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Early management of head injury: Summary of updated NICE guidance

Lecky, Fiona; Pollit, Vicki; Hodgkinson, Sarah; Pollitt, V; Sharpin, Carlos


Fiona Lecky

Vicki Pollit

V Pollitt

Carlos Sharpin


Head injury is the commonest cause of death and disability in people aged 1-40 years in the UK. Each year, 1.4 million people attend emergency departments in England and Wales with a recent head injury. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance on managing head injury in 2003 (clinical guideline 4)1 and updated this in 2007 (clinical guideline 56),2 which resulted in computed tomography (CT) replacing skull radiography as the primary imaging modality for assessing head injury. Key changes driving this update include the introduction of regional trauma networks with prehospital major trauma triage in England; the extension of indications for anticoagulation therapy; the establishment of local safeguarding boards in the UK, requiring front-line clinical staff to assess not only the severity of the head injury but also why it occurred; and new evidence on the initial assessment and early management of head injury. This article summarises the most recent recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 2014.


Lecky, F., Pollit, V., Hodgkinson, S., Pollitt, V., & Sharpin, C. (2014). Early management of head injury: Summary of updated NICE guidance. BMJ, 348, 1-7.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 22, 2014
Journal BMJ (Online)
Print ISSN 0959-8138
Electronic ISSN 1756-1833
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 348
Pages 1-7
Keywords head injury, childhood, guideline, NICE
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Additional Information Additional Information : Mark Lyttle collaborated on this project as a member of the Guideline Development Group.