Intracranial pressure monitoring in intensive care: Clinical advantages of a computerized system over manual recording

Elisa Roncati Zanier, Fabrizio Ortolano, Laura Ghisoni, Angelo Colombo, Sabina Losappio, Nino Stocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The presence of intracranial hypertension (HICP) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects patient outcome. Intracranial pressure (ICP) data from electronic monitoring equipment are usually calculated and recorded hourly in the clinical chart by trained nurses. Little is known, however, about how precisely this method reflects the real patterns of ICP after severe TBI. In this study, we compared hourly manual recording with a validated and continuous computerized reference standard. Methods: Thirty randomly selected patients with severe TBI and HICP admitted to the neuroscience intensive care unit (Policlinico University Hospital, Milan, Italy) were retrospectively studied. A 24-hour interval with ICP monitoring was randomly selected for each patient. The manually recorded data available for analysis covered 672 hours corresponding to 36,492 digital data points. The two methods were evaluated using the correlation coefficient and the Bland and Altman method. We used the proportion test to analyze differences in the number of episodes of HICP (ICP <20 mm Hg) detected with the two methods and the paired t test to analyze differences in the percentage of time of HICP. Results: There was good agreement between the digitally collected ICP and the manual recordings of the end-hour values. Bland and Altman analysis confirmed a mean difference between the two methods of 0.05 mm Hg (standard deviation 3.66); 96% of data were within the limits of agreement (+7.37 and -7.28). The average percentages of time of ICP greater than 20 mm Hg were 39% calculated from the digital measurements and 34% from the manual observations. From the continuous digital recording, we identified 351 episodes of ICP greater than 20 mm Hg lasting at least five minutes and 287 similar episodes lasting at least ten minutes. Conversely, end-hour ICP of greater than 20 mm Hg was observed in only 204 cases using manual recording methods. Conclusion: Although manually recorded end-hour ICP accurately reflected the computerized end-hour and mean hour values, the important omission of a number of episodes of high ICP, some of long duration, results in a clinical picture that is not accurate or informative of the true pattern of unstable ICP in patients with TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR7
JournalCritical Care
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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