Critical thresholds for intracranial pressure vary over time in non-craniectomised traumatic brain injury patients.

20 Jul 2018

BACKGROUND: Intracranial pressure (ICP)- and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP)-guided therapy is central to neurocritical care for traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. We sought to identify time-dependent critical thresholds for mortality and unfavourable outcome for ICP and CPP in non-craniectomised TBI patients. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of 355 patients with moderate-to-severe TBI who received ICP monitoring and were managed without decompressive craniectomy in a tertiary hospital neurocritical care unit. Patients were grouped in 2 × 2 tables according to survival/death or favourable/unfavourable outcomes at 6 months and serial thresholds of mean ICP and CPP, using increments of 0.1 and 0.5 mmHg respectively. Sequential chi-square analysis was performed, and the thresholds yielding the highest chi-square test statistic were taken as having the best discriminative value for outcome. This process was repeated over monitoring periods of 1, 3, 5 and 7 days and for each day of recording to establish time-dependent thresholds. The same analysis was performed for age and sex subgroups. RESULTS: Global ICP thresholds were 21.3 and 20.5 mmHg for mortality and unfavourable outcome respectively (p < 0.001). After the first day of ICP monitoring, ICP thresholds fell to between 15 and 20 mmHg and remained significant (p < 0.05). Significant time-dependent CPP thresholds for mortality or unfavourable outcome were often not identified, and no identifiable trends were produced. CONCLUSION: Critical ICP thresholds in non-craniectomised TBI patients vary with time and fall below established ICP targets after the first day of monitoring.