Cerebral blood flow (CBF) monitoring in intensive care by thermal diffusion.

L. P. Carter, M. E. Weinand, K. J. Oommen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Continuous monitoring of cortical blood flow (CoBF) in the intensive care unit is possible with thermal diffusion techniques. The normal brain flow limits have been established when electrical activity ceases and when infarction is likely to occur. With continuous monitoring of CoBF one can see immediate changes in flow and approaching these levels may be anticipated. The thermal diffusion system we have employed is based on the thermal conductivity of cortical tissue. As blood flow increases through the tissue, the conduction of energy away from the flow probe allows the sensor to detect changes in flow. This form of monitoring has been carried out in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, resection of cerebral mass lesions, severe craniotrauma, and intractable epilepsy. In subarachnoid hemorrhage, vasospasm can be identified and the efficacy of treatment determined with continuous monitoring of CoBF. During resection of mass lesions, increases in blood flow can be readily detected to document the recovery of brain tissue. Continuous monitoring of CoBF in epilepsy patients is now possible with the implantation of subdural electrodes. The increase in blood flow can be documented and it is apparent that a period of elevation of blood flow is quite short. Therefore, this may be helpful in determining when other forms of CBF determination, such as Single Photon Emission Computed Tomographic (SPECT) scanning should be performed. In patients with cranial trauma, different patterns of CoBF changes are apparent. Some patients may develop increased CoBF prior to elevation of intracranial pressure (ICP); other patients demonstrate a drop in CoBF as a response to increased ICP.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalActa neurochirurgica. Supplementum
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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