Second-impact Syndrome

Second-impact syndrome (SIS) is a condition in which the brain swells rapidly and catastrophically after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier one have subsided. This deadly second blow may occur days, weeks or minutes after an initial concussion, and even the mildest grade of concussion can lead to SIS. The condition is often fatal, and almost everyone who is not killed is severely disabled. The cause of SIS is uncertain, but it is thought that the brain's arterioles lose their ability to regulate their diameter, and therefore lose control over cerebral blood flow, causing massive cerebral edema.

Most cases of SIS have occurred in young people, who are thought to be particularly vulnerable. Young athletes are most at risk. In order to prevent SIS, guidelines have been established to prohibit athletes from returning to a game prematurely. For example, professionals recommend that athletes not return to play before symptoms of an initial head injury have resolved.

Due to the very small number of recorded cases of SIS, there is doubt about whether it is a valid diagnosis. However, the syndrome is recognized by physicians.

Read more about Second-impact SyndromeEpidemiology, Features, Pathophysiology, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis, History, Controversy, See Also

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... Second-impact syndrome, in which the brain swells dangerously after a minor blow, may occur in very rare cases ...

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