Catecholamines and paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity after traumatic brain injury

Juan F. Fernandez-Ortega*, Ian J. Baguley, Thomas A. Gates, Manuel Garcia-Caballero, Juan G. Quesada-Garcia, Miguel A. Prieto-Palomino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity (PSH) affects a significant minority of people in the intensive care unit after severe traumatic brain injury. Systematic research has yet to elucidate or quantify the extent of the role of the catecholamines or adrenocortical and thyroid axis hormonal influences in the condition. Data were prospectively collected on 80 consecutive patients, 18 of whom developed clinical signs of PSH (22.5%). Catecholamine and hormonal data were collected sequentially at 4-h intervals or during and between episodes of PSH. Evaluated variables showed 200-300% increases in catecholamines and, to a lesser extent, adrenocortical hormones during paroxysms. The majority of PSH episodes (72%) were noted to be in response to an observable triggering event. These changes were not observed in subjects without PSH. These data go some way to explain why PSH produces adverse consequences in survivors of TBI with the condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • catecholamines
  • cortisol
  • hormonal influences
  • paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity
  • traumatic brain injury


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