Repository logo

Effects of Age and Sex on Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter in Healthy Volunteers and Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury

Published version

Change log


Cardim, Danilo 
Czosnyka, Marek 
Chandrapatham, Karthikka 
Badenes, Rafael 
Bertuccio, Alessandro 


The measurement of optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) has been reported as a non-invasive marker for intracranial pressure (ICP). Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether possible ONSD differences occur with age and sex in healthy and brain-injured populations. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sex and age on ONSD in healthy volunteers and patients with traumatic brain injury. We prospectively included 122 healthy adult volunteers (Galliera Hospital, Genova, Italy), and compared age/sex dependence of ONSD to 95 adult patients (Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK) with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) requiring intubation and invasive ICP monitoring. The two groups were stratified for sex and age. Age was divided into 3 subgroups: (1) young adults: 18–44 years; (2) middle-aged adults: 45–64 years; (3) old adults: >65 years. In healthy volunteers, ONSD was significantly different between males and females [median (interquartile range): 4.2 (3.9–4.6) mm vs. 4.1 (3.6–4.2) mm (p = 0.01), respectively] and was correlated with age (R = 0.50, p < 0.0001). ONSD was significantly increased in group 3 compared to groups 2 and 1, indicating that ONSD values are higher in elderly subjects. In TBI patients, no differences in ONSD were found for sex and the correlation between ONSD and age was non-significant (R = 0.13, p = 0.20). ONSD increases with age and is significantly larger for males in healthy volunteers but not in TBI patients. Different ONSD cut-off values need not be age- or sex-adjusted for the assessment of increased ICP in TBI patients.



Neurology, optic nerve sheath diameter, ultrasonography, traumatic brain injury, intracranial pressure, healthy volunteers

Journal Title

Frontiers in Neurology

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Frontiers Media S.A.