Explaining Talk and Die Syndrome

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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According to reports, Natasha Richardson may have suffered from "talk and die syndrome", a rare but critical result of minor head injury.

The condition, though uncommon, can cause anyone with a bump to the head to rapidly deteriorate, thus the name “talk and die”. Following Natasha Richardson’s accident, there were no visible signs of injury. Richardson started feeling poorly one hour after her skiing accident, and was sent to the hospital.

Within an hour after hitting her head during a skiing accident, reports seem to indicate she suffered from an epidural hemorrhage. Bleeding in the brain occurs rapidly, in patients with “talk and die” syndrome, leading to loss of consciousness and brain damage.

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Dr. Steven Flanagan, director of Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center told FOX news, “What this implies is that someone hits their head and they are seemingly ok initially, but then they get a rapid collection of blood - usually called epidural hemorrhage - and that means bleeding between the skull and the brain.”

Dr. Flanagan says he can only speculate that Natasha Richardson’s critical condition that happened so rapidly is the result of “talk and die syndrome”. Other causes of epidural hemorrhage include brain aneurysm, abnormalities of the blood vessels, or bleeding disorders. Symptoms include sudden and severe headache, dizziness, and loss of balance, nausea, projectile vomiting and other neurologic symptoms.

Whether or not Natasha Richardson did suffer from “talk and die syndrome” is only speculative at this point. “Talk and die syndrome” can be lethal, and only occurs in a small number of head injuries. Early diagnosis and rapid intervention is crucial for survival.

Things you need to know about head injuries

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