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Curr Opin Crit Care. 2006 Apr;12(2):97-102.

Continuous monitoring of the microcirculation in neurocritical care: an update on brain tissue oxygenation.

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Neurovascular Service, University of California, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.



This article summarizes recent clinical and experimental studies of parenchymal brain tissue oxygen monitoring and considers future directions for its use in neurocritical care.


Recent reports have focused on the relationship between brain tissue oxygen tension (PbrO2) and other physiologic parameters such as mean arterial pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure, cerebral blood flow, and fraction of inspired oxygen. PbrO2 appears to reflect both regional and systemic oxygen concentrations as well as microvascular perfusion through natural tissue gradients. Defining an absolute critically low PbrO2 threshold has been challenging, but levels below 14 mmHg may have a pathophysiologic basis. Newer studies have examined dynamic changes in PbrO2 during oxygen reactivity testing and during augmentation of cerebral perfusion pressure. PbrO2 monitoring has now been described in a wide range of neurocritical care conditions including head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhage, brain death, and brain tumor resection.


The use of brain tissue oxygen monitoring is maturing as a tool to detect and treat secondary brain injury. PbrO2 measurements can provide continuous quantitative data about injury pathophysiology and severity that may help optimize neurointensive care management. Prospective trials of PbrO2 guided treatment protocols are now needed to demonstrate impact on clinical outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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