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Sami Abu Hamdeh, Niklas Marklund, Anders Lewén, Tim Howells, Raili Raininko, Johan Wikström and Per Enblad

OBJECTIVE

Increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) with diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is not well defined. This study investigated the occurrence of increased ICP and whether clinical factors and lesion localization on MRI were associated with increased ICP in patients with DAI.

METHODS

Fifty-two patients with severe TBI (median age 24 years, range 9–61 years), who had undergone ICP monitoring and had DAI on MRI, as determined using T2*-weighted gradient echo, susceptibility-weighted imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) sequences, were enrolled. The proportion of good monitoring time (GMT) with ICP > 20 mm Hg during the first 120 hours postinjury was calculated and associations with clinical and MRI-related factors were evaluated using linear regression.

RESULTS

All patients had episodes of ICP > 20 mm Hg. The mean proportion of GMT with ICP > 20 mm Hg was 5%, and 27% of the patients (14/52) spent more than 5% of GMT with ICP > 20 mm Hg. The Glasgow Coma Scale motor score at admission (p = 0.04) and lesions on DWI sequences in the substantia nigra and mesencephalic tegmentum (SN-T, p = 0.001) were associated with the proportion of GMT with ICP > 20 mm Hg. In multivariable linear regression, lesions on DWI sequences in SN-T (8% of GMT with ICP > 20 mm Hg, 95% CI 3%–13%, p = 0.004) and young age (−0.2% of GMT with ICP > 20 mm Hg, 95% CI −0.07% to −0.3%, p = 0.002) were associated with increased ICP.

CONCLUSIONS

Increased ICP occurs in approximately one-third of patients with severe TBI who have DAI. Age and lesions on DWI sequences in the central mesencephalon (i.e., SN-T) are associated with elevated ICP. These findings suggest that MR lesion localization may aid prediction of increased ICP in patients with DAI.

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Tim Howells, Kristin Elf, Patricia A. Jones, Elisabeth Ronne-Engström, Ian Piper, Pelle Nilsson, Peter Andrews and Per Enblad

Object. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of two different treatment protocols on physiological characteristics and outcome in patients with brain trauma. One protocol was primarily oriented toward reducing intracranial pressure (ICP), and the other primarily on maintaining cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP).

Methods. A series of 67 patients in Uppsala were treated according to a protocol aimed at keeping ICP less than 20 mm Hg and, as a secondary target, CPP at approximately 60 mm Hg. Another series of 64 patients in Edinburgh were treated according to a protocol aimed primarily at maintaining CPP greater than 70 mm Hg and, secondarily, ICP less than 25 mm Hg for the first 24 hours and 30 mm Hg subsequently.

The ICP and CPP insults were assessed as the percentage of monitoring time that ICP was greater than or equal to 20 mm Hg and CPP less than 60 mm Hg, respectively. Pressure reactivity in each patient was assessed based on the slope of the regression line relating mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) to ICP. Outcome was analyzed at 6 months according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS).

The prognostic value of secondary insults and pressure reactivity was determined using linear methods and a neural network. In patients treated according to the CPP-oriented protocol, even short durations of CPP insults were strong predictors of death. In patients treated according to the ICP-oriented protocol, even long durations of CPP insult—mostly in the range of 50 to 60 mm Hg—were significant predictors of favorable outcome (GOS Score 4 or 5). Among those who had undergone ICP-oriented treatment, pressure-passive patients (MABP/ICP slope ≥ 0.13) had a better outcome. Among those who had undergone CPP-oriented treatment, the more pressure-active (MABP/ICP slope < 0.13) patients had a better outcome.

Conclusions. Based on data from this study, the authors concluded that ICP-oriented therapy should be used in patients whose slope of the MABP/ICP regression line is at least 0.13, that is, in pressure-passive patients. If the slope is less than 0.13, then hypertensive CPP therapy is likely to produce a better outcome.