Intracranial pressure monitoring in childhood meningitis with coma: A national survey of neurosurgeons in the United States

Folafoluwa O. Odetola*, Sarah J. Clark, Kara E. Lamarand, Matthew M. Davis, Hugh J. Garton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the beliefs and attitudes of U.S. neurosurgeons regarding the use of intracranial pressure monitors among comatose children with meningitis. Design and Setting: A questionnaire was administered by mail between March and July 2009, to a random sample of 500 adult neurosurgeons and to all 228 pediatric neurosurgeons in the Congress of Neurologic Surgeons. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: The response rate was 60%. Abnormal computed tomography scans, either with brain swelling or hydrocephalus, and older child age were likely to prompt neurosurgeons to consider monitoring intracranial pressure, whereas etiology of meningitis did not impact the decision to monitor intracranial pressure. Fifty-two percent of neurosurgeons believed computed tomography scans were inaccurate in detecting elevated intracranial pressure in comatose children with meningitis, 22% believed otherwise, and 26% were uncertain. Only 25% of neurosurgeons felt there was sufficient medical evidence to monitor intracranial pressure in comatose children with meningitis, with higher frequency among adult than pediatric (30% vs. 16%; p <. 01) neurosurgeons. Eighty-one percent of neurosurgeons disagreed with the notion that comatose children with meningitis were too ill to benefit from placement of intracranial pressure monitors. Pediatric neurosurgeons reported a higher frequency than adult neurosurgeons of having placed more (more than five) intracranial pressure monitors in comatose children with meningitis (42% vs. 28%; p <. 01). Conclusions: Most neurosurgeons are willing to consider monitoring intracranial pressure among comatose children with meningitis in the presence of abnormal findings on computed tomography scan and with older patient age. These findings are instructive in view of the current uncertainty and equipoise in clinical practice regarding intracranial pressure monitoring in these critically ill children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e350-e356
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • childhood
  • critical illness
  • hospitalization
  • intracranial pressure
  • meningitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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