Changes in intracranial pressure associated with chest physiotherapy

DaiWai M. Olson, Suzanne M. Thoyre, Dennis A. Turner, Stacey Bennett, Carmelo Graffagnino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Management of intracranial hypertension is pivotal in the care of brain-injured patients. Summary of Case: We report the case of a patient with both a closed head injury and anoxic encephalopathy, who subsequently experienced episodes of refractory intracranial hypertension. The patient's care was complicated by the development of a pneumonia, which required frequent turning of the patient and chest physiotherapy. Conventional wisdom suggests that these interventions may stimulate the patient and worsen intracranial pressure, and therefore should be avoided. Results: Our observations on this patient, however, contradict this belief. This single-subject study presents data to support the use of chest physiotherapy in patients at risk for intracranial hypertension. Conclusions: Further, the evidence is compelling that a randomized-controlled trial is indicated to test the hypothesis that chest physiotherapy may actually result in short-term resolution of high intracranial pressure, and thus provide one more clinical tool in the management of elevated intracranial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-103
Number of pages4
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Brain injury
  • Chest physiotherapy
  • Intracranial hypertensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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