n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Raised intracranial pressure : what it is and how to recognise it

Volume 31, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Intracranial pressure (ICP) is the tension within the cranial vault. Typically recorded in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), ICP in adults is normally 5 - 10 mmHg, in children 3 - 7 mmHg, and in infants 1.5 - 6 mmHg. The mmHg value is multiplied by 1.36 to determine the equivalent value in cmHO. This is usually obtained when using a manometer after lumbar puncture. ICP varies over the course of the day and is influenced by changes in posture, position and pressure fluctuations in other compartments (e.g. a Valsalva manoeuvre will markedly increase the resting ICP). Raised ICP can be defined in many ways, but in the acute setting it commonly refers to pressure greater than 20 - 25 mmHg for more than 5 minutes.

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