Evidence for Prolonged Release of Excitatory Amino Acids in Severe Human Head Trauma. Relationship to Clinical Events

Document Type


Publication Date




Many neuroprotective agents which block the putatively excitotoxic effects of glutamate are now available, and several of these are well advanced in clinical trials. Some agents, however, have side effect profiles which could preclude their use for categories of conscious or confused head-injured patients. We have, therefore, sought evidence of excitatory amino acid (EAA) release in a spectrum of patients with severe head trauma.

The aim of these studies was as follows: 1) to determine the relationship of EAA release to the clinical type of head trauma, 2) to determine the time course of EAA release in order to determine the "therapeutic window", and 3) to determine any relationship between EAA release, intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), and ionic changes.