Cerebral vasospasm remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Milrinone, a bipyridine phosphodiesterase III inhibitor, is a potent member of the inodilator class of cardiac agents for vasospasm and is injected intra-arterially or intracisternally. There have been no studies investigating the duration of action (context-sensitive half-life) of milrinone for vasospasm or the most effective route of administration (intra-arterial versus intracisternal). We examined the effects of intracisternal and intra-arterial injection of milrinone on chronic cerebral vasospasm in dogs.
A double-hemorrhage canine model was used. In a preliminary isometric tension study of canine vasospastic basilar arteries, the vasodilatory effects of milrinone were examined 7 days after an initial injection of blood. Milrinone was injected intracisternally (0.1 mg, 0.47 mmol/L) or intra-arterially (0.3 mg/kg, 1.2 mmol/L), and angiograms were performed 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, and 360 minutes later on day 7.
Milrinone produced concentration-dependent vasodilation and was effective intracisternally, resulting in significant dilation until 180 minutes after injection and a tendency for dilation until 240 minutes. The effect of intra-arterial injection was not as significant compared with an intracisternal injection, resulting in significant dilation only at 180 minutes after intra-arterial injection.
Intracisternal injection of milrinone was more effective than intra-arterial injection for chronic cerebral vasospasm in dogs because intracisternal injection produced a higher concentration in vasospastic arteries (0.034–0.068 mmol/L intracisternally versus 0.016 mmol/L intra-arterially).