Monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP) may be indicated in children with traumatic brain injury, premature intraventricular hemorrhage, or hydrocephalus. The standard technique is either a direct measurement with invasive intracranial insertion of ICP probes or indirect noninvasive assessment using transfontanelle ultrasonography to measure blood flow. The authors have developed a new technique that allows noninvasive epicutaneous transfontanelle ICP measurement with standard ICP probes. They compared the ICP measurements obtained using the same type of standard probe used in 2 different ways in 5 infants (age < 1 year) undergoing surgery for craniosynostosis. The first ICP probe was implanted epidurally (providing control measurements) and the second probe was fixed epicutaneously on the skin over the reopened frontal fontanelle. ICP values were measured hourly for the first 24 hours after surgery and the values obtained with the 2 methods were compared using Bland-Altman 2-methods analysis.
A total of 110 pairs of measurements were assessed. There was no significant difference between the ICPs measured using the epicutaneous transfontanelle method (mean 13.10 mm Hg, SEM 6.68 mm Hg) and the epidural measurements (mean 12.46 mm Hg, SEM 6.45 mm Hg; p = 0.4643). The results of this analysis indicate that epicutaneous transfontanelle measurement of ICP is a reliable method that allows noninvasive ICP monitoring in children under the age of 1 year. Such noninvasive ICP monitoring could be implemented in the therapy of children with traumatic brain injury or intraventricular hemorrhage or for screening children with elevated ICP without invasive intracranial implantation of ICP probes.