Indexed on: 17 Jan '02Published on: 17 Jan '02Published in: Journal of neurosurgery
Recently, concern has been raised that hyperventilation following severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) could lead to cerebral ischemia. In acute ischemic stroke, in which the baseline metabolic rate is normal, reduction in cerebral blood flow (CBF) below a threshold of 18 to 20 ml/100 g/min is associated with energy failure. In severe TBI, however, the metabolic rate of cerebral oxygen (CMRO2) is low. The authors previously reported that moderate hyperventilation lowered global hemispheric CBF to 25 ml/100 g/min but did not alter CMRO2. In the present study they sought to determine if hyperventilation lowers CBF below the ischemic threshold of 18 to 20 ml/100 g/ min in any brain region and if those reductions cause energy failure (defined as a fall in CMRO2).Two groups of patients were studied. The moderate hyperventilation group (nine patients) underwent hyperventilation to PaCO2 of 30 +/- 2 mm Hg early after TBI, regardless of intracranial pressure (ICP). The severe hyperventilation group (four patients) underwent hyperventilation to PaCO2 of 25 +/- 2 mm Hg 1 to 5 days postinjury while ICP was elevated (20-30 mm Hg). The ICP, mean arterial blood pressure, and jugular venous O2 content were monitored, and cerebral perfusion pressure was maintained at 70 mm Hg or higher by using vasopressors when needed. All data are given as the mean +/- standard deviation unless specified otherwise. The moderate hyperventilation group was studied 11.2 +/- 1.6 hours (range 8-14 hours) postinjury, the admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 5.6 +/- 1.8, the mean age was 27 +/- 9 years, and eight of the nine patients were men. In the severe hyperventilation group, the admission GCS score was 4.3 +/- 1.5, the mean age was 31 +/- 6 years, and all patients were men. Positron emission tomography measurements of regional CBF, cerebral blood volume, CMRO2, and oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) were obtained before and during hyperventilation. In all 13 patients an automated search routine was used to identify 2.1-cm spherical nonoverlapping regions with CBF values below thresholds of 20, 15, and 10 ml/ 100 g/min during hyperventilation, and the change in CMRO2 in those regions was determined. In the regions in which CBF was less than 20 ml/100 g/min during hyperventilation, it fell from 26 +/- 6.2 to 13.7 +/- 1 ml/ 100 g/min (p < 0.0001), OEF rose from 0.31 to 0.59 (p < 0.0001), and CMRO2 was unchanged (1.12 +/- 0.29 compared with 1.14 +/- 0.03 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.8). In the regions in which CBF was less than 15 ml/100 g/min during hyperventilation, it fell from 23.3 +/- 6.6 to 11.1 +/- 1.2 ml/100 g/min (p < 0.0001), OEF rose from 0.31 to 0.63 (p < 0.0001), and CMRO2 was unchanged (0.98 +/- 0.19 compared with 0.97 +/- 0.23 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.92). In the regions in which CBF was less than 10 ml/100 g/min during hyperventilation, it fell from 18.2 +/- 4.5 to 8.1 +/- 0 ml/100 g/min (p < 0.0001), OEF rose from 0.3 to 0.71 (p < 0.0001), and CMRO2 was unchanged (0.78 +/- 0.26 compared with 0.84 +/- 0.32 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.64).After severe TBI, brief hyperventilation produced large reductions in CBF but not energy failure, even in regions in which CBF fell below the threshold for energy failure defined in acute ischemia. Oxygen metabolism was preserved due to the low baseline metabolic rate and compensatory increases in OEF; thus, these reductions in CBF are unlikely to cause further brain injury.