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"Should my mother be tested after her fall?"

ZocdocAnswersShould my mother be tested after her fall?


My Mother fell about a week ago, she had to get stitches on her eyebrow and was sent home without a CT or MRI. The Dr said she felt her head and didn't see a need unless my mother wanted one. She declined because of the expense. Now she is showing signs of a possible concussion (forgetfulness mostly)-should I take her to get further testing?


Your mother should see her doctor. There are certain tools that doctors use to help predict if someone with a head injury should undergo imaging of the head (usually with CT scan). These include consideration of the mechanism of injury, age greater than or equal to 65 years old, use of blood-thinning medications, signs suggesting a skull fracture on exam, altered mental status, and vomiting, to name a few. It is certainly not uncommon for someone to experience forgetfulness or other signs of concussion following head trauma. Not all of these people will need head imaging to rule out some bad consequence of the trauma (such as a subdural bleed). However, given the risk of bleeding after head trauma and the development of new symptoms, it is very important that your mother be re-evaluated by her doctor. Her doctor can conduct a very thorough physical exam, paying particular importance to her neurologic exam, testing cranial nerves, mental status, gait, etc. If any of these tests are abnormal, then follow-up head imaging with CT scan can be performed to rule out an intracranial bleed.

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