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Physiol Meas. 2012 Dec;33(12):2017-31. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/33/12/2017. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Steady-state indicators of the intracranial pressure dynamic system using geodesic distance of the ICP pulse waveform.

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Neural Systems and Dynamics Laboratory, Department of Neurosurgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Normal functioning of the brain depends on the homeostasis (∼ steady state) of its various physiological sub-systems, one of which is the intracranial pressure (ICP) dynamic system. The ICP dynamic system of an injured brain is susceptible to various acute changes that should ideally be detected by ICP monitoring even for comatose patients. However, the status quo of ICP monitoring solely targets mean ICP. We aimed to demonstrate a novel approach to detect acute deviation from steady state of an ICP dynamic system in an absence of significant mean ICP changes. We hypothesized that steady state of ICP dynamic systems is reflected as ICP pulses of similar mean ICP levels resembling each other for a given subject. A general framework was used to derive such a steady-state indicator that can accommodate different metrics of inter-pulse distance and different statistics of the distance histograms. In addition to conventional Euclidean distance and Pearson correlation, geodesic distance between pulses was introduced as a novel metric. These different ways of calculating steady-state indicators under the proposed framework were evaluated on three types of continuous ICP recordings: (1) those between two consecutive brain imaging studies that demonstrated acute ventricular enlargement for slit ventricle syndrome (SVS) patients undergoing a trial of shunt externalization and clamping (SVS+); (2) those between consecutive brain imaging studies from the SVS patients under the same trial but without ventricular enlargement (SVS-); (3) overnight recordings from normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) patients. It was observed that only the standard deviation of geodesic distance correctly differentiated between SVS+ and SVS- and between SVS+ and NPH while avoiding discriminating between SVS- and NPH. It was also found that 45% SVS+ cases had a multimodal geodesic distance histogram while none of SVS- and 3.8% of NPH cases had such a multimodal histogram. Pulses with a large number of distant pulses for the five multimodal-histogram SVS+ cases fell in short time windows indicating that acute ventricular changes may have occurred in these confined time windows during which no significant changes of mean ICP were observed. In contrast, the pulses with a large number of distant pulses for the two multimodal-histogram NPH cases did not cluster temporally. In conclusion, the geodesic inter-pulse distance is a promising metric to quantify distance intrinsic to the underneath geometric structure of ICP signals and hence is a more suitable way to derive a steady-state indicator of an ICP dynamic system.

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