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J. Paul Muizelaar, Enoch P. Wei, Hermes A. Kontos and Donald P. Becker

✓ There is no proof that osmotic agents such as mannitol lower intracranial pressure (ICP) by decreasing brain water content. An alternative mechanism might be a reduction in cerebral blood volume through vasoconstriction. Mannitol, by decreasing blood viscosity, would tend to enhance cerebral blood flow (CBF), but the cerebral vessels would constrict to keep CBF relatively constant, analogous to pressure autoregulation. The cranial window technique was used in this study to measure the pial arteriolar diameter in cats, together with blood viscosity and ICP changes after an intravenous bolus of 1 gm/kg of mannitol. Blood viscosity decreased immediately; the greatest decrease (23%) occurred at 10 minutes, and at 75 minutes there was a “rebound” increase of 10%. Vessel diameters decreased concomitantly, the largest decrease being 12% at 10 minutes, which is exactly the same as the 12% decrease in diameter associated with pronounced hyperventilation (PaCO2 30 to 19 mm Hg) in the same vessels; at 75 minutes vessel diameter increased by 12%. With hyperventilation, ICP was decreased by 26%; 10 minutes after mannitol was given, ICP decreased by 28%, and at 75 minutes it showed a rebound increase of 40%. The correlation between blood viscosity and vessel diameter and between vessel diameter and ICP was very high. An alternative explanation is offered for the effect of mannitol on ICP, the time course of ICP changes, the “rebound effect,” and the absence of influence on CBF, all with one mechanism.

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J. Paul Muizelaar, Harry A. Lutz III and Donald P. Becker

✓ In a previous paper, the authors showed that mannitol causes cerebral vasoconstriction in response to blood viscosity decreases in cats. The present paper describes the changes in intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after mannitol administration in a group of severely head-injured patients with intact or defective autoregulation. The xenon-133 inhalation method was used to measure CBF. Autoregulation was tested by slowly increasing or decreasing the blood pressure by 30% and measuring CBF again. Mannitol was administered intravenously in a dose of 0.66 gm/kg; 25 minutes later, CBF and ICP were measured once again. In the group with intact autoregulation, mannitol had decreased ICP by 27.2%, but CBF remained unchanged. In the group with defective autoregulation, ICP had decreased by only 4.7%, but CBF increased 17.9%. One of the possible explanations for these findings is based on strong indications that autoregulation is mediated through alterations in the level of adenosine in response to oxygen availability changes in cerebral tissue. The decrease in blood viscosity after mannitol administration leads to an improved oxygen transport to the brain. When autoregulation is intact, more oxygen leads to decreased adenosine levels, resulting in vasoconstriction. The decrease in resistance to flow from the decreased blood viscosity is balanced by increased resistance from vasoconstriction, so that CBF remains the same. This might be called blood viscosity autoregulation of CBF, analogous to pressure autoregulation. Vasoconstriction also reduces cerebral blood volume, which enhances the effect of mannitol on ICP through dehydration of the brain. When autoregulation is not intact there is no vasoconstriction in response to increased oxygen availability; thus, CBF increases with decreased viscosity. With the lack of vasoconstriction, the effect on ICP through dehydration is not enhanced, so that the resulting decrease in ICP is much smaller. Such a mechanism explains why osmotic agents do not change CBF but decrease ICP in normal animals or patients with intact vasoconstriction, but do (temporarily) increase CBF in the absence of major ICP changes after stroke.

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Lennart Rabow, Antonio A. F. DeSalles, Donald P. Becker, Mildred Yang, Hermes A. Kontos, John D. Ward, Richard J. Moulton, Guy Clifton, Hanns D. Gruemer, J. Paul Muizelaar and Anthony Marmarou

✓ The posttraumatic creatine kinase-BB isoenzyme (CKBB) activity and lactate concentration in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been studied in 29 patients with severe head injuries. The CKBB activity reaches its maximum a few hours after trauma, and has a monoexponential drop with a half-time of approximately 10 hours. Ventricular CSF lactate concentration continues to rise in patients with a poor outcome, and decreases only slowly and inconsistently in most of the other patients. Thus, increase of lactate in the ventricular CSF is not, like CKBB, a direct one-stage consequence of the trauma but is due to continuous production from a derangement of metabolism caused by the trauma. Since even higher ventricular CSF lactate levels can be survived when not caused by head injury, and since no significant pH changes were related to the ventricular CSF lactic acidosis in these artificially ventilated patients, it is concluded that ventricular CSF lactic acidosis is indicative of a severe, although not necessarily intractable, disturbance of brain function associated with intracellular lactate production and acidosis.

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Anthony Marmarou, Angelo L. Maset, John D. Ward, Sung Choi, Danny Brooks, Harry A. Lutz, Richard J. Moulton, J. Paul Muizelaar, Antonio DeSalles and Harold F. Young

✓ The authors studied the relative contribution of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and vascular parameters to the level of intracranial pressure (ICP) in 34 severely head-injured patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of less than 8. This was accomplished by first characterizing the temporal course of CSF formation and outflow resistance during the 5-day period postinjury. The CSF formation and outflow resistance were obtained from pressure responses to bolus addition and removal of fluid from an indwelling ventricular catheter. The vascular contribution to the level of ICP was assessed by withdrawing fluid at its rate of formation and observing the resultant change in equilibrium ICP level. It was found that, with the exception of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, CSF parameters accounted for approximately one-third of the ICP rise after severe head injury, and that a vascular mechanism may be the predominant factor in elevation of ICP.

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Angelo L. Maset, Anthony Marmarou, John D. Ward, Sung Choi, Harry A. Lutz, Danny Brooks, Richard J. Moulton, Antonio DeSalles, J. Paul Muizelaar, Hope Turner and Harold F. Young

✓ The authors studied intracranial pressure (ICP) and intracranial compliance as defined by the pressure-volume index (PVI) in 34 severely head-injured patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or less. The objective of the research was to determine if there was a correlation between the pressure-volume status and subsequent increase in ICP. The PVI and ICP measurements were obtained serially, and the temporal course of the pressure-volume status and ICP was determined during the 5-day period following injury. Aggressiveness of ICP was quantified by a therapy intensity level scale. A clear relationship between the PVI measured soon after injury and subsequent development of ICP emerged. Following mechanical trauma the PVI is reduced, and the degree of reduction and extent of biomechanical recovery are closely related to outcome and development of raised ICP.

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J. Paul Muizelaar, Henk G. van der Poel, Zhongchao Li, Hermes A. Kontos and Joseph E. Levasseur

✓ Hyperventilation reduces intracranial pressure (ICP) acutely through vasoconstriction, but its long-term effect on vessel diameter is unknown. In seven rabbits with a cranial window implanted 3 weeks earlier, the effect of prolonged hyperventilation on vessel diameter was studied. Anesthesia was maintained for 54 hours with a pentobarbital drip (1 mg/kg/hr). The pH, CO2, and HCO3 levels were measured in arterial blood and cisterna magna cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The diameter of 31 pial arterioles was measured with an image splitter. After baseline measurements, pCO2 was reduced from 38 to 25 mm Hg and allowed to return to 38 mm Hg for 10 minutes every 4 hours.

There was an initial vasoconstriction of 13%, which progressively diminished by 3% every 4 hours. Thus, by the 20th hour, vessel diameters at a pCO2 of 25 mm Hg had returned to slightly above baseline values obtained at a pCO2 of 38 mm Hg. The temporary return of pCO2 to 38 mm Hg every 4 hours caused vasodilation: 12% at 4 hours, gradually increasing to 16% at 52 hours. Thus, at 52 hours, the vessel diameters were 105% of baseline at a pCO2 of 25 mm Hg and increased to 122% at a pCO2 of 38 mm Hg. Arterial pH had returned to baseline at 20 hours, and CSF pH had returned at 24 hours. Bicarbonate in blood and CSF remained decreased throughout the experiments. In three control experiments during which normocapnia was maintained, vessel diameter and pH and bicarbonate levels remained unaltered over the same period. The CO2 reactivity, tested by brief periods of hyperventilation every 4 hours, also did not change.

These results indicate that hyperventilation is effective in reducing cerebral blood volume for less than 24 hours and that it should be used only during actual ICP elevations. If used preventively, its effect may have worn off by the time ICP starts to rise for other reasons, and further decreases in pCO2 cannot be obtained. Moreover, the reduction in buffer capacity with lower bicarbonate renders the vessels more sensitive to changes in PaCO2. This could lead to more pronounced elevations in ICP during transient rises in PaCO2, such as during endotracheal suctioning in head-injured patients.

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Cerebral blood flow and metabolism in severely head-injured children

Part 1: Relationship with GCS score, outcome, ICP, and PVI

J. Paul Muizelaar, Anthony Marmarou, Antonio A. F. DeSalles, John D. Ward, Richard S. Zimmerman, Zhongchao Li, Sung C. Choi and Harold F. Young

✓ The literature suggests that in children with severe head injury, cerebral hyperemia is common and related to high intracranial pressure (ICP). However, there are very few data on cerebral blood flow (CBF) after severe head injury in children. This paper presents 72 measurements of cerebral blood flow (“CBF15”), using the 133Xe inhalation method, with multiple detectors over both hemispheres in 32 children aged 3 to 18 years (mean 13.6 years) with severe closed head injury (average Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score 5.4). In 25 of the children, these were combined with measurements of arteriojugular venous oxygen difference (AVDO2) and of cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). In 30 patients, the first measurement was taken approximately 12 hours postinjury. In 18 patients, an indication of brain stiffness was obtained by withdrawal and injection of ventricular cerebrospinal fluid and calculation of the pressure-volume index (PVI) of Marmarou. The CBF and CMRO2 data were correlated with the GCS score, outcome, ICP, and PVI.

Early after injury, CBF tended to be lower with lower GCS scores, but this was not statistically significant. This trend was reversed 24 hours postinjury, as significantly more hyperemic values were recorded the lower the GCS score, with the exception of the most severely injured patients (GCS score 3). In contrast, mean CMRO2 correlated positively with the GCS score and outcome throughout the course, but large standard deviations preclude making predictions based on CMRO2 measurements in individual patients. Early after injury, there was mild uncoupling between CBF and CMRO2 (CBF above metabolic demands, low AVDO2) and, after 24 hours, flow and metabolism were completely uncoupled with an extremely low AVDO2. Consistently reduced flow was found in only four patients; 28 patients (88%) showed hyperemia at some point in their course. This very high percentage of patients with hyperemia, combined with the lowest values of AVDO2 found in the literature, indicates that hyperemia or luxury perfusion is more prevalent in this group of patients. The three patients with consistently the highest CBF had consistently the lowest PVI: thus, the patients with the most severe hyperemia also had the stiffest brains. Nevertheless, and in contrast to previous reports, no correlation could be established between the course of ICP or PVI and the occurrence of hyperemia, nor was there a correlation between the levels of CBF and ICP at the time of the measurements. The authors argue that this lack of correlation is due to: 1) a definition of hyperemia that is too generous, and 2) the lack of a systematic relationship between CBF and cerebral blood volume. The implications of these findings for therapeutic modes of controlling ICP in children, such as hyperventilation and the use of mannitol, are discussed.

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J. Paul Muizelaar, John D. Ward, Anthony Marmarou, Pauline G. Newlon and Akihiko Wachi

✓ Autoregulation of cerebral blood flow (“CBF15”) was tested in a series of 26 pediatric patients (mean age 13.2 years) with severe head injury (average Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score 5.5) in the acute stage. A baseline 133Xe CBF measurement was performed and then repeated, after blood pressure was increased by 29% with intravenous phenylephrine or decreased by 26% with intravenous trimethaphan camsylate. Correlations were made between CBF and clinical condition, outcome, time after injury, intracranial pressure (ICP), and pressure-volume index (PVI) changes, and the site of injury (hemispheres, diencephalon, or brain stem). The site of injury was determined with multimodality evoked potential measurements. Autoregulation was intact in 22 (59%) of 37 measurements. There was no correlation with GCS score, outcome, time after injury, site of injury, or way of testing (decreasing or increasing blood pressure). Autoregulation was statistically significantly more often impaired when CBF was either below normal −2 standard deviations (SD) (reduced flow) or above normal +2 SD (absolute hyperemia). In cases with intact autoregulation, mean ICP decreased from 17.5 to 15.0 mm Hg with higher blood pressure and increased from 19.0 to 21.3 mm Hg with lower blood pressure. When PVI was measured during the blood pressure manipulations, it was found to change in a direction opposite to the ICP change. The consequences of these findings in the management of ICP problems with blood pressure control are discussed.

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Gerrit J. Bouma and J. Paul Muizelaar

✓ Intravascular volume expansion has been successfully employed to promote blood flow in ischemic brain regions. This effect has been attributed to both decreased blood viscosity and increased cardiac output resulting from volume expansion. The physiological mechanism by which changes in cardiac output would affect cerebral blood flow (CBF), independent of blood pressure variations, is unclear, but impaired cerebral autoregulation is believed to play a role. In order to evaluate the relationship between cardiac output and CBF when autoregulation is either intact or defective, 135 simultaneous measurements of cardiac output (thermodilution method) and CBF (by the 133Xe inhalation or intravenous injection method) were performed in 35 severely head-injured patients. In 81 instances, these measurements were performed after manipulation of blood pressure with phenylephrine or Arfonad (trimethaphan camsylate), or manipulation of blood viscosity with mannitol. Autoregulation was found to be intact in 55 of these cases and defective in 26. A wide range of changes in cardiac output occurred after administration of each drug. No correlation existed between the changes in cardiac output and the changes in CBF, regardless of the status of blood pressure autoregulation. A significant (40%) increase in CBF was found after administration of mannitol when autoregulation was defective. These data support the hypothesis that, within broad limits, CBF is not related to cardiac output, even when autoregulation is impaired. Thus, the effect of intravascular volume expansion appears to be mediated by decreased blood viscosity rather than cardiac output augmentation.