Effects of deep barbiturate coma on acute spinal cord injury in the cat

Ducati, A.; Schieppati, M.; Giovanelli, M.A.

Surgical Neurology 21(4): 405-413

1984


ISSN/ISBN: 0090-3019
PMID: 6701775
DOI: 10.1016/0090-3019(84)90122-8
Accession: 005298425

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Abstract
The effects of barbiturate administration on experimental balloon-induced spinal cord injury were tested in cats. Somatosensory evoked potentials from sciatic nerve stimulation were obtained before trauma and every 60 min after it up to the 6th h, when the animals were killed. Eight cats received no barbiturate treatment. Histologically the traumatic lesion was extensive (mean, 72.8% of total cross section of the cord area), sparing dorsal columns only in 6 cats. Somatosensory evoked potentials were absent in 2 cats and profoundly modified (i.e., the late waves were absent) in 6 cats at the 6th h. Eight cats were given a continuous infusion for 1 h of i.v. thiopental sodium (total dose, 65-90 mg/kg) starting 30 min after trauma. In these 8 cats, the extent of the traumatic lesion was significantly reduced (8.8% of the cord area). Among them, 3 animals presented with unaltered somatosensory evoked potentials (i.e., with the presence of both primary components and late waves) at the 6th h. Thiopental sodium improves the response of the spinal cord to trauma, both at an anatomic and at a functional level.