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Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care:
Original Articles

Intracranial Pressure Response to Severe Head Injury Induced Apnea and Catecholamine Surge

Anderson, Robert E. BS; Atkinson, John L. D. MD, FACS

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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.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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