Intracranial pressure monitoring, cerebral perfusion pressure estimation, and ICP/CPP-guided therapy: a standard of care or optional extra after brain injury?

Authors: Kirkman MA, Smith M.

Measurement of intracranial pressure (ICP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) is used to derive cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) and to guide targeted therapy of acute brain injury (ABI) during neurointensive care. Here we provide a narrative review of the evidence for ICP monitoring, CPP estimation, and ICP/CPP-guided therapy after ABI. Despite its widespread use, there is currently no class I evidence that ICP/CPP-guided therapy for any cerebral pathology improves outcomes; indeed some evidence suggests that it makes no difference, and some that it may worsen outcomes. Similarly, no class I evidence can currently advise the ideal CPP for any form of ABI. 'Optimal' CPP is likely patient-, time-, and pathology-specific. Further, CPP estimation requires correct referencing (at the level of the foramen of Monro as opposed to the level of the heart) for MAP measurement to avoid CPP over-estimation and adverse patient outcomes. Evidence is emerging for the role of other monitors of cerebral well-being that enable the clinician to employ an individualized multimodality monitoring approach in patients with ABI, and these are briefly reviewed. While acknowledging difficulties in conducting robust prospective randomized studies in this area, such high-quality evidence for the utility of ICP/CPP-directed therapy in ABI is urgently required. So, too, is the wider adoption of multimodality neuromonitoring to guide optimal management of ICP and CPP, and a greater understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of the different forms of ABI and what exactly the different monitoring tools used actually represent.

Full text and source: British journal of Anaesthesia

Br J Anaesth. 2013 Nov 28.