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Favorable Outcome in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients With Impaired Cerebral Pressure Autoregulation When Treated at Low Cerebral Perfusion Pressure Levels

Johnson, Ulf MD; Nilsson, Pelle MD, PhD; Ronne-Engström, Elisabeth MD, PhD; Howells, Tim PhD; Enblad, Per MD, PhD

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182077313
Research-Human-Clinical Studies

BACKGROUND: Cerebral pressure autoregulation (CPA) is defined as the ability of the brain vasculature to maintain a constant blood flow over a range of different systemic blood pressures by means of contraction and dilatation.

OBJECTIVE: To study CPA in relation to physiological parameters, treatment, and outcome in a series of traumatic brain injury patients.

METHODS: In this prospective observational study, 44 male and 14 female patients (age, 15–72 years; mean, 38.7 years; Glasgow Coma Scale score, 4-13; median, 7) were analyzed. Patients were divided into groups on the basis of status of CPA (more pressure active vs more pressure passive) and level of cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP; low vs high CPP). The proportions of favorable outcome in the groups were assessed. Differences in physiological variables in the different groups were analyzed.

RESULTS: Patients with more impaired CPA treated at CPP levels below median had a significantly higher proportion of favorable outcome compared with patients with more impaired CPA treated at CPP levels above median. No significant difference in outcome was seen between patients with more intact CPA when divided by level of CPP. In patients with more impaired CPA, CPP < 50 mm Hg and CPP < 60 mm Hg were associated with favorable outcome, whereas CPP > 70 mm Hg and CPP > 80 mm Hg were associated with unfavorable outcome. In patients with more intact CPA, no difference in physiological variables was seen between patients with favorable and unfavorable outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Our results support that in traumatic brain injury patients with impaired CPA, CPP should not be elevated.

Author Information

Department of Neuroscience, Section of Neurosurgery, Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden

Received, September 18, 2009.

Accepted, August 16, 2010.

Correspondence: Ulf Johnson, MD, Department of Neuroscience, Section of Neurosurgery, Uppsala University Hospital, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons