Brain shift, level of consciousness, and restoration of consciousness in patients with acute intracranial hematoma

D. A. Ross, W. L. Olsen, A. M. Ross, B. T. Andrews, L. H. Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Recently, Ropper reported that horizontal brain shift caused by acute unilateral mass lesions correlated closely with consciousness, and suggested that recovery of consciousness was unlikely to occur after surgical evacuation if the shift was insufficient to explain the observed diminution of consciousness. The authors have sought to confirm the correlation of pineal shift with level of consciousness and to assess the prognostic value of brain shift measurements in a prospective study. Forty-six patients (19 with subdural hematoma, 14 with intracerebral hematoma, and 13 with epidural hematoma) were accrued to the study group consecutively. A correlation was found between a decrease in the level of consciousness and a significant increase in the mean lateral brain displacement at the pineal gland (from 3.8 to 7.0 mm) and septum (5.4 to 12.2 mm). When outcome was examined in patients who were stuporous or comatose on admission, a significant increase in septal shift was found among patients with a poor outcome, but there was no significant relationship between outcome and degree of pineal or aqueductal shift. A poor outcome was more likely with effacement of both perimesencephalic cisterns or the ipsilateral cistern, but not the contralateral cistern, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. These results do not substantiate the value of brain shift as an independent prognostic factor after evacuation of an acute unilateral mass lesion. The decision to operate and the determination of prognosis should be based rather on established criteria such as the clinical examination, age of the patient, and the mechanism of injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-502
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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