Indexed on: 01 Mar '88Published on: 01 Mar '88Published in: Journal of neurosurgery
Mean hemispheric cerebral blood flow (CBF) and intracranial pressure (ICP) were measured in 19 severely head-injured patients treated with barbiturate coma. The CBF was calculated from the clearance of tracer substance monitored by extracranial scintillation detectors after intravenous administration of xenon-133. In 11 of the patients cerebral arteriovenous oxygen differences were measured simultaneously. In all patients the effects of pronounced hyperventilation were recorded prior to initiation of barbiturate treatment. A normal CBF response to hyperventilation (delta CBF/delta PaCO2 greater than or equal to 1) was obtained in eight patients. In these patients induction of barbiturate coma was accompanied by physiological decreases in CBF and in the calculated cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2); they also exhibited a rapid and lasting decrease in ICP. A decreased or an abolished CO2 reactivity was recorded (delta CBF/delta PaCO2 less than 1) in 11 patients. In 10 of these 11 patients the physiological decreases in CBF and CMRO2 were not obtained during barbiturate treatment and the decrease in ICP was transitory. This study demonstrates a correlation between cerebral vasoreactivity, physiological effects of barbiturate therapy, and clinical outcome.