Pneumocephalus (PNC) is a condition in which when air is trapped inside the intracranial vault. The causes are varied, but include trauma and intracranial surgery. Treatment of PNC typically consists of augmenting patient oxygenation with the attempt of washing out pulmonary nitrogen, creating a gradient in which nitrogen in the intracranial air bubble diffuses out of the lungs via the blood. Though several high flow methods have been tested, the ideal mode of oxygenation has not fully been investigated. Here we present 3 cases of post-operative PNC who we felt were symptomatic from PNC. With administration of high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC), all patients improved both clinically and radiographically within a few hours, faster than in both anecdotal experience and published trials. Due to its steady FiO2 administration, positive pressure, comfort, and low side-effect profile, HFNC may be the ideal mode of oxygen delivery in PNC. We present a review of the physiology of PNC and the characteristics of several oxygen delivery systems to build a case for HFNC in this disease process.
- Arterial oxygen partial pressure
- High-flow nasal cannula
- Oxygen therapy
- Tension pneumocephalus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine