By: Kara Gilmour
Published: Jan 24, 2021
Brain Fluid Giffords Rehab - Gabrielle's condition. Brain fluid has kept Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from entering rehab, despite her condition. A hospital statement said the Arizona congresswoman would continue to receive therapy in the intensive care unit.
The hospital said the next medical updates would be provided when that happens. Giffords was flown to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center Hospital on Friday from Tucson, where she was shot in the forehead on Jan. 8 while meeting with constituents. At a news conference shortly after her arrival in Houston, doctors said she had been given a tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid.
"It's a common problem," occurring in 15 to 20 percent of people with a brain injury or brain surgery, said Dr. Reid C. Thompson, chairman of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who is not involved in Giffords' care. Everyone makes such fluid, but an injury can cause the fluid to not be cleared away as rapidly as normal. A backup can cause pressure and swelling within the brain.
"After a gunshot wound to the head and brain where there is a lot of soft tissue injury, it is common to develop a leak of spinal fluid. This raises the risk of a meningitis and slows down wound healing," he said. The tube is a short-term solution that doctors usually don't use for longer than a week or two because of the risk of infection, said Dr. Steve Williams, rehab chief at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. If the problem persists, this temporary catheter can be converted to a permanent one called a shunt.
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