✓ Although invasive measurement of intracranial pressure (ICP) involving high-resolution waveform analysis allows assessment of intracranial compliance (ICC), it is only feasible in a few selected neurosurgical conditions. Intracranial compliance can be assessed using the high-frequency centroid (HFC), which is the power-weighted mean frequency within the 4 to 15—Hz band of the ICP waveform. The authors have systematically tested the utility, performance, and reliability of a noninvasive monitor of ICC. The underlying principle of this device is that the ICP transmission and its infrasonic waves are transmitted through the inner ear toward the tympanic membrane. If the outer ear is sealed in an airtight fashion, motions of the tympanic membrane cause air pressure fluctuations that can be recorded using a special sensor.
The authors compared the HFC calculated from an intraparenchymal ICP sensor with that obtained simultaneously from an ipsilaterally placed noninvasive device during half of a respiratory cycle (peak to baseline) as well as for three random samples of three heart cycles. They analyzed 32 sessions in 13 patients in whom mechanical ventilation had been established. In four (11%) of 36 sessions they could not demonstrate an adequate signal.
For the peak-to-baseline cycle, the mean invasively recorded HFC was 8.05 ± 0.55 Hz (range 6.7–9 Hz) whereas the mean noninvasively recorded HFC was 8.04 ± 0.49 Hz (range 7–9.3 Hz). The ICP was 8.5 ± 5 mm Hg (range 2–24 mm Hg). For the three heart cycles randomly sampled, the values were 7.73 ± 0.51 Hz (range 6.7–8.6 Hz) and 7.76 ± 0.56 mm Hg (range 6.5–8.8 mm Hg), respectively.
This device allows noninvasive assessment of ICC based on the HFC waveform analysis that is equivalent to that obtained by invasive intraparenchymal recording. The monitoring device may become a valuable tool for monitoring parameters in patients in whom placement of an intracranial sensor is not feasible but assessment of ICC as an alternative to ICP measurement is desired.