Asymmetry of pressure autoregulation after traumatic brain injury

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  • 1 Academic Neurosurgery Unit and Department of Anaesthesiology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Institute of Electronic Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland; and Service de Neurochirurgie, Hôpital Universitaire Toulouse—Purpan, France
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Object. The aim of this study was to assess the asymmetry of autoregulation between the left and right sides of the brain by using bilateral transcranial Doppler ultrasonography in a cohort of patients with head injuries.

Methods. Ninety-six patients with head injuries comprised the study population. All significant intracranial mass lesions were promptly removed. The patients were given medications to induce sedation and paralysis, and artificial ventilation. Arterial blood pressure (ABP) and intracranial pressure (ICP) were monitored in an invasive manner. A strategy based on the patient's cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP = ABP − ICP) was applied: CPP was maintained at a level higher than 70 mm Hg and ICP at a level lower than 25 mm Hg. The left and right middle cerebral arteries were insonated daily, and bilateral flow velocities (FVs) were recorded. The correlation coefficient between the CPP and FV, termed Mx, was calculated and time-averaged over each recording period on both sides. An Mx close to 1 signified that slow fluctuations in CPP produced synchronized slow changes in FV, indicating a defective autoregulation. An Mx close to 0 indicated preserved autoregulation. Computerized tomography scans in all patients were reviewed; the side on which the major brain lesion was located was noted and the extent of the midline shift was determined. Outcome was measured 6 months after discharge. The left—right difference in the Mx between the hemispheres was significantly higher in patients who died than in those who survived (0.16 ± 0.04 compared with 0.08 ± 0.01; p = 0.04). The left—right difference in the Mx was correlated with a midline shift (r = −0.42; p = 0.03). Autoregulation was worse on the side of the brain where the lesion was located (p < 0.035).

Conclusions. The left—right difference in autoregulation is significantly associated with a fatal outcome. Autoregulation in the brain is worse on the side ipsilateral to the lesion and on the side of expansion in cases in which there is a midline shift.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Marek Czosnyka, Ph.D., Academic Neurosurgery Unit, P. O. Box 167, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, United Kingdom. email: mc141@medschl.cam.ac.uk.
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