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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2008 Jul;2(1):83-94. doi: 10.3171/PED/2008/2/7/083.

Intracranial pressure waves: characterization of a pulsation absorber with notch filter properties using systems analysis: laboratory investigation.

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Neurosurgery Department, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The relationship between the waveform of intracranial pressure (ICP) and arterial blood pressure can be quantitatively characterized using a newly developed technique in systems analysis, the time-varying transfer function. This technique considers the arterial blood pressure as an input signal composed of multiple frequencies represented in the output ICP according to the transfer function imposed by the intracranial system on the input signal. The transfer function can change with time and with physiological manipulations. The authors examined data obtained from canine experiments involving manipulations of ICP.


The authors analyzed 11 experiments from 3 normal mongrel dogs under conditions of normal ICP and with changes in ICP made by bolus injection, infusion, or withdrawal of cerebrospinal fluid by using time-varying transfer function.


During normal ICP periods, the gain of the transfer function displayed a deep notch (> or = 1 log unit) centered at or near the cardiac frequency. In systems terms, the intracranial compartment under normal conditions appears to act as a notch filter attenuating the cardiac frequency input relative to other frequencies. Epochs of ICP elevation showed suppression of the notch, and the notch was restored when ICP returned to normal.


The intracranial system in these animals could be considered to include a pulsation absorber for which the target frequency appears to be close to the cardiac frequency. One possible source for such an absorber mechanism might be the free movement of cerebrospinal fluid, implying that impairment of this motion may have important clinical implications in various neurological conditions such as hydrocephalus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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