Authors: Sandsmark DK, Sheth KN.
After brain injury, neurologic intensive care focuses on the detection and treatment of secondary brain insults that may compound the initial injury. Increased intracranial pressure (ICP) contributes to secondary brain injury by causing brain ischemia, hypoxia, and metabolic dysfunction. Because ICP is easily measured at the bedside, it is the target of numerous pharmacologic and surgical interventions in efforts to improve brain physiology and limit secondary injury. However, ICP may not adequately reflect the metabolic health of the underlying brain tissue, particularly in cases of focal brain injury. As a result, ICP control alone may be insufficient to impact patients' long-term recovery. Further studies are needed to better understand the combination of cerebral, hemodynamic, and metabolic markers that are best utilized to ensure optimal brain and systemic recovery and overall patient outcome after brain injury.