Intracranial Pressure Dynamics and Cerebral Vasomotor Reactivity in Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patient With Acute Encephalitis

Crit Care Explor. 2020 Aug 14;2(8):e0197. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000197. eCollection 2020 Aug.


We describe the intracranial pressure dynamics and cerebral vasomotor reactivity in a coronavirus disease 2019 patient with acute encephalitis treated with cerebrospinal fluid drainage and therapeutic plasma exchange.

Data sources: Coronavirus disease ICU, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.

Study selection: Case report.

Data extraction: Radiology, intracranial pressure, intracranial compliance (correlation between intracranial pressure amplitude and mean intracranial pressure), cerebral vasomotor reactivity (pressure reactivity index), arterial blood pressure, cerebrospinal fluid chemistry, and treatment.

Data synthesis: None.

Conclusions: This is the first reported case of intracranial pressure monitoring in a patient with acute encephalitis following coronavirus disease 2019. Intracranial pressure data exhibited a high incidence of plateau waves with intracranial pressure insults above 40 mm Hg that required cerebrospinal fluid drainage. Intracranial compliance was low, and pressure reactivity was intact. It is probable that the combination of low intracranial compliance and intact pressure autoregulation explain the high degree of plateau intracranial pressure waves and intracranial pressure variability. This case illustrates that it could be of value to consider intracranial pressure monitoring in selected coronavirus disease 2019 patients with suspicion of increased intracranial pressure to be able to confirm and treat intracranial hypertension if needed. In this patient, therapeutic plasma exchange was safe and efficacious as the level of neuroinflammation decreased and the patient regained consciousness.

Keywords: acute encephalitis; coronavirus disease 2019; intracranial compliance; intracranial pressure; pressure autoregulation; therapeutic plasma exchange.

Publication types

  • Case Reports