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Am Surg. 1995 Jan;61(1):24-9.

Aggressive use of ICP monitoring is safe and alters patient care.

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Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.



To identify complications and interventions resulting from fiberoptic ICP monitoring in a large series of patients with closed head injury (CHI).


Level I trauma center/Consecutive case series.


Of 11,962 consecutive trauma admissions from 1984-1991, 279 patients underwent fiberoptic ICP monitoring for CHI. We identified the last 100 consecutive blunt trauma patients who had received ICP monitoring. Ninety-eight of these patients had charts available and constitute the study group. We examined mortality, Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), and admission CT findings for the group. Indications, interventions, and complications (bleeding, meningitis, and wound infections) associated with ICP monitoring were identified.


Mortality for the group was 24%. Reasons for ICP monitoring included GCS < or = 8 and/or abnormal CT findings; 83% had GCS < or = 8. Admission CT findings included subarachnoid hemorrhage (48%), intracerebral hemorrhage (47%), edema (31%), intraventricular hemorrhage (20%), subdural hematoma (18%), and epidural hematoma (9%). Eighty-one per cent of patients had interventions based on ICP monitoring: osmolar therapy (81%), emergency CT (22%), surgical decompression (3%), or pentobarbital coma (2%). No complications resulted from ICP monitoring. Mean duration of monitoring was 4 days (maximum 13 days). Twenty patients (20%) required two or more monitors. Reasons for placing a second monitor included duration > 5 days (50%), questionable accuracy (20%), and accidental removal of the first monitor (10%).


1) Fiberoptic intracranial pressure monitoring leads to specific interventions in the majority of patients. 2) The procedure is safe. 3) Prospective studies are needed to determine the impact of coagulopathy on the safety of fiberoptic intracranial pressure monitoring and to define those factors responsible for the low infection rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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