last updated 24-06-2024

Cerebral oedema

Cerebral oedema

As can be seen in the graphic, cerebral oedema can result from a variety of causes. Because of this, it is a fairly common medical problem. Because the brain is contained within the skull it is made up of fixed amounts of brain tissue (approx 1400 ml), cerebrospinal fluid (150 ml), and blood (150 ml).

If the brain, CSF, or blood volume increases inside the fixed volume of the skull, an increase in intracranial pressure (ICP) results. The rise in ICP can cause a reduction in cerebral blood flow, producing ischaemia and cell death. The aetiology of cerebral oedema can be both neurological and non-neurological.

Early symptoms of increased ICP are dilation of the pupil(s) and a sluggish response to light. The pupil is affected uni- or bilaterally, depending on the localization of the pressure. When cerebral oedema and ICP reach a level that produces ischaemia, the patient may present with an altered level of consciousness, bradycardia, hypertension, and abnormal respiration and ocular movements.


Which of the following statements about cerebral oedema is FALSE?


Which of the symptoms below is NOT characteristic for cerebral oedema?