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New nonsurgical method being developed to monitor intracranial blood pressure

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to increased pressure inside the skull, which can cause further brain damage by direct damage to nerve cells and by impeding the flow of oxygen to brain cells. Up to now, the monitoring of intra cranial pressure had had to be done by drilling a hole in the patient’s brain and inserting a monitoring device.

A new nonsurgical method for monitoring brain pressure is described in an article appearing in the April 11 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.   

This new method is much less invasive and may enable doctors to measure brain pressure in patients who have milder head injuries, but would benefit from close monitoring.  While still in the study phase the new method is based on a computer model of how blood flows through the brain. The researchers found that they can calculate brain pressure from two less-invasive measurements: arterial blood pressure and an ultrasound measurement of how quickly blood flows through the brain.  This approach enables changes in brain pressure to be monitored over time so that doctors can detect problems that might develop gradually, the researchers said.



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