Metabolic derangements are associated with impaired glucose delivery following traumatic brain injury.


Metabolic derangements following traumatic brain injury are poorly characterized. In this single-centre observational cohort study we combined 18F-FDG and multi-tracer oxygen-15 PET to comprehensively characterize the extent and spatial pattern of metabolic derangements. Twenty-six patients requiring sedation and ventilation with intracranial pressure monitoring following head injury within a Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, and 47 healthy volunteers were recruited. Eighteen volunteers were excluded for age over 60 years (n = 11), movement-related artefact (n = 3) or physiological instability during imaging (n = 4). We measured cerebral blood flow, blood volume, oxygen extraction fraction, and 18F-FDG transport into the brain (K1) and its phosphorylation (k3). We calculated oxygen metabolism, 18F-FDG influx rate constant (Ki), glucose metabolism and the oxygen/glucose metabolic ratio. Lesion core, penumbra and peri-penumbra, and normal-appearing brain, ischaemic brain volume and k3 hotspot regions were compared with plasma and microdialysis glucose in patients. Twenty-six head injury patients, median age 40 years (22 male, four female) underwent 34 combined 18F-FDG and oxygen-15 PET at early, intermediate, and late time points (within 24 h, Days 2-5, and Days 6-12 post-injury; n = 12, 8, and 14, respectively), and were compared with 20 volunteers, median age 43 years (15 male, five female) who underwent oxygen-15, and nine volunteers, median age 56 years (three male, six female) who underwent 18F-FDG PET. Higher plasma glucose was associated with higher microdialysate glucose. Blood flow and K1 were decreased in the vicinity of lesions, and closely related when blood flow was