Purpose of review
This review will highlight the state-of-the-art in brain monitoring in neurointensive care and define methods of integrating this technology into patient care using telemedicine methods.
Several new methods of brain monitoring have been established over the last several years including continuous EEG monitoring, brain tissue oxygenation, jugular venous oxygenation, and cerebral microdialysis. Observational research using these monitors has documented that the brain metabolism, blood flow and function are dynamic after a primary insult. The dynamic nature of the brain can predispose the brain to secondary insults that can occur in the setting of intensive care. Several variables of brain metabolism and function can be monitored and directly impact treatment decisions as well as provide diagnostic and prognostic information. General treatment guidelines for brain injury and brain hemorrhage were developed, in part, prior to implementation of use of these monitors, and there is a trend away from adoption of a one-size-fits-all approach and a trend towards monitor-guided therapy. Dealing with the data provided by multimodality monitoring can be overwhelming. Efficient use of such information requires methods to integrate diverse sets of information, and methods to access the online monitoring information remotely and at any time, day or night. Such remote access integration methods will be reviewed.
Multimodality and telemedicine techniques have advanced the state of knowledge about brain function in critically ill patients, and are presently being implemented to direct therapy. Increasing complexity of care will become commonplace, but will be facilitated by computer-enhanced tools that permit the intensivist to integrate this information into an improved treatment regimen.