While intracranial pressure (ICP), arterial pressure and transcranial middle cerebral artery flow velocity (MCAFV) are often monitored in unconscious patients following stroke or head injury, the value of waveform indices has not been fully established. We retrospectively analysed the data of eight adults (aged 19-36 years) with closed head injury who had spontaneous and repeated episodes of elevated ICP (i.e. "plateau waves"). MCAFV was measured using transcranial Doppler, ICP using a Codman catheter and radial artery pressure using cannulation. Ascending aortic pressure (AAP) was generated from the radial artery using SphygmoCor TM. Cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) was calculated as AAP - ICP in the time domain. During the period of increased ICP, ICP and cerebral flow velocity amplitude increased significantly compared with the basal condition, while cerebral mean flow decreased. Amplitude of the secondary peak in ICP, AAP and MCAFV waveform became apparent. An increase in the amplitude of ICP, AAP and MCAFV waves can be attributed to the greater prominence of reflected waves from the lower body, which was apparent in pulse waveform analysis. Arterial vasodilators such as nitrates reduce reflected pressure waves from the lower body and, by decreasing the amplitude of AAP, ICP and MCAFV, may be as beneficial for the cerebral circulation as they are for the left ventricle of the heart.
- Central aortic pressure pulse
- Intracranial pressure
- Waveform analysis
- Pressure wave reflection