Posttraumatic refractory intracranial hypertension and brain herniation syndrome: cerebral hemodynamic assessment before decompressive craniectomy

Edson Bor-Seng-Shu, Wellingson Silva Paiva, Eberval G Figueiredo, Yasunori Fujimoto, Almir Ferreira de Andrade, Erich Talamoni Fonoff, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira
BioMed Research International 2013, 2013: 750809

BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of traumatic brain swelling remains little understood. An improved understanding of intracranial circulatory process related to brain herniation may have treatment implications.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the cerebral hemodynamic changes associated with brain herniation syndrome due to traumatic brain swelling.

METHODS: Nineteen head-injured patients with evidence of refractory intracranial hypertension and transtentorial herniation were prospectively studied. Cerebral hemodynamic assessment by transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography was performed prior to decompressive craniectomy. Patients and their cerebral hemispheres were classified according to TCD-hemodynamic patterns, and the data correlated with neurological status, midline shift on CT scan, and Glasgow outcome scale scores at 6 months after injury.

RESULTS: A wide variety of cerebral hemodynamic findings were observed. Ten patients (52.7%) presented with cerebral oligoemia, 3 patients (15.8%) with cerebral hyperemia, and 6 patients with nonspecific circulatory pattern. Circulatory disturbances were more frequently found in the side of maximal cerebral swelling than in the opposite side. Pulsatility index (PI) values suggested that ICP varied from acceptable to considerably high; patients with increased PI, indicating higher microvascular resistance. No correlation was found between cerebral hemodynamic findings and outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a marked heterogeneity of cerebral hemodynamic disturbances among patients with brain herniation syndrome.

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