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The Influence of Trimethaphan (Arfonad)-Induced Hypotension With and Without Spine Distraction on Canine Spinal Cord Blood Flow

KLING, THOMAS F. JR., MD; WILTON, NIALL, MB; HENSINGER, ROBERT N., MD; KNIGHT, PAUL R., MD

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Controlled hypotension is used in scoliosis surgery to reduce the need for transfusion and to improve operating conditions, but there is concern that deliberate hypotension may decrease spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) and predispose the spinal cord to injury, particularly when it is distracted during Harrington instrumentation. To study the effect of deliberate hypotension on SCBF, the mean arterial pressure (MAP) was reduced to 50% of its normotensive value with trimethaphan (Arfonad) in dogs and the SCBF measured using the hydrogen washout technique with and without spine distraction. The SCBF was significantly reduced to half its normotensive value of 23.2 ml/min/100 gm to 11.4 ml/min/100 gm after hypotension was established. The SCBF remained significantly decreased compared with controls when measured at 30, 45, and 60 minutes following the induction of hypotension and also when hypotension was terminated. SCBF was not further reduced when 2 cm of spine distraction was added. These results show that induction of hypotension with trimethaphan is associated with a similar decrease in SCBF, which is maintained as long as the drug is used and that this effect continues after the drug is terminated and the MAP increases. Cautiously extrapolating these findings clinically would suggest that trimethaphan may not be the drug of choice for controlled hypotension during scoliosis surgery, despite its apparently favorable hemodynamic and hormonal responses.

From the Department of Anesthesiology and the Section of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.