Intracranial pressure changes in brain-injured patients requiring positive end-expiratory pressure ventilation

K. J. Burchiel, T. D. Steege, A. R. Wyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


In 16 patients with severe head injury and 2 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) ventilation was required to maintain adequate oxygenation. The effects of PEEP on intracranial pressure (ICP) were evaluated with respect to the volume-pressure response (VPR), an indicator of intracranial compliance, and the static lung compliance (C(L)). Based on these parameters: (a) all 11 patients with an abnormal VPR (< 2 torr) had no significant change in ICP with PEEP therapy. (b) All 5 patients with an abnormal VPR and a normal C(L) (> 30 ml/cm H2O) had significantly increased ICP or decreased cerebral perfusion pressure while on PEEP. (c) Two patients with both an abnormal VPR and a decreased C(L) had no significant change in their ICP with PEEP. (d) Significant elevations of ICP were also seen in 4 patients with abnormal VPRs concurrent with the rapid reduction or withdrawal of PEEP ventilation. Thus, the VPR is an accurate predictor of the effects of PEEP on the ICP. In addition, however, decreased lung compliance may buffer these effects in patients who have decreased intracranial compliance. We propose that ICP monitoring and intracranial compliance determination are necessary in the management of brain-injury patients requiring PEEP ventilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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