Review: pathophysiology of intracranial hypertension and noninvasive intracranial pressure monitoring

Fluids Barriers CNS. 2020 Jun 23;17(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12987-020-00201-8.


Measurement of intracranial pressure (ICP) is crucial in the management of many neurological conditions. However, due to the invasiveness, high cost, and required expertise of available ICP monitoring techniques, many patients who could benefit from ICP monitoring do not receive it. As a result, there has been a substantial effort to explore and develop novel noninvasive ICP monitoring techniques to improve the overall clinical care of patients who may be suffering from ICP disorders. This review attempts to summarize the general pathophysiology of ICP, discuss the importance and current state of ICP monitoring, and describe the many methods that have been proposed for noninvasive ICP monitoring. These noninvasive methods can be broken down into four major categories: fluid dynamic, otic, ophthalmic, and electrophysiologic. Each category is discussed in detail along with its associated techniques and their advantages, disadvantages, and reported accuracy. A particular emphasis in this review will be dedicated to methods based on the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound. At present, it appears that the available noninvasive methods are either not sufficiently accurate, reliable, or robust enough for widespread clinical adoption or require additional independent validation. However, several methods appear promising and through additional study and clinical validation, could eventually make their way into clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Pressure / physiology*
  • Neurophysiological Monitoring* / adverse effects
  • Neurophysiological Monitoring* / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial* / methods