Comparison of brain tissue oxygen tension to microdialysis-based measures of cerebral ischemia in fatally head-injured humans

Alex B. Valadka, J. Clay Goodman, Shankar P. Gopinath, Masahiko Uzura, Claudia S. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study investigated the relationship between brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO2) and cerebral microdialysate concentrations of several compounds in five patients with refractory intracranial hypertension after severe head injury. The following substances were assayed: lactate and glucose; the excitatory amino acids glutamate and aspartate; and the cations potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Glucose concentrations did not correlate with PbtO2, but lactate increased as PbtO2 decreased. The lactate/glucose ratio exhibited a close relationship to PbtO2, increasing sharply only when oxygen tension reached zero. Although glucose and oxygen eventually reached very low levels and zero, respectively, in these fatally head-injured patients, the terminal decrease in PbtO2 slightly preceded that of glucose in four of the five patients. This time lag is the cause of the poor correlation between glucose and PbtO2. Glutamate and aspartate concentrations both demonstrated a close relationship to PbtO2, with sharp increases not occurring until PbtO2 was zero. Concentrations of these amino acids exhibited a similar pattern in response to decreasing glucose concentrations. Potassium concentrations began increasing at a PbtO2 of 35 mm Hg, which is not generally considered indicative of hypoxia. Sharper increases began occurring once PbtO2 dropped below 15 mm Hg, with a slight rise in the minimum potassium concentrations recorded at these low PbtO2 values. Calcium and magnesium concentrations did not vary in response to PbtO2. In summary, the most robust biochemical indicators of cerebral anoxia were elevations in the lactate/glucose ratio and in the concentrations of lactate and of the excitatory amino acids glutamate and aspartate. Furthermore, the fact that glucose concentrations continue to decrease for a short period after oxygen levels reach zero suggests that cells continue to utilize glucose anaerobically for such functions as maintenance of cellular integrity, with collapse of the cell membrane as evidenced by increases of extracellular glutamate and aspartate not occurring until both oxygen and glucose concentrations reach zero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain tissue oxygen tension
  • Glucose
  • Head injury
  • Ischemia
  • Microdialysis
  • Oxygen
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of brain tissue oxygen tension to microdialysis-based measures of cerebral ischemia in fatally head-injured humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this