Neurocritical Care

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 516–518 | Cite as

Decompressive Laparotomy for Refractory Intracranial Hypertension After Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Jon D. Dorfman
  • Joseph D. Burns
  • Deborah M. Green
  • Christina DeFusco
  • Suresh Agarwal
Practical Pearl



Intracranial hypertension is a crucial modifiable risk factor for poor outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Limited evidence suggests that decompressive laparotomy may be an effective treatment for refractory ICH in patients who have elevated intra-abdominal pressure.


Case report.


We present a multi-trauma patient who sustained severe TBI in a motor vehicle collision. Intracranial pressure (ICP) was initially medically managed but became refractory to standard therapies. Emergent decompressive laparotomy performed in the surgical intensive care unit for abdominal compartment syndrome concomitantly improved the patient’s ICP.


Elevated intra-abdominal pressure can exacerbate intracranial hypertension in patients with TBI. Recognition of this condition and treatment with decompressive laparotomy may be useful in patients with intracranial hypertension refractory to optimal medical therapy.


Traumatic brain injury Intracranial hypertension Intra-abdominal hypertension 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon D. Dorfman
    • 1
  • Joseph D. Burns
    • 2
    • 3
  • Deborah M. Green
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christina DeFusco
    • 2
  • Suresh Agarwal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA

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