Burst Suppression for ICP Control: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background:

The goal of our study was to perform a systematic review of the literature to determine the effect that burst suppression has on intracranial pressure (ICP) control.

Methods:

All articles from MEDLINE, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Global Health, Scopus, Cochrane Library, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (inception to January 2015), reference lists of relevant articles, and gray literature were searched. The strength of evidence was adjudicated using both the Oxford and the Grading of Recommendation Assessment Development and Education (GRADE) methodology.

Results:

Seven articles were considered for review. A total of 108 patients were studied, all receiving burst suppression therapy. Two studies failed to document a decrease in ICP with burst suppression therapy. There were reports of severe hypotension and increased infection rates with barbiturate-based therapy. Etomidate-based suppressive therapy was linked to severe renal dysfunction.

Conclusions:

There currently exists both Oxford level 2b and GRADE C evidence to support that achieving burst suppression reduces ICP, and also has no effect on ICP, in severe traumatic brain injury. The literature suggests burst suppression therapy may be useful for ICP reduction in certain cases, although these situations are currently unclear. In addition, the impact on patient functional outcome is unclear. Further prospective study is warranted.

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