ICP stands for Intracranial Pressure and refers to the amount of pressure within the cranium at any one time. Although ICP fluctuates on a daily basis, if allowed to increase severely, it will result in long term brain injury and death. Common causes of a severe raise in ICP includes: traumatic head injuries, drug use (particularly amphetamines), cerebral infections, and stroke.
Early Signs of Raised ICP
These are some common signs and symptoms of a raised ICP
1. Headache -particularly bad, and prollonged
2. Nausea and vomiting
3. Blurred vission
Late Signs of a Raised ICP
4. Pupilary changes (as a result of increased pressure on the 3rd occular motory nerve which changes the size of pupils) – this will result in uneven pupil sizes, fixed dilated pupils, any many other irregularities of pupils.
5. Respiratory changes, include cheyne stokes
6. Widening Pulse Pressure
8. Swollen fontanelle (in young children)
9. Signs of Cushing’s Triad: Bradycardiac, Widening Pulse Pressure, and Respiratory Changes, which indicate late signs of raised intracranial pressure.
Signs of a Raised ICP in Paediatrics
Signs of raised ICP in children are fundamentally the same for adults, with the following addional signs. These include:
1. Children become quieter than ussual
2. Baby’s stop tracking movement with their eyes
3. In young children, their fontanelles (undeveloped sutures in the cranium) appear swollen and bulging