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Peter C. Whitfield, Eric P. Guazzo and John D. Pickard

✓ The authors describe a simple technique that reduces the incidence of retained ventricular catheters and minimizes the risk of life-threatening intraventricular hemorrhage during the removal of an obstructed, adherent ventricular catheter in patients with hydrocephalus. The technique requires no special equipment and has been successfully used, without complications, in a prospective series of 12 patients with 13 blocked, adherent ventricular catheters.

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Marek Czosnyka, Peter Smielewski, Ivan Timofeev, Andrea Lavinio, Eric Guazzo, Peter Hutchinson and John D. Pickard

✓Many doctors involved in the critical care of head-injured patients understand intracranial pressure (ICP) as a number, characterizing the state of the brain pressure–volume relationships. However, the dynamics of ICP, its waveform, and secondarily derived indices portray useful information about brain homeostasis. There is circumstantial evidence that this information can be used to modify and optimize patients' treatment. Secondary variables, such as pulse amplitude and the magnitude of slow waves, index of compensatory reserve, and pressure–reactivity index (PRx), look promising in clinical practice. The optimal cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) derived using the PRx is a new concept that may help to avoid excessive use of vasopressors in CPP-oriented therapy. However, the use of secondary ICP indices remains to be confirmed in clinical trials.