Increased intracranial pressure can result in irreversible injury to the central nervous system. Among the many functions of the cerebrospinal fluid, it provides protection against acute changes in venous and arterial blood pressure or impact pressure. Nevertheless, trauma, tumors, infections, neurosurgical procedures, and other factors can cause increased intracranial pressure. Both surgical and nonsurgical therapeutic modalities can be used in the management of increased intracranial pressure attributable to traumatic and nontraumatic causes. In patients with cerebral injury and increased intracranial pressure, monitoring of the intracranial pressure can provide an objective measure of the response to therapy and the pressure dynamics. Intraventricular, intraparenchymal, subarachnoid, and epidural sites can be used for monitoring, and the advantages and disadvantages of the various devices available are discussed. With the proper understanding of the physiologic features of the cerebrospinal fluid, the physician can apply the management principles reviewed herein to minimize damage from intracranial hypertension.
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