Background : Apnea and catecholamine surge have been known sequelae in the first few minutes of postexperimentally induced severe head injury for over a century. However, the intracranial pressure (ICP) response to these two pathophysiologic processes is poorly understood.
Methods : We used the rat fluid percussion head injury model to study apnea and catecholamine surge separately and in combination on measured ICP response.
Results : The three experimental groups of apnea, hypertensive surge, and both combined revealed significantly different ICP responses with markedly elevated pressures correlating closely with mean arterial blood pressure.
Conclusion : ICP and mean arterial blood pressure correlate closely in the first few minutes after head injury in the absence of space-occupying hematomas, and may initiate pathophysiologic sequelae that can only be treated by earlier medical intervention at the scene.