Does Tracheal Lidocaine Instillation Reduce Intracranial Pressure Changes After Tracheal Suctioning in Severe Head Trauma? A Prospective, Randomized Crossover Study

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2019 Apr;20(4):365-371. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001817.


Objectives: Tracheal suctioning is a routine procedure in mechanically ventilated children, however, in severe head-injured patients it can result in potential deleterious increase in intracranial pressure. We aimed to assess the effect of tracheal lidocaine administration on intracranial pressure during tracheal suctioning.

Design: Prospective randomized controlled crossover study.

Setting: PICU of a tertiary hospital.

Patients: Eleven patients with severe head trauma (Glasgow Coma Scale score 4-8) INTERVENTIONS:: Lidocaine (1.5 mg/kg) or saline solution was endotracheally instilled before a standardized tracheal suctioning maneuver. Each patient received both treatments in a crossover design. Cerebral hemodynamic and systemic and ventilatory effects were assessed at four time points: in baseline (T0), within 2 minutes (T1), 5 minutes (T2), and 15 minutes after tracheal instillation (T3). The 2-minute time interval around tracheal suctioning was used to assess each treatment efficacy MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:: The time course of intracranial pressure was different throughout the study in both treatment groups, with a significant increase of intracranial pressure from 14.82 ± 3.48 to 23.27 ± 9.06 with lidocaine (p = 0.003) and from 14.73 ± 2.41 to 30.45 ± 13.14 with saline (p = 0.02). The mean variation in intracranial pressure immediately after tracheal suctioning was smaller with lidocaine instillation than saline (8.45 vs 15.72 mm Hg; p = 0.006). Patients treated with lidocaine returned to baseline intracranial pressure value at 5 minutes after tracheal suctioning whereas those receiving saline solution returned to baseline intracranial pressure value at 15 minutes. Although patients treated with lidocaine had no significant hemodynamic changes, patients receiving saline solution experienced a higher mean value of mean arterial pressure (99.36 vs 81.73 mm Hg; p = 0.004) at T1.

Conclusions: This preliminary study showed that tracheal lidocaine instillation can attenuate increase in intracranial pressure induced by tracheal suctioning and favor a faster return to the intracranial pressure baseline levels without significant hemodynamic and ventilatory changes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / organization & administration
  • Intracranial Pressure / drug effects*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Suction / methods*
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Lidocaine