Intracranial pressure dynamics in patients with acute brain damage

M. Ursino, C. A. Lodi, S. Rossi, N. Stocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The time pattern of intracranial pressure (ICP) during pressure-volume index (PVI) tests was analyzed in 20 patients with severe acute brain damage by means of a simple mathematical model. In most cases, a satisfactory fitting between model response and patient data was achieved by adjusting only four parameters: the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) outflow resistance, the intracranial elastance coefficient, and the gain and time constant of cerebral autoregulation. The correlation between the parameter estimates was also analyzed to elucidate the main mechanisms responsible for ICP changes in each patient. Starting from information on the estimated parameter values and their correlation, the patients were classified into two main classes: those with weak autoregulation (8 of 20 patients) and those with strong autoregulation (12 of 20 patients). In the first group of patients, ICP mainly reflects CSF circulation and passive cerebral blood volume changes. In the second group, ICP exhibits paradoxical responses attributable to active changes in cerebral blood volume. Moreover, in two patients of the second group, the time constant of autoregulation is significantly increased (>40 s). The correlation between the parameter estimates was significantly different in the two groups of patients, suggesting the existence of different mechanisms responsible for ICP changes. Moreover, analysis of the correlation between the parameter estimates might give information on the directions of parameter changes that have a greater impact on ICP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1282
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • cerebral autoregulation
  • intracranial dynamics
  • mathematical modeling
  • pressure-volume index tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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