Authors: Rohlwink UK, Zwane E, Fieggen AG, Argent AC, Leroux PD, Figaji AA.
BACKGROUND: Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring is a cornerstone of care for severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Management of ICP can help ensure adequate cerebral blood flow and oxygenation. However, studies indicate that brain hypoxia may occur despite 'normal' ICP and the relationship between ICP and brain oxygenation is poorly defined. This is particularly important for children in whom less is known about intracranial dynamics.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between ICP and brain tissue oxygen (PbtO2) in children with severe TBI (Glasgow Comma Score ≤ 8) admitted to Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town.
METHODS: The relationship between time-linked hourly and high frequency ICP and PbtO2 data was examined using correlation, regression and generalized estimating equations. Thresholds for ICP were examined against reduced PbtO2 using age bands and receiver-operating curves.
RESULTS: Analysis using over 8300 hourly (N=75) and 1 million high frequency data points (N=30) demonstrated a weak relationship between ICP and PbtO2 (r = .05, r=.04). No critical ICP threshold for low PbtO2 was identified. Individual patients revealed a strong relationship between ICP and PbtO2 at specific times, but different relationships were evident over longer periods.
CONCLUSION: The relationship between ICP and PbtO2 appears complex and several factors likely influence both variables separately and in combination. Although very high ICP is associated with reduced PbtO2, in general, absolute ICP has a poor relationship with PbtO2. Since reduced PbtO2 is independently associated with poor outcome, a better understanding of ICP and PbtO2 management in pediatric TBI seems needed.