How is head trauma differentiated from delirium?

Updated: Sep 19, 2018
  • Author: Richard D Shin, MD; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Serious head trauma is usually obvious. However, occult trauma may be discovered by findings of basilar skull fracture, such as hemotympanum, Battle sign (ie, mastoid area ecchymoses), raccoon eyes, or otorhinorrhea. The latter condition may be tested for by placing a drop of the draining blood on filter paper and then looking for a clear ring of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A funduscopic examination may show loss of venous pulsations in cases of early intracranial pressure (ICP) elevation or papilledema in severe ICP elevation. Pupillary inequality may be a late sign of uncal herniation.


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