sustain loss of brain function and long term disability in varying degrees.
When a patient sustains a traumatic brain injury there are two phases to the injury. First, the head-impact causes immediate damage to the brain. The secondary injury, which can evolve over hours or weeks, is a very complicated process. It involves many, linked, changes to the cells, brain chemistry, tissues or blood vessels that can destroy brain tissue. The treatment of brain injury focuses on trying to minimize the secondary injury and there is much research being done to try to find treatments that will prevent it.
Erythropoietin (EPO) has recently emerged as a drug that may help reduce secondary injury and improve brain function. It has been found to offer some protection to the brain when brain cells are deprived of their normal oxygen supply causing cells to die or be impaired.
The aim of this study is to determine if EPO reduces secondary brain injury and helps patients make a better recovery after traumatic brain injury. The investigators also plan to monitor the effect of EPO on the rate of deep vein thrombosis (DVT - blood clots in the large veins in lower extremity) in patients with moderate or severe TBI in the intensive care unit (ICU).