Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 33–37 | Cite as

Plasma osmolality, osmoregulation and prognosis after head injury

  • H. A. Trost
  • M. R. Gaab
Clinical Articles


108 Patients with severe brain damage were examined for the course of plasma osmolality. In addition plasma values of Na+, K+, glucose and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) were measured simultaneously by auto-analyzer. The clinical status was registered daily by using a modified Glasgow coma scale. Outcome of the injured patients was registered by using the Glasgow outcome scale. 60 patients survived, 48 died, 39 of brain damage and 9 of secondary diseases, such as infection or embolism.

Sustained severe brain damage is generally followed by disturbances of metabolic regulation. Quite often the osmotic regulation is disturbed. In most cases these disturbances are of hyperosmolar nature, their extent and duration being correlated to the prognosis.

Hyposmolar deregulation occurs less frequently, and occasionally lead to peracute brain oedema (e.g. SIADH-syndrome). These dys-regulations are interpreted as disturbances of the central function of the diencephalon, in lethal cases even as “hypothalamic death”. Blood osmolality measurements should therefore be made early in states of acute cerebral disease to help establish a prognosis, control the treatment of water imbalance and to determine contra-indications to osmotherapy


Plasma osmolality brain damage osmoregulation prognosis intensive care 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Trost
    • 1
  • M. R. Gaab
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurosurgical DepartmentHannover Medical SchoolFederal Republic of Germany

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