Inducing oscillations in positive end-expiratory pressure improves assessment of cerebrovascular pressure reactivity in patients with traumatic brain injury

Jeanette Tas, Kirsten D.J. Bos, Joost Le Feber, Erta Beqiri, Marek Czosnyka, Roel Haeren, Iwan C.C. van der Horst, Sander M.J. van Kuijk, Ulrich Strauch, Ken M. Brady, Peter Smielewski, Marcel J.H. Aries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The cerebral pressure reactivity index (PRx), through intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements, informs clinicians about the cerebral autoregulation (CA) status in adult-sedated patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Using PRx in clinical practice is currently limited by variability over shorter monitoring periods. We applied an innovative method to reduce the PRx variability by ventilator-induced slow (1/min) positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) oscillations. We hypothesized that, as seen in a previous animal model, the PRx variability would be reduced by inducing slow arterial blood pressure (ABP) and ICP oscillations without other clinically relevant physiological changes. Patients with TBI were ventilated with a static PEEP for 30 min (PRx period) followed by a 30-min period of slow [1/min (0.0167 Hz)] +5 cmH2O PEEP oscillations (induced (iPRx period). Ten patients with TBI were included. No clinical monitoring was discontinued and no additional interventions were required during the iPRx period. The PRx variability [measured as the standard deviation (SD) of PRx] decreased significantly during the iPRx period from 0.25 (0.22-0.30) to 0.14 (0.09-0.17) (P = 0.006). There was a power increase around the induced frequency (1/min) for both ABP and ICP (P = 0.002). In conclusion, 1/min PEEP-induced oscillations reduced the PRx variability in patients with TBI with ICP levels <22 mmHg. No other clinically relevant physiological changes were observed. Reduced PRx variability might improve CA-guided perfusion management by reducing the time to find "optimal" perfusion pressure targets. Larger studies with prolonged periods of PEEP-induced oscillations are required to take it to routine use.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cerebral autoregulation assessment requires sufficient slow arterial blood pressure (ABP) waves. However, spontaneous ABP waves may be insufficient for reliable cerebral autoregulation estimations. Therefore, we applied a ventilator "sigh-function" to generate positive end-expiratory pressure oscillations that induce slow ABP waves. This method demonstrated a reduced variability of the pressure reactivity index, commonly used as continuous cerebral autoregulation measure in a traumatic brain injury population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • PEEP
  • PRx
  • TBI
  • cerebral autoregulation
  • monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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