Cerebral oxygenation, vascular reactivity, and neurochemistry following decompressive craniectomy for severe traumatic brain injury

Chi Long Ho, Chee Meng Wang, Kah Keow Lee, Ivan Ng, Beng Ti Ang
Journal of Neurosurgery 2008, 108 (5): 943-9

OBJECT: This study addresses the changes in brain oxygenation, cerebrovascular reactivity, and cerebral neurochemistry in patients following decompressive craniectomy for the control of elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHODS: Sixteen consecutive patients with isolated TBI and elevated ICP, who were refractory to maximal medical therapy, underwent decompressive craniectomy over a 1-year period. Thirteen patients were male and 3 were female. The mean age of the patients was 38 years and the median Glasgow Coma Scale score on admission was 5. RESULTS Six months following TBI, 11 patients had a poor outcome (Group 1, Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] Score 1-3), whereas the remaining 5 patients had a favorable outcome (Group 2, GOS Score 4 or 5). Decompressive craniectomy resulted in a significant reduction (p < 0.001) in the mean ICP and cerebrovascular pressure reactivity index to autoregulatory values (< 0.3) in both groups of patients. There was a significant improvement in brain tissue oxygenation (PbtO(2)) in Group 2 patients from 3 to 17 mm Hg and an 85% reduction in episodes of cerebral ischemia. In addition, the durations of abnormal PbtO(2) and biochemical indices were significantly reduced in Group 2 patients after decompressive craniectomy, but there was no improvement in the biochemical indices in Group 1 patients despite surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Decompressive craniectomy, when used appropriately in protocol-driven intensive care regimens for the treatment of recalcitrant elevated ICP, is associated with a return of abnormal metabolic parameters to normal values in patients with eventually favorable outcomes.

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