Cushing reflex' is characterized by the occurrence of hypertension, bradycardia and apnoea secondary to raised increased intracranial pressure (ICP), leading to pressure on and or stretch, or both, of the brainstem. With the wide availability of monitoring facilities and advancements in investigation techniques, observation of increased intracranial pressure resulting in haemodynamic instability and bradycardia has been increasingly recognized in relation to many neurosurgical conditions and procedures. The causes of bradycardia include space occupying lesion involving or compressing the brain parenchyma (subdural haematoma, tumours, hydrocephalus), neurosurgical procedures (neuroendoscopy, placement of extradural drains), epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, trigemino-cardiac reflex, cerebellar lesions, spinal lesions (neurogenic shock, autonomic dysreflexia) and many other rare causes (Ventricular catheter obstruction in cases of hydrocephalus, colloid cysts related acute neurogenic cardiac dysfunction, Ondine's curse syndrome, etc.). This highlights that bradycardia can be a warning sign in many neurosurgical conditions and Cushing's reflex is a protective and effective action of the brain for preserving an adequate cerebra...Continue Reading
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