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VGH leads the way in traumatic brain treatment


Vancouver, BC – Just over a year ago Michael Severloh’s father got the call every parent dreads. “There has been an accident. It’s very serious. Your son has a traumatic brain injury.”

“My family didn’t know whether I would live or die,” says Michael. “Even if I did survive, they wondered what I would be like and how that would affect the rest of our lives.”

Michael had been hit by a car while cycling. He was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital where health care professionals from the critical care and neurosurgery teams placed Michael on life support and in a medically-induced coma.

“He had hemorrhages throughout his entire brain and brainstem, which controls the essential functions of consciousness. Typically this type of injury results in death or a persistent vegetative state,” says Dr. Mypinder Sekhon, Critical Care Medicine, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

VGH has recently developed a specialized neurocritical care program with a team consisting of a neurosurgeon, intensivist and ICU staff. Physicians determined Michael was a good candidate for advanced multimodal neuromonitoring, which allows physicians to individualize management decisions for each patient. Catheters were placed in Michael’s brain so his oxygen and blood pressure levels could be precisely monitored and optimized. “Michael’s oxygen levels were shockingly low, so we were able to boost his blood pressure, and in the ensuing days, his levels completely normalized,” says Dr. Sekhon.

VGH is a Canadian leader in the care of severe traumatic brain injury patients. A study in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences shows patients who underwent advanced neuromonitoring at VGH in the presence of a skilled neurocritical care team were 2.5 times more likely to have full neurological recovery after six months.

The study tracked 113 patients with traumatic brain injuries admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of VGH between February of 2010 and May 2016. The majority of the patients were young men and women, like Michael Severloh, who were injured in falls or motor vehicle accidents.

“With multimodal neuromonitoring, our favourable long term neurological outcome rate, which basically means people can live independently, has increased from 37 percent to 60 percent,” says Dr. Sekhon. “This places VGH among the top reported outcome rates of leading international health centres including Cambridge in the U.K.”

“This is an example of what we do best at VGH,” says Associate Medical Director Dr. Marcel Dvorak. “We take care of the most critically ill and severely injured patients in BC and provide them with the best treatment that involves the highly sophisticated integration of multiple sub-specialists all focused on improving the health outcomes of our patients.”

Michael Severloh credits the care he received at VGH for his remarkable recovery. “As it turns out, my brain is pretty resilient. Though therapies have helped in returning myself to me, mentally, I feel very similar to the way I was before the accident. But, ultimately, I have to credit my positive recovery to my bike helmet and the team at VGH.”

Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.


Carrie Stefanson
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health
Office: (604) 708-5338
Cell: (604) 312-1148

SOURCE: VGH leads the way in traumatic brain treatment ( )
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