The pressure reactivity index as a measure of cerebral autoregulation and its application in traumatic brain injury management

Zac A. Tsigaras, Mark Weeden, Robert McNamara, Toby Jeffcote, Andrew A. Udy, the PRECISION-TBI Investigators, Shailesh Bihari

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Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. The Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines advocate for the maintenance of a cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) between 60 and 70 mmHg following severe TBI. However, such a uniform goal does not account for changes in cerebral autoregulation (CA). CA refers to the complex homeostatic mechanisms by which cerebral blood flow is maintained, despite variations in mean arterial pressure and intracranial pressure. Disruption to CA has become increasingly recognised as a key mediator of secondary brain injury following severe TBI. The pressure reactivity index is calculated as the degree of statistical correlation between the slow wave components of mean arterial pressure and intracranial pressure signals and is a validated dynamic marker of CA status following brain injury. The widespread acceptance of pressure reactivity index has precipitated the consideration of individualised CPP targets or an optimal cerebral perfusion pressure (CPPopt). CPPopt represents an alternative target for cerebral haemodynamic optimisation following severe TBI, and early observational data suggest improved neurological outcomes in patients whose CPP is more proximate to CPPopt. The recent publication of a prospective randomised feasibility study of CPPopt guided therapy in TBI, suggests clinicians caring for such patients should be increasingly familiar with these concepts. In this paper, we present a narrative review of the key landmarks in the development of CPPopt and offer a summary of the evidence for CPPopt-based therapy in comparison to current standards of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
  • Intensive Care
  • Trauma
  • Trauma care delivery
  • Traumatic brain injury


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