Intracranial Pressure Dynamics in Patients with Acute Brain Damage: A Critical Analysis with the Aid of a Mathematical Model

Mauro Ursino, Maurizio Iezzi, Nino Stocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The time pattern of intracranial pressure (ICP) in response to typical clinical tests (i.e., bolus injection and bolus withdrawal of 1 to 4 mL of saline in the craniospinal space) was studied in 18 patients with acute brain damage by means of a mathematical model. The model includes the main biomechanical factors assumed to affect intracranial pressure, particularly cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics, intracranial compliance, and cerebral hemodynamics. Best fitting between model simulation curves and clinical tracings was achieved using the Powell minimization algorithm and a least-square criterion function. The simulation results demonstrate that, in most patients, the ICP time pattern cannot be explained merely on the basis of CSF dynamics but also requires consideration of the contribution of cerebral hemodynamics and blood volume alterations. In particular, only in a few patients (about 40% of total) the ICP monotonically returns toward baseline following the clinical maneuver. In most of the examined cases (about 60%), ICP exhibits an anomalous response to the same maneuver, characterized by a delayed increase after bolus injection and a delayed decrease after withdrawal. The model is able to explain these responses, imputing them to active intracranial blood volume changes induced by mechanisms controlling cerebral blood flow. Finally, the role of the main intracranial biomechanical parameters in the genesis of the ICP time pattern is discussed and a comparison with previous theoretical studies performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-540
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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