B waves: a systematic review of terminology, characteristics, and analysis methods

Isabel Martinez Tejada, Alexander Arum, Jens E. Wilhjelm, Marianne Juhler, Morten Andresen

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Background: Although B waves were introduced as a concept in the analysis of intracranial pressure (ICP) recordings nearly 60 years ago, there is still a lack consensus on precise defnitions, terminology, amplitude, frequency or origin. Several competing terms exist, addressing either their probable physiological origin or their physical characteristics. To better understand B wave characteristics and ease their detection, a literature review was carried out. Methods: A systematic review protocol including search strategy and eligibility criteria was prepared in advance. A literature search was carried out using PubMed/MEDLINE, with the following search terms: B waves + review flter, slow waves + review flter, ICP B waves, slow ICP waves, slow vasogenic waves, Lundberg B waves, MOCAIP. Results: In total, 19 diferent terms were found, B waves being the most common. These terminologies appear to be interchangeable and seem to be used indiscriminately, with some papers using more than fve diferent terms. Defnitions and etiologies are still unclear, which makes systematic and standardized detection difcult. Conclusions: Two future lines of action are available for automating macro-pattern identifcation in ICP signals: achieving strict agreement on morphological characteristics of “traditional” B waveforms, or starting a new with a fresh computerized approach for recognition of new clinically relevant patterns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Intracranial pressure
  • B waves
  • Slow waves
  • Vasogenic waves

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