Logo of jnnpsycJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and PsychiatryVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001 Oct; 71(4): 448–454.
PMCID: PMC1763520

Brain temperature, body core temperature, and intracranial pressure in acute cerebral damage


OBJECTIVES—To assess the frequency of hyperthermia in a population of acute neurosurgical patients; to assess the relation between brain temperature (ICT) and core temperature (Tc); to investigate the effect of changes in brain temperature on intracranial pressure (ICP).
METHODS—The study involved 20 patients (10 severe head injury, eight subarachnoid haemorrhage, two neoplasms) with median Glasgow coma score (GCS) 6. ICP and ICT were monitored by an intraventricular catheter coupled with a thermistor. Internal Tc was measured in the pulmonary artery by a Swan-Ganz catheter.
RESULTS—Mean ICT was 38.4 (SD 0.8) and mean Tc 38.1 (SD 0.8)°C; 73% of ICT and 57.5% of Tc measurements were ⩾38°C. The mean difference between ICT and Tc was 0.3 (SD 0.3)°C (range −0.7 to 2.3°C) (p=0. 0001). Only in 12% of patients was Tc higher than ICT. The main reason for the differences between ICT and Tc was body core temperature: the difference between ICT and Tc increased significantly with body core temperature and fell significantly when this was lowered. The mean gradient between ICT and Tc was 0.16 (SD 0.31)°C before febrile episodes (ICT being higher than Tc), and 0.41 (SD 0.38)°C at the febrile peak (p<0.05). When changes in temperature were considered, ICT had a profound influence on ICP. Increases in ICT were associated with a significant rise in ICP, from 14.9(SD 7.9) to 22 (SD 10.4) mm Hg (p<0.05). As the fever ebbed there was a significant decrease in ICP, from 17.5 (SD 8.62) to 16 (SD 7.76) mm Hg (p=0.02).
CONCLUSIONS—Fever is extremely frequent during acute cerebral damage and ICT is significantly higher than Tc. Moreover, Tc may underestimate ICT during the phases when temperature has the most impact on the intracranial system because of the close association between increases in ICT and ICP.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (194K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Busto R, Dietrich WD, Globus MY, Ginsberg MD. Postischemic moderate hypothermia inhibits CA1 hippocampal ischemic neuronal injury. Neurosci Lett. 1989 Jul 3;101(3):299–304. [PubMed]
  • Busto R, Dietrich WD, Globus MY, Valdés I, Scheinberg P, Ginsberg MD. Small differences in intraischemic brain temperature critically determine the extent of ischemic neuronal injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1987 Dec;7(6):729–738. [PubMed]
  • Busto R, Dietrich WD, Globus MY, Ginsberg MD. The importance of brain temperature in cerebral ischemic injury. Stroke. 1989 Aug;20(8):1113–1114. [PubMed]
  • Clifton GL, Jiang JY, Lyeth BG, Jenkins LW, Hamm RJ, Hayes RL. Marked protection by moderate hypothermia after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1991 Jan;11(1):114–121. [PubMed]
  • Michenfelder JD, Milde JH. The relationship among canine brain temperature, metabolism, and function during hypothermia. Anesthesiology. 1991 Jul;75(1):130–136. [PubMed]
  • Clasen RA, Pandolfi S, Laing I, Casey D., Jr Experimental study of relation of fever to cerebral edema. J Neurosurg. 1974 Nov;41(5):576–581. [PubMed]
  • Dietrich WD, Alonso O, Halley M, Busto R. Delayed posttraumatic brain hyperthermia worsens outcome after fluid percussion brain injury: a light and electron microscopic study in rats. Neurosurgery. 1996 Mar;38(3):533–541. [PubMed]
  • Shiozaki T, Sugimoto H, Taneda M, Yoshida H, Iwai A, Yoshioka T, Sugimoto T. Effect of mild hypothermia on uncontrollable intracranial hypertension after severe head injury. J Neurosurg. 1993 Sep;79(3):363–368. [PubMed]
  • Marion DW, Obrist WD, Carlier PM, Penrod LE, Darby JM. The use of moderate therapeutic hypothermia for patients with severe head injuries: a preliminary report. J Neurosurg. 1993 Sep;79(3):354–362. [PubMed]
  • Marion DW, Penrod LE, Kelsey SF, Obrist WD, Kochanek PM, Palmer AM, Wisniewski SR, DeKosky ST. Treatment of traumatic brain injury with moderate hypothermia. N Engl J Med. 1997 Feb 20;336(8):540–546. [PubMed]
  • Clifton GL, Miller ER, Choi SC, Levin HS, McCauley S, Smith KR, Jr, Muizelaar JP, Wagner FC, Jr, Marion DW, Luerssen TG, et al. Lack of effect of induction of hypothermia after acute brain injury. N Engl J Med. 2001 Feb 22;344(8):556–563. [PubMed]
  • Reith J, Jørgensen HS, Pedersen PM, Nakayama H, Raaschou HO, Jeppesen LL, Olsen TS. Body temperature in acute stroke: relation to stroke severity, infarct size, mortality, and outcome. Lancet. 1996 Feb 17;347(8999):422–425. [PubMed]
  • Jones PA, Andrews PJ, Midgley S, Anderson SI, Piper IR, Tocher JL, Housley AM, Corrie JA, Slattery J, Dearden NM, et al. Measuring the burden of secondary insults in head-injured patients during intensive care. J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 1994 Jan;6(1):4–14. [PubMed]
  • Bland JM, Altman DG. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet. 1986 Feb 8;1(8476):307–310. [PubMed]
  • Rumana CS, Gopinath SP, Uzura M, Valadka AB, Robertson CS. Brain temperature exceeds systemic temperature in head-injured patients. Crit Care Med. 1998 Mar;26(3):562–567. [PubMed]
  • Mellergård P, Nordström CH, Christensson M. A method for monitoring intracerebral temperature in neurosurgical patients. Neurosurgery. 1990 Oct;27(4):654–657. [PubMed]
  • Hirashima Y, Takaba M, Endo S, Hayashi N, Yamashita K, Takaku A. Intracerebral temperature in patients with hydrocephalus of varying aetiology. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1998 Jun;64(6):792–794. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mellergård P, Nordström CH. Epidural temperature and possible intracerebral temperature gradients in man. Br J Neurosurg. 1990;4(1):31–38. [PubMed]
  • Mellergård P, Nordström CH. Intracerebral temperature in neurosurgical patients. Neurosurgery. 1991 May;28(5):709–713. [PubMed]
  • Mellergård P. Intracerebral temperature in neurosurgical patients: intracerebral temperature gradients and relationships to consciousness level. Surg Neurol. 1995 Jan;43(1):91–95. [PubMed]
  • Zhao W, Alonso OF, Loor JY, Busto R, Ginsberg MD. Influence of early posttraumatic hypothermia therapy on local cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism after fluid-percussion brain injury. J Neurosurg. 1999 Mar;90(3):510–519. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    NCBI Bookshelf books that cite the current articles.
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...