The effectiveness of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage in lowering high intracranial pressure (ICP) is well established in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recently, however, the use of external ventricular drains (EVDs) and ICP monitors in TBI has come under question. The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the effect of CSF drainage on brain tissue oxygenation (PbtO2). Using a multi-modality monitoring system, we continuously monitored PbtO2 and parenchymal ICP during CSF drainage events via a ventriculostomy in 40 patients with severe TBI. Measurements were time-locked continuous recordings on a Component Neuromonitoring System in a neuroscience intensive care unit. We further selected for therapeutic CSF drainage events initiated at ICP values above 25 mm Hg and analyzed the 4-min periods before and after drainage for the physiologic variables ICP, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), and PbtO2. We retrospectively identified 204 CSF drainage events for ICP EVD-opening values greater than 25 mm Hg in 23 patients. During the 4 min of opened EVD, ICP decreased by 5.7 ± 0.6 mm Hg, CPP increased by 4.1 ± 1.2 mm Hg, and PbtO2 increased by 1.15 ± 0.26 mm Hg. ICP, CPP, and PbtO2 all improved with CSF drainage at ICP EVD-opening values above 25 mm Hg. Although the average PbtO2 changes were small, a clinically significant change in PbtO2 of 5 mm Hg or greater occurred in 12% of CSF drainage events, which was correlated with larger decreases in ICP, displaying a complex relationship between ICP and PbtO2 that warrants further studies.
Keywords: brain tissue oxygenation; cerebrospinal fluid; traumatic brain injury.