Brain Tissue Oxygenation in Traumatic Brain Injury : Experimental and Clinical Studies

Abstract: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability. TBI is frequently followed by cerebral ischemia which is a great contributor to secondary brain damage. The main causes of cerebral ischemia are pathophysiological changes in cerebral blood flow and metabolism. Treatment of TBI patients is currently based on intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) targeted treatment protocols. However, ICP and CPP alone do not provide information of the oxygen availability in the brain. Monitoring of brain tissue oxygenation (BtipO2) may give additional and valuable information about the risk for development of ischemia in TBI patients.The aims of this thesis were to study BtipO2 monitoring devices in-vitro regarding accuracy and stability, to detect threshold level of cerebral ischemia in-vivo and finally to examine the cerebral oxygen levels and cerebral metabolism in TBI patients.The BtipO2 probes performed with high accuracy and stability at different clinically relevant oxygen concentrations.A pig TBI model was developed by step-wise intracranial volume/pressure increase. Volume increase resulted in a gradual increased ICP, decreased CPP, intracranial compliance and BtipO2, respectively. Brain death (BD) was confirmed by negative CPP and negligible amount of previously injected microspheres in the brain tissue. The model simulated the clinical development of BD in humans with a classical pressure-volume response and systemic cardiovascular reactions. The model should be suitable for studies of brain injury mechanisms.From the same in-vivo model it was also possible to detect the threshold level of cerebral ischemia in the pig, where BtipO2 below 10 mmHg and CPP below 30 mmHg was associated with an impaired cerebral metabolism (microdialysis lactate to pyruvate ratio >30).BtipO2 together with cerebral microdialysis were studied in 23 severe TBI patients. We observed different patterns of changes in BtipO2 and cerebral microdialysis biomarkers in focal and diffuse TBI.  Increased cerebral microdialysis levels of glutamate, glycerol or the lactate/pyruvate ratio were observed at BtipO2 < 5 mmHg, indicating increased vulnerability of the brain at this critical level of tissue oxygenation in TBI patients.