Brain damage in non-missile head injury secondary to high intracranial pressure

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. May-Jun 1987;13(3):209-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.1987.tb00184.x.


A comprehensive neuropathological analysis was undertaken on 434 patients who died as a result of a non-missile head injury in order to determine the frequency and extent of brain damage secondary to high intracranial pressure (ICP) in head injury. Using the criterion of pressure necrosis in the parahippocampal gyrus as evidence of high ICP due to a supratentorial expanding lesion, it was established that the ICP had been high in 324 cases. In 42 of these there was no other brain damage attributable to a high ICP. There was evidence of secondary brain stem damage in 221 cases and in 44 of these the damage could be seen only microscopically. In 54 cases there was a contralateral peduncular lesion. Other abnormalities were infarction in the territories of various arteries and in the anterior lobe of the pituitary. There was a supracallosal hernia in 80 cases and haemorrhage in the oculomotor nerves in 48 cases. These results further emphasise the frequency and range of brain damage due to secondary vascular factors brought about by high ICP in a patient who has sustained a head injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Concussion / etiology
  • Brain Concussion / pathology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Brain Edema / pathology
  • Brain Edema / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematoma, Subdural / etiology
  • Hematoma, Subdural / pathology
  • Hematoma, Subdural / physiopathology
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracranial Pressure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged