How is intracranial pressure monitored
Intracranial pressure is pressure in the skull. Intracranial pressure monitoring allows your health care provider to measure and observe the pressure and any pressure changes inside the skull. Monitoring happens after a brain injury that causes the brain to swell. It helps to guide treatment.
Monitoring happens at the hospital, often in the intensive care unit (ICU).
There are three main ways to check intracranial pressure:
- Putting a thin, flexible tube (catheter) through a drilled hole into one of the fluid-filled spaces (ventricles) in the brain.
- Putting a small pressure sensor inside a drilled hole in the skull.
- Putting a hollow screw or bolt in the space between the brain, its coverings, and the skull.
What are the risks?
Generally, intracranial pressure monitoring is safe. However, problems may occur, depending on the type of procedure you have:
- Allergic reaction to medicines.
- Damage to other structures or organs.
- Procedure failure. This means that your health care provider is not able to complete the procedure, or the procedure does not work.
- Brain tissue injury that causes lasting problems.
What happens if intracranial pressure is high?
An increase in intracranial pressure can be life-threatening. If pressure is high, the brain may not work as well as it did before your injury. If intracranial pressure rises higher than your blood pressure, blood will stop flowing to the brain. This can cause brain tissue death.
If intracranial pressure is high, your health care provider can drain the fluid around the brain (cerebrospinal fluid). If the catheter or screw or bolt method is used, the fluid can be removed during monitoring.
- Intracranial pressure monitoring happens after a brain injury that causes the brain to swell. It helps to guide treatment.
- There are three main ways to check intracranial pressure, and they involve a thin, flexible tube (catheter), a pressure sensor, or a hollow screw or bolt.
- An increase in intracranial pressure can be life-threatening.