Monitoring of intracranial compliance: correction for a change in body position

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1999;141(1):31-6; discussion 35-6. doi: 10.1007/s007010050263.


The objectives of our study were 1. to investigate whether the intracranial compliance changes with body position; 2. to test if the pressure-volume index (PVI) calculation is affected by different body positions; 3. to define the optimal parameter to correct PVI for changes in body position and 4. to investigate the physiological meaning of the constant term (P0) in the model of the intracranial volume-pressure relationship. Thirteen patients were included in this study. All patients were subjected to 2 to 3 different body positions. In each position, either classic bolus injection was performed for measurement of intracranial compliance and calculation of PVI or the new Spiegelberg compliance monitor was used to calculate PVI continuously. Four different models were used for calculating the constant pressure term P0 and the P0 corrected PVI values. Pressure volume index not corrected for the constant term P0 significantly decreased with elevating the patients head (r = 0.70, p < 0.0001). In contrast, volume-pressure response and ICP pulse amplitude did not change with position. Using the constant term P0 to correct the PVI we found no changes between the different body positions. Our results suggest that during the variation in body position there is no change in intracranial compliance but a change in hydrostatic offset pressure which causes a shifting of the volume-pressure curve along the pressure axis without its shape being affected. PVI measurements should either be performed only with the patient in the 0 degree recumbent position or that the PVI calculation should be corrected for the hydrostatic difference between the level of the ICP transducer and the hydrostatic indifference point of the craniospinal system close to the third thoracic vertebra.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology
  • Female
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Hydrostatic Pressure
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Sodium Chloride


  • Sodium Chloride