Traumatic Brain Injury A to Z - Intracranial Pressure (ICP)


Intracranial Pressure (ICP)

Secondary complications are conditions that develop over a period of hours to days after the traumatic brain injury occurs. Increased intracranial pressure is one example of a secondary complication.

It’s common for swelling and fluid build-up to occur after any part of the body is injured. In some cases, when the brain is injured, swelling occurs and fluid builds up inside the skull, or cranium. This is serious because there is no place for swollen tissues to expand and no adjoining tissues to absorb excess fluid. The higher pressure caused by the swelling of the brain inside the skull is referred to as increased intracranial pressure.

Medical personnel measure a patient’s intracranial pressure, or ICP, using a probe or catheter. The instrument is inserted into the brain through a hole drilled into the skull, and is connected to a monitor that registers the patient's ICP.

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