Intracranial Pressure Monitoring (ICP)
What is ICP (intracranial pressure) monitoring?
ICP is used to measure pressure in the head and determine treatment. Pressure is affected by the
amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. The CSF cushions the brain and spinal cord.
If there is too much CSF, the pressure (ICP) increases. High ICP can be a result of brain
swelling after surgery or after a brain injury.
Symptoms of increased pressure include:
ξ Feeling sleepy
ξ Decrease in appetite
ξ Blurred or double vision
ξ “Sunset eyes” (eyes which only look down)
How is the ICP monitor placed?
If needed, the patient will be put to sleep, or sedated while the monitor is placed. In some cases,
we will use medicine to relax the patient while the monitor is placed. The skin is numbed. A
small incision is made in the front of the scalp. Then, a small hole is drilled into the skull. The
ICP sensing device is placed a short distance next to the brain. A bandage keeps the device in
place. The pressure is watched and recorded by the nurses. You will stay in the ICU during this
Before the monitor is placed
ξ The ICU staff will complete a health history. Do an exam. Place an IV and obtain blood
ξ You will need to sign a consent form for the ICP monitoring to occur.
ξ You will receive antibiotics while the ICP monitor is in place.
After the monitor is placed
ξ If you have pain, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) will be given.
ξ When the device is removed, one or two staples or stitches are used to close the incision.
ξ The staples or stitches will be removed in 7-10 days in the clinic.
ξ Keep the incision clean and dry for 3 days.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7423