Treatment for Cushing's Triad


Cushing's triad is not related to Cushing's disease, although both are named after neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing. Cushing's triad is a combination of symptoms of that indicates increased intracranial pressure (ICP), a dangerous condition that should always be treated by medical professionals.

Cushing's Triad

  • Patients with Cushing's triad show these three signs: widening pulse pressure (hypertension), respiratory irregularity and bradycardia. Cushing's triad, and the accompanying ICP, are usually caused by a head injury or brain tumor, and treatment depends on the specific cause.


  • According to the online Merck Manual, 10 percent of head injuries are severe. A doctor needs to assess any cases of Cushing's triad, in order to prescribe the correct treatment.


  • Raising the head of the bed 30 degrees can help lower ICP. The cranial pressure of patients with Cushing's triad is then closely monitored using a sensor, intraventricular catheter or subarachnoid screw.


  • Intubation to alleviate respiratory distress is a standard treatment for patients with Cushing's triad. Some cases may require ventilation.


  • According to the Merck Manual, sedating someone with Cushing's triad may be a necessary treatment because physical reactions to pain, such as thrashing, can elevate ICP.


  • According to the article "Assessing and Managing Head Injury," which appeared in Emergency Medicine, surgery might be necessary when pressure is caused by a hematoma.

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