A simple and reliable technique to monitor intracranial pressure in the rat: Technical note

Konrad N.M. Barth, Stephen T. Onesti, William E. Krauss, Robert A. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


A technique for intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in the rat that uses a permanent cisterna magna cannula is described. The cannula is placed into the subarachnoid space through the atlanto-occipital membrane with the operating microscope and is secured with cement. The distal end is connected to a pressure transducer and a polygraph recorder. To study the consistency of this technique, 12 anesthetized adult rats were subjected to baseline ICP measurements 2 days after placement of the cannula. Baseline pressures ranged between 1.0 and 10.0 cm H2O, with a mean of 5.6 cm H2O. Respiratory variations were detected in all tracings, and manual abdominal compressions (Valsalva maneuver) correlated with immediate transient rises in ICP in all rats. While CSF pressure was being continuously monitored, rats were subjected to subarachnoid hemorrhage induced by transclival basilar artery puncture. Of the 12 rats, 10 showed a moderate transient rise in cerebrospinal fluid pressure, which peaked approximately 2 minutes after subarachnoid hemorrhage (mean peak change, 10.5 cm H2O; range, 0–32.5 cm H2O). Reliable pressure tracings were obtained in three of five animals examined 3 days after subarachnoid hemorrhage (ICP range, 4.0–4.5 cm H2O; mean, 4.2 cm H2O). We conclude that this cannula is easy and inexpensive to construct and that it provides reliable ICP tracings during experimental procedures in the rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-140
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


  • Cisterna magna
  • Intracranial pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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