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Int J Med Sci. 2012;9(8):655-64. doi: 10.7150/ijms.5004. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Intracranial pressure response to non-penetrating ballistic impact: an experimental study using a pig physical head model and live pigs.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Trauma, Burns and Combined Injury, Research Institute of Surgery, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400042, China.


This study was conducted to characterize the intracranial pressure response to non-penetrating ballistic impact using a "scalp-skull-brain" pig physical head model and live pigs. Forty-eight ballistic tests targeting the physical head model and anesthetized pigs protected by aramid plates were conducted with standard 9 mm bullets at low (279-297 m/s), moderate (350-372 m/s), and high (409-436 m/s) velocities. Intracranial pressure responses were recorded with pressure sensors embedded in similar brain locations in the physical head model and the anesthetized pigs. Three parameters of intracranial pressure were determined from the measured data: intracranial maximum pressure (P(max)), intracranial maximum pressure impulse (PI(max)), and the duration of the first positive phase (PPD). The intracranial pressure waves exhibited blast-like characteristics for both the physical model and l live pigs. Of all three parameters, P(max) is most sensitive to impact velocity, with means of 126 kPa (219 kPa), 178 kPa (474 kPa), and 241 kPa (751 kPa) for the physical model (live pigs) for low, moderate, and high impact velocities, respectively. The mean PPD becomes increasingly short as the impact velocity increases, whereas PI(max) shows the opposite trend. Although the pressure parameters of the physical model were much lower than those of the live pigs, good correlations between the physical model and the live pigs for the three pressure parameters, especially P(max), were found using linear regression. This investigation suggests that P(max) is a preferred parameter for predicting the severity of the brain injury resulting from behind armor blunt trauma (BABT).


Intracranial pressure response; Live pigs; Non-penetrating ballistic impact; Pig physical head model

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