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Crit Care. 2008;12(5):181. doi: 10.1186/cc7008. Epub 2008 Sep 24.

Using MRI of the optic nerve sheath to detect elevated intracranial pressure.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. hkimberly@partners.org

Abstract

The current gold standard for the diagnosis of elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) remains invasive monitoring. Given that invasive monitoring is not always available or clinically feasible, there is growing interest in non-invasive methods of assessing ICP using diagnostic modalities such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Increased ICP is transmitted through the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the optic nerve, causing distention of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD). In this issue of Critical Care, Geeraerts and colleagues describe a non-invasive method of diagnosing elevated ICP using MRI to measure the ONSD. They report a positive correlation between measurements of the ONSD on MRI and invasive ICP measurements. If the findings of this study can be replicated in larger populations, this technique may be a useful non-invasive screening test for elevated ICP in select populations.

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