Intracranial Pressure Monitoring (ICP)
What is ICP (intracranial pressure) monitoring?
ICP is used to measure pressure in the head and determine treatment. Pressure is affected by the amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. The CSF cushions the brain and spinal cord. If there is too much CSF, the pressure (ICP) increases. High ICP can be a result of brain swelling after surgery or after a brain injury.
Symptoms of increased pressure include:
• Feeling sleepy
• Decrease in appetite
• Blurred or double vision
• “Sunset eyes” (eyes which only look down)
How is the ICP monitor placed?
If needed, the patient will be put to sleep, or sedated while the monitor is placed. In some cases, we will use medicine to relax the patient while the monitor is placed. The skin is numbed. A small incision is made in the front of the scalp. Then, a small hole is drilled into the skull. The ICP sensing device is placed a short distance next to the brain. A bandage keeps the device in place. The pressure is watched and recorded by the nurses. You will stay in the ICU during this time.
Before the monitor is placed
• The ICU staff will complete a health history. Do an exam. Place an IV and
obtain blood work.
• You will need to sign a consent form for the ICP monitoring to occur.
• You will receive antibiotics while the ICP monitor is in place.
After the monitor is placed
• If you have pain, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) will be
• When the device is removed, one or two staples or stitches are used to close
• The staples or stitches will be removed in 7-10 days in the clinic.
• Keep the incision clean and dry for 3 days.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/17/2012
Copyright © 09/17/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7423
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