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Mauro Bergui and Gianni Boris Bradac

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Ming-Yuan Tseng, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Marek Czosnyka, Peter J. Hutchinson, Hugh Richards, John D. Pickard, and Peter J. Kirkpatrick


Systemic administration of 23.5% hypertonic saline enhances cerebral blood flow (CBF) in patients with poor-grade spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Whether the increment of change in CBF correlates with changes in autoregulation of CBF or outcome at discharge remains unknown.


Thirty-five patients with poor-grade spontaneous SAH received 2 ml/kg 23.5% hypertonic saline intravenously, and they underwent bedside transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography and intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring. Seventeen of them underwent Xe-enhanced computed tomography (CT) scanning for measuring CBF. Outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at discharge from the hospital. The data were analyzed using repeated-measurement analysis of variance and Dunnett correction. A comparison was made between patients with favorable and unfavorable outcomes using multivariate logistic regression.


The authors observed a maximum increase in blood pressure by 10.3% (p <0.05) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) by 21.2% (p <0.01) at 30 minutes, followed by a maximum decrease in ICP by 93.1% (p <0.01) at 60 minutes. Changes in ICP and CPP persisted for longer than 180 and 90 minutes, respectively. The results of TCD ultrasonography showed that the baseline autoregulation was impaired on the ipsilateral side of ruptured aneurysm, and increments in flow velocities were higher and lasted longer on the contralateral side (48.75% compared with 31.96% [p = 0.045] and 180 minutes compared with 90 minutes [p <0.05], respectively). The autoregulation was briefly impaired on the contralateral side during the infusion. A dose-dependent effect of CBF increments on favorable outcome was seen on Xe-CT scans (mRS Score 1–3, odds ratio 1.27 per 1 ml/100 g tissue × min, p = 0.045).


Bolus systemic hypertonic saline therapy may be used for reversal of cerebral ischemia to normal perfusion in patients with poor-grade SAH.

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Rupert Kett-White, Peter J. Hutchinson, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Marek Czosnyka, Arun K. Gupta, John D. Pickard, and Peter J. Kirkpatrick

Object. The aim of this study was to investigate potential episodes of cerebral ischemia during surgery for large and complicated aneurysms, by examining the effects of arterial temporary clipping and the impact of confounding variables such as blood pressure and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage.

Methods. Brain tissue PO2, PCO2, and pH, as well as temperature and extracellular glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and glutamate were monitored in 46 patients by using multiparameter sensors and microdialysis. Baseline data showed that brain tissue PO2 decreased significantly, below a mean arterial pressure (MAP) threshold of 70 mm Hg. Further evidence of its relationship with cerebral perfusion pressure was shown by an increase in mean brain tissue PO2 after drainage of CSF from the basal cisterns (Wilcoxon test, p < 0.01). Temporary clipping was required in 31 patients, with a mean total duration of 14 minutes (range 3–52 minutes), causing brain tissue PO2 to decrease and brain tissue PCO2 to increase (Wilcoxon test, p < 0.01). In patients in whom no subsequent infarction developed in the monitored region, brain tissue PO2 fell to 11 mm Hg (95% confidence interval 8–14 mm Hg). A brain tissue PO2 level below 8 mm Hg for 30 minutes was associated with infarction in any region (p < 0.05 according to the Fisher exact test); other parameters were not predictive of infarction. Intermittent occlusions of less than 30 minutes in total had little effect on extracellular chemistry. Large glutamate increases were only seen in two patients, in both of whom brain tissue PO2 during occlusion was continuously lower than 8 mm Hg for longer than 38 minutes.

Conclusions. The brain tissue PO2 decreases with hypotension, and, when it is below 8 mm Hg for longer than 30 minutes during temporary clipping, it is associated with increasing extracellular glutamate levels and cerebral infarction.

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Arun K. Gupta, Peter J. Hutchinson, Tim Fryer, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Dot A. Parry, Pawan S. Minhas, Rupert Kett-White, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, Julian C. Mathews, Steve Downey, Franklin Aigbirhio, John Clark, John D. Pickard, and David K. Menon

Object. The benefits of measuring cerebral oxygenation in patients with brain injury are well accepted; however, jugular bulb oximetry, which is currently the most popular monitoring technique used has several shortcomings. The goal of this study was to validate the use of a new multiparameter sensor that measures brain tissue oxygenation and metabolism (Neurotrend) by comparing it with positron emission tomography (PET) scanning.

Methods. A Neurotrend sensor was inserted into the frontal region of the brain in 19 patients admitted to the neurointensive care unit. After a period of stabilization, the patients were transferred to the PET scanner suite where C15O, 15O2, and H2 15O PET scans were obtained to facilitate calculation of regional cerebral blood volume, O2 metabolism, blood flow, and O2 extraction fraction (OEF). Patients were given hyperventilation therapy to decrease arterial CO2 by approximately 1 kPa (7.5 mm Hg) and the same sequence of PET scans was repeated. For each scanning sequence, end-capillary O2 tension (PvO2) was calculated from the OEF and compared with the reading of brain tissue O2 pressure (PbO2) provided by the sensor.

In three patients the sensor was inserted into areas of contusion and these patients were eliminated from the analysis. In the subset of 16 patients in whom the sensor was placed in healthy brain, no correlation was found between the absolute values of PbO2 and PvO2 (r = 0.2, p = 0.29); however a significant correlation was obtained between the change in PbO2 (ΔPbO2) and the change in PvO2 (ΔPvO2) produced by hyperventilation in a 20-mm region of interest around the sensor (ρ = 0.78, p = 0.0035).

Conclusions. The lack of correlation between the absolute values of PbO2 and PvO2 indicates that PbO2 cannot be used as a substitute for PvO2. Nevertheless, the positive correlation between ΔPbO2 and ΔPvO2 when the sensor had been inserted into healthy brain suggests that tissue PO2 monitoring may provide a useful tool to assess the effect of therapeutic interventions in brain injury.

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Peter J. Hutchinson, Mark T. O'Connell, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Lynn B. Maskell, Rupert Kett-White, Arun K. Gupta, Hugh K. Richards, David B. Hutchinson, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, and John D. Pickard

Object. Clinical microdialysis enables monitoring of the cerebral extracellular chemistry of neurosurgical patients. Introduction of the technique into different hospitals' neurosurgical units has resulted in variations in the method of application. There are several variables to be considered, including length of the catheter membrane, type of perfusion fluid, flow rate of perfusion fluid, and on-line compared with delayed analysis of samples. The objects of this study were as follows: 1) to determine the effects of varying catheter characteristics on substance concentration; 2) to determine the relative recovery and true extracellular concentration by varying the flow rate and extrapolating to zero flow; and 3) to compare substance concentration obtained using a bedside enzyme analyzer with that of off-line high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Methods. A specially designed bolt was used to conduct two adjacent microdialysis catheters into the frontal cortex of patients with head injury or poor-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage who were receiving ventilation. One reference catheter (10-mm membrane, perfused with Ringer's solution at 0.3 µl/minute) was constant for all studies. The other catheter was varied in terms of membrane length (10 mm or 30 mm), perfusion fluid (Ringer's solution or normal saline), and flow rate (0.1–1.5 µl/minute). The effect of freezing the samples on substance concentration was established by on-line analysis and then repeated analysis after storage at −70°C for 3 months. Samples assayed with the bedside enzyme analyzer were reassessed using HPLC for the determination of glutamate concentrations.

Conclusions. Two adjacent microdialysis catheters that were identical in membrane length, perfusion fluid, and flow rate showed equivalent results. Variations in perfusion fluid and freezing and thawing of samples did not result in differences in substance concentration. Catheter length had a significant impact on substance recovery. Variations in flow rate enabled the relative recovery to be calculated using a modification of the extrapolation-to-zero-flow method. The recovery was approximately 70% at 0.3 µl/minute and 30% at 1 µl/minute (10-mm membrane) for all analytes. Glutamate results obtained with the enzyme analyzer showed good correlation with those from HPLC.

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Marek Czosnyka, Piotr Smielewski, Stefan Piechnik, Eric A. Schmidt, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, and John D. Pickard

Object. Plateau waves of intracranial pressure (ICP) are often recorded during intensive care monitoring of severely head injured patients. They are traditionally interpreted as meaningful secondary brain insults because of the dramatic decrease in cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP). The aim of this study was to investigate both the hemodynamic profile and the clinical consequences of plateau waves.

Methods. One hundred sixty head-injured patients were studied using continuous monitoring of ICP; almost 20% of these patients exhibited plateau waves. In 96 patients arterial pressure, ICP, and transcranial Doppler (TCD) blood flow velocity were studied daily for 20 minutes to 3 hours. Sixteen episodes of plateau waves in eight patients were recorded and analyzed.

The dramatic increase in ICP was followed by a profound fall in CPP (by 45%). In contrast, flow velocity fell by only 20%. Autoregulation was documented to be intact both before and after plateau but was disturbed during the wave (p < 0.05). Pressure-volume compensatory reserve was always depleted before the wave. Cerebrovascular resistance decreased during the wave by 60% (p <0.05) and TCD pulsatility increased (p <0.05). Plateau waves did not increase the probability of an unfavorable outcome following injury.

Conclusions. The authors have confirmed that the plateau waves are a hemodynamic phenomenon associated with cerebrovascular vasodilation. They are observed in patients with preserved cerebral autoregulation but reduced pressure-volume compensatory reserve.