Protecting the ischemic spinal cord during aortic clamping: The influence of selective hypothermia and spinal cord perfusion pressure

From the Department of Surgery, Ochsner Clinic and Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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32 Scopus citations


Purpose: We verified the hypothesis that selective deep hypothermia of the spinal cord during double thoracic aortic clamping can prevent postoperative paraplegia in dogs. Methods: Normal saline solution was circulated from the cisterna magna through an extracorporeal perfusion system consisting of a reservoir, a pump, and a heat exchanger, back into the subarachnoid space at the level of the medullary cone at a rate of 25 ml/min, starting 30 minutes before clamping, and ending after removal of the clamps. The thoracic aorta was cross-clamped below the left subclavian artery and above the diaphragm for a period of 45 minutes. Cerebrospinal fluid, intracranial, and central venous pressure and aortic pressure proximal, between, and distal to the clamps were continuously recorded. In five dogs, temperature of the circulating normal saline solution at the inflow level was maintained at 2° ±1.5° C (group 1), in five controls at 37° ±0.8° C (group 2). Five dogs underwent continuous cerebrospinal fluid drainage starting before clamping until sacrifice (group 3). Dogs were observed for up to 4 days, and neurologic function was graded by an independent observer with the Tarlov scale. Animals were then killed, and their spinal cords were prepared for microscopic examination. Results: Hemodynamic parameters were not significantly different between groups. All dogs in groups 2 and 3 were paraplegic with histologic evidence of spinal cord infarction. All animals in group 1 were neurologically normal without microscopic evidence of infarction ( p < 0.005). Conclusions: Selective deep hypothermia of the spinal cord prevents paraplegia after 45 minutes of double aortic clamping in dogs. Cerebrospinal fluid drainage was not effective in preventing paraplegia in this model. (J VASC SURG 1994;19:788-96.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-796
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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