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Intensive Care Med. 2006 Oct;32(10):1606-12. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Intracranial pressure complicating severe traumatic brain injury in children: monitoring and management.

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  • 1Diana Princess of Wales Children's Hospital, Steelhouse Lane, B4 6NH, Birmingham, UK.



To identify factors associated with the use of intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring and to establish which ICP-targetted therapies are being used in children with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United Kingdom. To evaluate current practice against recently published guidelines.


Prospective data collection of clinical and demographic information from paediatric and adult intensive care units in the UK and Ireland admitting children (< 16 years) with TBI between February 2001 and August 2003.


Detailed clinical information was obtained for 501 children, with information on the use of ICP monitoring available in 445. ICP monitoring was used in only 59% (75/127) of children presenting with an emergency room Glasgow Coma Scale of 8 or below. Large between centre variation was seen in the use of ICP monitoring, independent of severity of injury. There were 86 children who received ICP-targetted therapies without ICP monitoring. Wide between centre variation was found in the use of ICP-targetted therapies and in general aspects of management, such as fluid restriction, the use of muscle relaxants and prophylactic anticonvulsants. Intra-ventricular catheters are rarely placed (6% of cases); therefore cerebrospinal fluid drainage is seldom used as a first-line therapy for raised ICP. Jugular venous bulb oximetry (4%), brain microdialysis (< 1%) and brain tissue oxygen monitoring (< 1%) are rarely used in current practice. Contrary to published guidelines, moderate to severe hyperventilation is being used without monitoring for cerebral ischaemia.


There is an urgent need for greater standardisation of practice across UK centres admitting children with severe TBI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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