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Neurotrauma Center and Concussion

The AHN Neuroscience Institute provides patients who experience blunt force impacts and other traumatic injuries to the nervous system with the most advanced technologies and therapies that will maximize their chance of returning to a fully functional life. Our nationally recognized multidisciplinary team treats critical conditions in Allegheny General Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center with immediate intervention, lifesaving surgical procedures, 24/7 monitoring and an advanced rehabilitation program.

We unite experts from neurosurgery, neurology, trauma surgery and critical care, neuro-radiology, anesthesiology, sports medicine, nursing, clinical pharmacy and physical therapy to ensure that every patient has a comprehensive evaluation and the highest quality treatment plan. For athletes and others who sustain a concussion, you will receive exceptional, first-rate care from our head trauma experts who utilize sophisticated technology to detect, treat and monitor concussions.

Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit
One of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the United States, the AHN Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Allegheny General Hospital features leading-edge technology for critical neurosurgical procedures. Our surgeons are among the most experienced in the country at performing advanced, highly specialized surgeries in an emergency setting. Also designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we give patients the complete spectrum of neurological critical care services around the clock.

The unit features 22 large private patient rooms designed to optimize patient care and safety, family comfort and the staff’s work environment. One of the unit’s key technological innovations is the Neurosurgical ICU is the use of a boom system that suspends all care equipment from the ceiling, providing the medical team with complete, unobstructed access to a patient’s head. Placing important equipment – such as medical gas lines and imaging portals on overhead movable consoles – also allows each ICU room to be quickly manipulated to accommodate additional medical equipment when necessary.

The unit has a portable, mobile CT scanner, which allows physicians to obtain CT images quickly without having to move a very sick patient out of the ICU. Patients who have undergone surgery for a brain tumor, aneurysm or traumatic injury often require follow up CT imaging during post-surgery hospitalization to assess the brain’s healing process and detect any complications. It is also equipped with a full spectrum of sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic technologies designed to enhance the care of critically ill neurosurgical patients, including intracranial pressure monitoring, brain oxygen monitoring, transcranial Doppler ultrasound, invasive hemodynamic monitoring and continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring.

Staffed by a multidisciplinary team of expert clinicians, including specialists in neurosurgery, neurology, critical care, neuro-radiology, anesthesiology, nursing, clinical pharmacy and physical therapy, the Neurosurgical ICU staff provides an exceptional caliber of care to each patient – approximately 1,500 annually.

AHN Concussion Center
The effects of a concussion are usually temporary but can include problems with headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination, and can also lead to more serious problems. The AHN Concussion Center is a top-rated medical program that uses the most innovative and multifaceted approaches to diagnose, treat and manage concussion.

AHN’s specialized team of experts include neurologists, neurosurgeons, sports medicine physicians, licensed athletic trainers, physical therapists and occupational therapists. This group provides exceptional services to schools and colleges across western Pennsylvania and also to professional sports teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

You can trust our highly experienced team, knowing that we:

  • Give you direct access to nationally renowned specialists from primary care sports medicine, neurology, neurosurgery who are experts at identifying concussions and providing advanced treatments and therapies to rehabilitate them
  • Utilize state-of-the-art technology to help diagnose and manage concussions
  • Develop a customized treatment plan for any injured player
  • Provide follow-up care to ensure successful rehabilitation and determine when an athlete can safely return to play
  • Educate players, coaches and parents about concussion awareness

 

Concussions are typically caused by a blow to the head, but they can also occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken. These injuries can cause a loss of consciousness. However, most indicators are subtle and may not be immediately apparent. This is why it’s so important that you – and your child – are vigilant about reporting any minor or major head injury to your physician or athletic trainer.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Amnesia surrounding the event that causes the head injury
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or "seeing stars"
  • Ears ringing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue

 

Some symptoms may not occur for hours or days after the injury, including:

  • Concentration and memory complaints
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Irritability or other personality changes
  • Psychological adjustment problems and depression
  • Problems with taste and smell senses

Diagnosis

Research has shown that the most effective way to evaluate and manage mild brain injury, or concussion, is by examining the injury from every angle. The AHN Concussion Center uses an exciting new mobile technology known as C3 Logix that takes a multifaceted approach to assessing an injury. C3 Logix is a comprehensive, iPad-based symptom assessment system, utilized through all stages of concussion management. The numerous factors it gauges include:

  • Symptoms
  • Reaction time
  • Memory and processing time
  • Motor function
  • Visual acuity
  • Balance

 

For baseline testing, the AHN Orthopaedic Institute Sports Medicine Program has a first-rate program that cares for athletes around the region. Using C3 Logix, players are given a baseline test before the start of their athletic season. If a player does sustain a head injury, he or she receives a follow-up test that our physicians use to compare to the baseline test and determine a diagnosis. Each player’s data is stored in a cloud-based application. This allows anyone involved in the athlete’s case the ability to remotely input and access accurate and current information about the player’s injury. Whether it’s the athletic training staff on the playing field or one of our specialists at the hospital – every health care professional will be on the same page when it comes to each patient’s care. 

Treatments

The effects of a concussion are usually temporary but can include headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination, and can also lead to more serious problems. You may be prescribed behavioral management techniques or medication to treat your symptoms. Our neurovestibular therapy includes techniques that help retrain your brain to determine space, motion and head/eye movements and exercises for visual motion sensitivities, ocular motor skills and balance.