Barbiturate protection in acute experimental spinal cord ischemia

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✓ Ischemia is the pathophysiological mechanism in many types of spinal cord injury. In the present study, the infrarenal segment of the aorta was occluded for 25 minutes to produce spinal cord infarction in rabbits. Paraplegia occurred in 100% of control animals. Thiopental administered before aortic occlusion resulted in paraplegia in only 40% of animals so treated (p < 0.01). Histological study of the spinal cord demonstrated infarction of the gray matter in all paraplegic animals, whereas the microscopic appearance was normal in animals without neurological deficit. The protective influence of thiopental therapy in spinal cord ischemia was demonstrated.

Article Information

Present address for Dr. Oldfield: Surgical Neurology Branch, NINCDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205.

Address reprint requests to: William F. Meacham, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Serum thiopental concentrations (mg/100 ml) following intravenous thiopental injection (Group II: 30 mg/kg, and Group III: 30 mg/kg + 15 mg/kg/hr for 1.5 hrs) of two animals in Group II (circles) and Group III (triangles).

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    Photomicrographs of spinal cord. H & E, × 14 (A and C) and × 53 (B and D). A and B: Normal microscopic appearance of the midlumbar segment of the spinal cord of a thiopental-treated animal with normal neurological function sacrificed 7 days after aortic occlusion for 25 minutes. C and D: Section (similar level) of an untreated paraplegic animal at 5 days, demonstrating infarction of the central gray matter.

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