Journal of Neurosurgery vol:79 issue:5 pages:705-9
To determine the catecholamine response to progressive intracranial hypertension, intracranial pressure (ICP) was raised gradually by continuous expansion of an epidural balloon in seven dogs. Hemodynamic parameters, ICP, and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) were monitored continuously and serum catecholamine levels began to rise when CPP was in the low-positive range (20 to 30 mm Hg), reaching a peak just after brain death (CPP < or = o mm Hg). There was no correlation between ICP and the catecholamine peak. Compared to control values, the mean increase was 286-fold for epinephrine and 78-fold for norepinephrine. Temporally, the catecholamine peak corresponded well with the observed hemodynamic changes. These results suggest that ischemia in certain parts of the brain stem is responsible for the hemodynamic changes observed in intracranial hypertension (such as the Cushing response), and they show that catecholamines play an important role in these hemodynamic changes.