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Brain Awareness Week at WAA

Brain Awareness Week kicks off on March 13, raising awareness for neuroscience research and neurological medical intervention.

Wales Air Ambulance attends around 200 missions every month, ranging from agricultural accidents to road traffic collisions – missions which are often associated with patients suffering from serious head injuries.

Mark Winter, WAA Operations Manager, said: “The crew on board Wales Air Ambulance are able to bring the A&E department to the patient, which is vital when it comes to any form of trauma – but especially in cases of head injury.

“Recovery from damage to the brain is greatly affected by the time taken to access medical assistance and the time taken to reach hospital.

“Our Critical Care Team on board Wales Air Ambulance bring pioneering medical treatments to the roadside, and can reach anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes – helping to produce better outcomes for patients who have suffered head trauma.”

The advanced kit on board Wales Air Ambulance allows the crew to administer lifesaving treatments at the scene, meaning that the medical interventions start before the patients reach hospital, which is vital in cases of head injury.

Wales Air Ambulance attends around 72 missions ever year related to seizures, and the Welsh helicopter charity flies to roughly 144 head injury cases every year.

The Critical Care Team carry pioneering treatments on board, which can prove lifesaving when applied to different types of head injuries, including stroke and epileptic seizures.

Treatments such as emergency anaesthesia and neuroprotection are vital medical interventions in many of the missions WAA attends, and are particularly important after a head injury.

Mark said: “50% of the people who receive emergency anaesthesia and neuroprotection at the scene are people who have a suspected head injury.

“We also carry blood products to help people who have suffered a bleed on the brain and are taking Warfarin, as this medication can worsen the bleed.

“By administering specialist blood products before they are put into the helicopter and transferred to hospital, this can reduce further bleeding.

“Early invention and quick access to specialist treatment is lifesaving in people who have suffered head injuries, but not only that, it can make recovery time after head injury shorter as well – so people can come home their families sooner too.”

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