Object: Slow and rhythmic oscillations in intracranial pressure (ICP), also known as B waves, have been claimed to be one of the best preoperative predictive factors in idiopathic adult hydrocephalus syndrome (IAHS). Definitions of B waves vary widely, and previously reported results must be treated with caution. The aims of the present study were to develop a definition of B waves, to develop a method to estimate the B-wave content in an ICP recording by using computer algorithms, and to validate these procedures by comparison with the traditional visual interpretation.
Methods: In eight patients with IAHS, ICP was continuously monitored for approximately 20 hours. The ICP B-wave activity as a percentage of total monitoring time (B%) was estimated by using visual estimation according to the definition given by Lundberg, and also by using two computer algorithms (Methods I and II). In Method I each individual wave was classified as a B wave or not, whereas Method II was used to estimate the B-wave content by evaluating the B-wave power in 10-minute blocks of ICP recordings.
Conclusions: The two computerized algorithms produced similar results. However, with the amplitude set to 1 mm Hg, Method I yielded the highest correlation with the visual analysis (r = 0.74). At least 5 hours of monitoring time was needed for an acceptable approximation of the B% in an overnight ICP recording. The advantages of using modern technology in the analysis of B-wave content of ICP are obvious and these methods should be used in future studies.