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Magdalena Hiler, Marek Czosnyka, Peter Hutchinson, Marcella Balestreri, Peter Smielewski, Basil Matta, and John D. Pickard

Object

The authors explored the relationship between computerized tomography (CT) scan findings and intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements obtained in the first 24 hours of monitoring to identify parameters predicting outcome in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods

Intracranial pressure, mean arterial blood pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), and pressure reactivity index were measured continuously in 126 patients with severe TBI who were admitted to a neuroscience critical care unit. Mean values in the initial 24 hours of monitoring and in the total period of monitoring were compared with types of injury categorized on the basis of the initial CT scan according to the classification of Marshall, et al., and with Glasgow Outcome Scale scores.

The initial CT scan classification correlated significantly but weakly with ICP measured during the first 24 hours of monitoring (p = 0.036) but not with mean ICP over the total time of intensive care. Both midline shift and the ratio of frontal horn diameter to internal diameter correlated with ICP in the first 24 hours (p < 0.007) and with ICP over the total monitoring period (p < 0.03). Outcome score correlated with initial CT scan findings (p = 0.018), ICP over the total monitoring period (p < 0.0023), pressure reactivity over the total monitoring period (p < 0.0002), and pressure reactivity in the first 24 hours (p < 0.0001) but not with ICP in the first 24 hours. Patients with disturbed pressure reactivity in the first 24 hours after injury had a significantly higher mortality rate than patients with intact pressure reactivity (28.6% compared with 9.5%; p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Patients with severe TBI who have early loss of autoregulation have a worse prognosis. Mean ICP values in patients with diffuse TBI cannot be predicted by using the Marshall CT scan classification.