Increased intracranial pressure is associated with elevated cerebrospinal fluid ADH levels in closed-head injury

Marsha A. Widmayer, Jeffrey L. Browning, Shankar P. Gopinath, Claudia S. Robertson, David S. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Head injury frequently results in increased intracranial pressure and brain edema. Investigators have demonstrated that ischemic injury causes an increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of antidiuretic hormone (ADH); increased CSF ADH levels exacerbate cerebral edema, and inhibition of the ADH system with specific ADH antagonists reduces cerebral edema. The current study was designed to test the hypothesis that elevated levels of ADH are present in the CSF of subjects with head injury. Methods: Ventricular CSF and blood samples were taken from 11 subjects with head injury and 12 subjects with no known head trauma or injury. ADH levels were analyzed using radioimmunoassay. Severity of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) was rated in head-injured subjects using a four-point ordinal scale, based on which treatments were necessary to reduce ICP. Results: Subjects with head injury had higher CSF (3.2 versus 1.2 pg/ml; P<0.02) and plasma (4.1 versus 1.4 pg/ml; P<0.02) levels of ADH than did control subjects. In head-injured subjects, CSF ADH levels positively correlated with severity of ICP. Discussion: The results of this study suggest that ADH plays a role in brain edema associated with closed head injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1026
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Antidiuretic hormone
  • Head injury
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Trauma
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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