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Marek Czosnyka, Basil F. Matta, Piotr Smielewski, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, and John D. Pickard

Object. The authors studied the reliability of a new method for noninvasive assessment of cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) in head-injured patients in which mean arterial blood pressure (ABP) and transcranial Doppler middle cerebral artery mean and diastolic flow velocities are measured.

Methods. Cerebral perfusion pressure was estimated (eCPP) over periods of continuous monitoring (20 minutes—2 hours, 421 daily examinations) in 96 head-injured patients (Glasgow Coma Scale score < 13) who were admitted to the intensive care unit. All patients were sedated, paralyzed, and ventilated. The eCPP and the measured CPP (ABP minus intracranial pressure, measured using an intraparenchymal microsensor) were compared.

The correlation between eCPP and measured CPP was r = 0.73; p < 10−6. In 71% of the examinations, the estimation error was less than 10 mm Hg and in 84% of the examinations, the error was less than 15 mm Hg. The method had a high positive predictive power (94%) for detecting low CPP (< 60 mm Hg). The eCPP also accurately reflected changes in measured CPP over time (r > 0.8; p < 0.001) in situations such as plateau and B waves of intracranial pressure, arterial hypotension, and refractory intracranial hypertension. A good correlation was found between the average measured CPP and eCPP when day-by-day variability was assessed in a group of 41 patients (r = 0.71).

Conclusions. Noninvasive estimation of CPP by using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography may be of value in situations in which monitoring relative changes in CPP is required without invasive measurement of intracranial pressure.

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Eric A. Schmidt, Marek Czosnyka, Luzius A. Steiner, Marcella Balestreri, Piotr Smielewski, Stefan K. Piechnik, Basil F. Matta, and John D. Pickard

Object. The aim of this study was to assess the asymmetry of autoregulation between the left and right sides of the brain by using bilateral transcranial Doppler ultrasonography in a cohort of patients with head injuries.

Methods. Ninety-six patients with head injuries comprised the study population. All significant intracranial mass lesions were promptly removed. The patients were given medications to induce sedation and paralysis, and artificial ventilation. Arterial blood pressure (ABP) and intracranial pressure (ICP) were monitored in an invasive manner. A strategy based on the patient's cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP = ABP − ICP) was applied: CPP was maintained at a level higher than 70 mm Hg and ICP at a level lower than 25 mm Hg. The left and right middle cerebral arteries were insonated daily, and bilateral flow velocities (FVs) were recorded. The correlation coefficient between the CPP and FV, termed Mx, was calculated and time-averaged over each recording period on both sides. An Mx close to 1 signified that slow fluctuations in CPP produced synchronized slow changes in FV, indicating a defective autoregulation. An Mx close to 0 indicated preserved autoregulation. Computerized tomography scans in all patients were reviewed; the side on which the major brain lesion was located was noted and the extent of the midline shift was determined. Outcome was measured 6 months after discharge. The left—right difference in the Mx between the hemispheres was significantly higher in patients who died than in those who survived (0.16 ± 0.04 compared with 0.08 ± 0.01; p = 0.04). The left—right difference in the Mx was correlated with a midline shift (r = −0.42; p = 0.03). Autoregulation was worse on the side of the brain where the lesion was located (p < 0.035).

Conclusions. The left—right difference in autoregulation is significantly associated with a fatal outcome. Autoregulation in the brain is worse on the side ipsilateral to the lesion and on the side of expansion in cases in which there is a midline shift.