Changes in intracranial pressure associated with chest physiotherapy.
INTRODUCTION: Management of intracranial hypertension is pivotal in the care of brain-injured patients. SUMMARY OF CASE: We report the case of a patient with both a closed head injury and anoxic encephalopathy, who subsequently experienced episodes of refractory intracranial hypertension. The patient's care was complicated by the development of a pneumonia, which required frequent turning of the patient and chest physiotherapy. Conventional wisdom suggests that these interventions may stimulate the patient and worsen intracranial pressure, and therefore should be avoided. RESULTS: Our observations on this patient, however, contradict this belief. This single-subject study presents data to support the use of chest physiotherapy in patients at risk for intracranial hypertension. CONCLUSIONS: Further, the evidence is compelling that a randomized-controlled trial is indicated to test the hypothesis that chest physiotherapy may actually result in short-term resolution of high intracranial pressure, and thus provide one more clinical tool in the management of elevated intracranial pressure.
Olson, DM; Thoyre, SM; Turner, DA; Bennett, S; Graffagnino, C
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