Semin Neurol 2016; 36(06): 502-507
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1592109
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Today's Approach to Treating Brain Swelling in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit

Shreyansh Shah
1   Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
W. Taylor Kimberly
1   Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
01 December 2016 (online)


Brain swelling is an urgent clinical problem that frequently accompanies ischemic stroke, brain hemorrhage, and traumatic brain injury; it increases morbidity and mortality associated with them. It occurs due to failure of membrane transporters and leakage of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), resulting in combination of cytotoxic, ionic, and vasogenic edema. Currently, decompressive craniectomy and osmotherapy are the mainstays of management, but these therapies do not halt the underlying molecular cascade leading to brain swelling. Recent advances in the molecular underpinnings of cerebral edema have opened up possibilities of newer targeted therapeutic options. Here the authors outline the current approach for rapid diagnosis and intervention to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with brain swelling.

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