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William F. Collins, James L. O'Leary, William E. Hunt and Henry G. Schwartz

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Robert A. Feldman, David Yashon, George E. Locke and William E. Hunt

✓ In rhesus monkeys subjected to circulatory arrest, studies were made of the relationship of lactate production in the spinal cord to the duration of circulatory arrest and magnitude of lactate accumulation, and the results were compared to the magnitude of rise in cerebral tissue lactate. Both high and low thoracic laminectomies were performed on each of eight rhesus monkeys. Spinal cord tissue was excised for lactate assay at the upper laminectomy as a control, and a second tissue specimen was excised at the lower laminectomy site at time increments of 30 sec to 30 min after circulatory arrest. Tissue was excised from each site without circulatory arrest in one monkey and showed negligible increase in lactate production, indicating that excision of tissue itself does not result in increased lactate. Nonanoxic samples from seven monkeys averaged 4.60 millimoles (mM)/lactate/kg tissue, with a range of 2.22 to 6.49. Postcirculatory arrest samples from these monkeys averaged 11.10 mM lactate/kg tissue, with a range of 3.62 (at 30 sec) to 14.33 (at 10 min). Anoxic spinal tissue lactate was elevated above controls in each instance, and tissue lactate peaked between 5 to 10 min after circulatory arrest and remained stable with mild fluctuations beyond that time. Thus, the spinal cord responds to circulatory arrest much as cerebral tissue, but with some delay in the accumulation of lactic acid.

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George E. Locke, David Yashon, Robert A. Feldman and William E. Hunt

✓ Lactate accumulation in spinal cord tissue following trauma was determined to ascertain the role and magnitude of ischemia. High thoracic and low thoracic laminectomies were performed on each of nine rhesus monkeys. The lower exposed cord was traumatized with a calibrated blow of 300 gm cm. The upper exposed cord served as a nontraumatized control. At time intervals of 1.5 min to 48 hrs after trauma, both cord segments were removed and assayed for lactic acid. Lactate in nontraumatized segments averaged 3.64 mM/kg tissue, with a range of 2.20 to 4.95. Lactate in traumatized segments removed in from 1.5 min to 12 hrs from six monkeys averaged 5.50 mM/kg tissue, with a range of 4.32 to 6.46. Lactate in traumatized segments from three monkeys 18 to 40 hrs after trauma averaged 4.07 mM/kg, with a range of 3.20 to 5.18. This finding supports the concept that ischemia plays a role early in the traumatic process in spinal cord injury.

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Eric Zimmerman, John Grant, W. Michael Vise, David Yashon and William E. Hunt

✓ Two patients with bursting fractures of the atlas vertebra are presented. The use of a halo apparatus as an effective alternative to bedrest and cervical traction in these patients is discussed. Polytomography was helpful in establishing an accurate diagnosis.

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David Yashon, W. George Bingham Jr., Edward M. Faddoul and William E. Hunt

✓ Identification of central nervous system edema is based on increased water content in relation to nonvolatile residue per unit weight. Nonvolatile residue in spinal cord tissue following impact trauma was determined to ascertain the magnitude and persistence of edema. High and low thoracic laminectomies were carried out on each of 17 rhesus monkeys. The lower exposed cord was traumatized with a calibrated blow of 300 gm cm. All upper exposed cords and the lower exposed cord in one monkey served as nontraumatized controls. At time intervals of 5 minutes to 20 days after trauma, cord segments were removed and assayed for water content. Increased tissue water was evident within 5 minutes and persisted for 15 days. By the 20th day it had essentially subsided. Increased tissue water content in the traumatized segment reached a maximum of 7.4% over control values at 5 days and then gradually diminished. These findings support the concept that edema following spinal trauma is unrelated to secondary effects of ischemia after 18 hours. The protracted course of increased water content (15 to 20 days) was unexpected and may indicate that edema-reducing measures should be continued for 2 to 3 weeks following spinal cord trauma with severe neurological dysfunction.

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S. Sam Finn, Sigurdur A. Stephensen, Carole A. Miller, Laura Drobnich and William E. Hunt

✓ Thirty-two patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were managed according to a protocol based on pain control and hemodynamic manipulation, monitored by an arterial line and Swan-Ganz catheter. Hemodynamic parameters were adjusted to four clinical situations. 1) For the unoperated patient with no neurological deficit, the regimen aims to maintain pulmonary wedge pressure (PWP) at 10 to 12 mm Hg, and the cardiac index (CI) and blood pressure (BP) at normal levels. 2) For the unoperated patient presenting with or developing neurological deficit, the PWP is increased until the deficit is reversed or the CI falls; the CI is high, and the BP normal. 3) For the postoperative patient with no neurological deficit, the PWP is maintained at 12 to 14 mm Hg, the CI is a high normal, and the BP is normal. 4) For the postoperative patient developing neurological deficit but showing no surgical complication on the computerized tomography scan, the PWP is increased until the deficit is reversed or the CI falls; the CI is high and the BP is increased with vasopressors if necessary.

Fourteen patients developed neurological deficits either preoperatively, postoperatively, or both. Neurological deficits were repeatedly reversed by increasing the PWP, as measured hourly. In several patients an optimal wedge pressure was determined, below which deficits would reappear. In one patient whose neurological deficit was reversed on several occasions by increasing the PWP, the optimal PWP rose after each episode until it reached 22 mm Hg.

Detailed event-related analysis of these patients' course illustrates these phenomena well. The optimal PWP varied from patient to patient, but ranged most frequently from 14 to 16 mm Hg. Meticulous monitoring of the patients' neurological status coupled with prompt correction of low PWP (assuming an adequate CI) has proven to be an effective way to prevent and reverse neurological deficits following aneurysmal SAH.

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Robert A. Feldman, David Yashon, George E. Locke and William E. Hunt

✓ Eleven anesthetized dogs underwent bilateral craniectomies. Four control dogs had serial resections of cerebral tissue in the normotensive state. After one control sample was removed from the remaining seven dogs, they were bled to a mean arterial pressure of 30 to 35 mm Hg and had cerebral tissue samples resected at 0, 30, and 60 min after the onset of hypotension. The tissue samples from the four normotensive dogs averaged 4.83 mM lactate/kg tissue with a range of 4.67 to 7.22 mM/kg. At 0 time post-shock the samples averaged 7.18 mM/kg, at 30 min post-shock 14.31 mM/kg, and at 60 min 18.76 mM/kg. It can be concluded that hemorrhagic shock causes a progressive elevation in cerebral tissue lactate, which correlates with the duration of shock. At low mean arterial pressures the brain is susceptible to the effects of poor tissue perfusion, which results in both inadequate oxygenation and lactate washout in spite of well-established mechanisms for preferential shunting of blood to the brain.

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David Yashon, George E. Locke, W. George Bingham Jr., Wigbert C. Wiederholt and William E. Hunt

✓ Electrocortigraphic activity and common carotid blood flow were studied in 12 dogs during and following profound oligemic hypotension. Five animals survived but seven died within 75 min of hypotension. Although an 80% to 90% reduction in both mean arterial pressure and common carotid blood flow was observed, only a 20% diminution of intracranial pressure occurred and there was little change in electrocorticographic function. The preservation of cerebral function in the presence of profound systemic hypotension was demonstrated. When death occurred during shock, no prior change in central nervous system function was noted. With reinfusion, no change in parameters was noted, but common carotid blood flow was depressed to 35% to 50% of control levels for up to 2½ hrs of observation.

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W. George Bingham, Harold Goldman, Stewart J. Friedman, Sharon Murphy, David Yashon and William E. Hunt

✓ The authors used indicator fractionation techniques to determine blood flow in normal and bluntly traumatized spinal cords of Macaca rhesus monkeys. Normal flow rates were determined for several levels of spinal cord as well as differential values for white and gray matter from representative areas. Flow rates in traumatized tissue, obtained at several different time intervals up to 4 hours after injury, demonstrated marked differences in regional perfusion of the white matter and gray matter after trauma. Gray matter perfusion was nearly obliterated while white matter blood flow persisted and in fact was higher than uninjured controls. The findings do not support the concept of ischemia as a factor in white matter failure. If toxic pathobiochemical alterations are induced by trauma, it may be possible to reverse these changes by exploiting the preserved white matter blood flow for chemotherapeutic intervention.