The potential superiority of hypertonic saline (HTS) over mannitol (MTL) for control of intracranial pressure (ICP) following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is still debated. Forty-seven severe TBI patients with increased ICP were prospectively recruited in two university hospitals and randomly treated with equiosmolar infusions of either MTL 20% (4mL/kg; n=25 patients) or HTS 7.5% (2mL/kg; n=22 patients). Serum sodium, hematocrit, ICP, arterial blood pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), shear rate, global indices of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and metabolism were measured before, and 30 and 120min following each infusion during the course of illness. Outcome was assessed at 6 months. Both HTS and MTL effectively and equally reduced ICP levels with subsequent elevation of CPP and CBF, although this effect was significantly stronger and of longer duration after HTS and correlated with improved rheological blood properties induced by HTS. Further, effect of HTS on ICP appeared to be more robust in patients with diffuse brain injury. In contrast, oxygen and glucose metabolic rates were left equally unaffected by both solutions. Accordingly, there was no significant difference in neurological outcome between the two groups. In conclusion, MTL was as effective as HTS in decreasing ICP in TBI patients although both solutions failed to improved cerebral metabolism. HTS showed an additional and stronger effect on cerebral perfusion of potential benefit in the presence of cerebral ischemia. Treatment selection should therefore be individually based on sodium level and cerebral hemodynamics.
- cerebral metabolism