Elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) is an important consequence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) that often results in decreased cerebral perfusion and secondary clinical decline. No definitive guidelines exist regarding methods and techniques for ICP management following aneurysm rupture. The authors describe monitoring practices and outcome data in 621 patients with aneurysmal SAH admitted to their neurological intensive care unit during an 8-year period (1996–2003).
A fiberoptic catheter tip probe or external ventricular drain (EVD) was used to record ICP values. The percentage of monitored patients varied, as expected, according to admission Hunt and Hess grade (p < 0.0001). Intracranial pressure monitoring devices were used in 27 (10%) of 264 Grade I to II patients, 72 (38%) of 189 Grade III patients, and 134 (80%) of 168 Grade IV to V patients. There was a strong propensity to favor transduced ventricular drains over parenchymal fiberoptic bolts, with the former used in 221 (95%) of 233 cases. This tendency was particularly strong in the poor-grade cohort, in which EVDs were placed in 99% of monitored individuals. The rates of cerebrospinal fluid infection in patients in whom ICP probes (0%) and ventricular drains (12%) were placed accorded with those in the literature.
Following aneurysmal SAH, ICP monitoring prevalence and techniques differ with respect to admission Hunt and Hess grade and are associated with the patient's functional status at discharge.