Quantitative analysis of continuous intracranial pressure recordings in symptomatic patients with extracranial shunts

Elde, P. K.
February 2003
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry;Feb2003, Vol. 74 Issue 2, p231
Academic Journal
Objectives: To explore the outcome of management of possible shunt related symptoms using intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, and to identify potential methodological limitations with the current strategies of ICP assessment. Methods: The distribution of persistent symptoms related to extracranial shunt treatment was compared before and after management of shunt failure in 69 consecutive hydrocephalic cases. Management was heavily based on ICP monitoring (calculation of mean ICP and visual determination of plateau waves). After the end of patient management, all ICP curves were re-evaluated using a quantitative method and software (Sensometricsâ„¢ pressure analyser). The ICP curves were presented as a matrix of numbers of ICP elevations (20 to 35 mm Hg) or depressions (-10 to -5 mm Hg) of different durations (0.5, 1, or 5 minutes). The numbers of ICP elevations/depressions standardised to 1 0 hours recording time were calculated to allow comparisons of ICP between individuals. Results: After ICP monitoring and management of the putative shunt related symptoms, the symptoms remained unchanged in as many as 58% of the cases, with the highest percentages in those patients with ICP considered normal or too low at the time of ICP monitoring. The quantitative analysis revealed a high frequency of ICP elevations (20 to 35 mm Hg lasting 0.5 to 1 minute) and ICP depressions (-10 to -5 mm Hg lasting 0.5, 1, or 5 minutes), particularly in patients with ICP considered normal. Conclusions: The value of continuous ICP monitoring with ICP analysis using current criteria appears doubtful in the management of possible shunt related symptoms. This may reflect limitations in the strategies of ICP analysis. Calculation of the exact numbers of ICP elevations and depressions may provide a more accurate description of the ICP profile.


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