Factors affecting intracranial pressure: a descriptive study.
This study examined the effects of 365 occurrences on the intracranial pressure (ICP) of four patients with severe head injuries and a Glasgow Coma Score below five. The occurrences were in: 1) health care activities, 2) patient-initiated activities, and 3) environmental stimuli. The health care activities that increased intracranial pressure were suctioning, turning, and flexion of the head; decreases were realized by elevating the head of the bed and repositioning the patient. The patient-initiated activities that increased intracranial pressure were flexion of extremities, rotation of the neck, and coughing. In contrast to previous reports, environmental stimuli did not affect intracranial pressure and bathing increased it. Recommendations for nursing care include: turning patients more slowly to less acute angles; proper head/neck positioning; and more direct psychosocial interactions with families of patients who have low Glasgow Coma Scores.
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