Intracranial pressure, its components and cerebrospinal fluid pressure–volume compensation

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Abstract

Clinical measurement of intracranial pressure (ICP) is often performed to aid diagnosis of hydrocephalus. This review discusses analysis of ICP and its components' for the investigation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics. The role of pulse, slow and respiratory waveforms of ICP in diagnosis, prognostication and management of hydrocephalus is presented. Two methods related to ICP measurement are listed: an overnight monitoring of ICP and a constant-rate infusion study. Due to the dynamic nature of ICP, a ‘snapshot’ manometric measurement of ICP is of limited use as it might lead to unreliable results. Therefore, monitoring of ICP over longer time combined with analysis of its waveforms provides more detailed information on the state of pressure–volume compensation. The infusion study implements ICP signal processing and CSF circulation model analysis in order to assess the cerebrospinal dynamics variables, such as CSF outflow resistance, compliance of CSF space, pressure amplitude, reference pressure, and CSF formation. These parameters act as an aid tool in diagnosis and prognostication of hydrocephalus and can be helpful in the assessment of a shunt malfunction.

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