An adolescent boy is brought to the emergency department after a motorcycle accident. His respirations are deep, periodic, and gasping. There are extreme fluctuations in blood pressure. Pupils are dilated and fixed. The nurse should suspect what type of head injury?
Signs of brainstem injury include deep, rapid, periodic or intermittent, and gasping respirations. Wide fluctuations or noticeable slowing of the pulse, widening pulse pressure, or extreme fluctuations in blood pressure are consistent with a brainstem injury.