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Natasha Richardson: How knock on the head can be fatal

Published 19/03/2009

A seemingly minor blow on the head can cause life-threatening brain injuries, according to a leading neurosurgeon.





Actress Natasha Richardson (45) suffered what appeared to be a minor fall while skiing on Monday.

Initially she seemed not seriously injured but soon her health deteriorated.

Chris Chandler, from King’s College Hospital in south London, said the effects of a blow to the head may not become apparent until several hours afterwards and, if untreated, a patient can fall into a coma.

He said: “A blow to the head can cause a bruise or rupture a blood vessel that slowly swells, causing pressure to build up inside the skull.

“The first symptoms might be a headache or a feeling of weakness in an arm or leg.

“In the skull there is nowhere for the brain to move to so pressure continues to grow and that swelling can cause the brain to malfunction because it can limit circulation.

“If that pressure is not relieved it can kill. If you have a bump on the head, however minor, and start to exhibit those symptoms, then you have to act.”

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