The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of hyperventilation or hyperoxia on cerebral hemodynamic parameters over time in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). We prospectively studied 186 patients with severe TBI. CO2 and O2 reactivity tests were conducted twice a day on days 1–5 and once daily on days 6–10 after injury. During hyperventilation there was a significant decrease in intracranial pressure (ICP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), jugular venous oxygen saturation (Sjvo2), brain tissue Po2 (Pbto2), and flow velocity (FV). During hyperoxia there was an increase in Sjvo2 and Pbto2, and a small but consistent decrease in ICP, end-tidal carbon dioxide (etco2), partial arterial carbon dioxide pressure (Paco2), and FV. Brain tissue oxygen reactivity during the first 12h after injury averaged 19.7±3.0%, and slowly decreased over the next 7 days. The autoregulatory index (ARI; normal=5.3±1.3) averaged 2.2±1.5 on day 1 post-injury, and gradually improved over the 10 days of monitoring. The ARI significantly improved during hyperoxia, by an average of 0.4±1.8 on the left, and by 0.5±1.8 on the right. However, the change in ARI with hyperoxia was much smaller than that observed with hyperventilation. Hyperventilation increased ARI by an average of 1.3±1.9 on the left, and 1.5±2.0 on the right. Pressure autoregulation, as assessed by dynamic testing, was impaired in these head-injured patients. Acute hyperoxia significantly improved pressure autoregulation, although the effect was smaller than that induced by hyperventilation. The very small change in Paco2 induced by hyperoxia does not appear to explain this finding. Rather, the vasoconstriction induced by acute hyperoxia may allow the cerebral vessels to respond better to transient hypotension. Further studies are needed to define the clinical significance of these observations.
Key words: cerebral autoregulation, hyperoxia, hyperventilation, traumatic brain injury