Chapter

Brain Edema

Gary A. Rosenberg

in Molecular Physiology and Metabolism of the Nervous System

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394276
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322831 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195394276.003.0010

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Brain Edema

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Cerebral edema is a final common pathway for many brain insults and is often the proximate cause of death due to brain herniation. Enlargement in any of the three compartments of blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or brain tissue causes an increase in intracranial pressure (ICP) with shifting of the contents. Although enlargement of the blood space leads to an increase in CSF pressure and may cause headaches, it is not life-threatening. By contrast, enlargement of the CSF space by obstruction of the outflow pathways for the ventricles can lead to downward herniation. Most threatening, however, is the enlargement of the brain tissue space, which can occur with cell swelling, blood vessel breakdown, or mass lesions such as an intracranial bleed or a brain tumor. When the tissue itself enlarges in the absence of a mass lesion, one of the three types of cerebral edema, cytotoxic, vasogenic, or interstitial, is present.1,2 While the definitions provide useful constructs, the distinction between the different types of edema is generally blurred because of the overlap among them.

Chapter.  10451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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