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Eur J Vasc Surg. 1990 Feb;4(1):5-10.

Winner of the ESVS prize 1989. Microcirculation of the spinal cord during proximal aortic cross-clamping.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Trondheim University Clinic, Norway.


The relationship between the cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFP) and the microcirculation of the spinal cord was studied during cross-clamping (XC) of the thoracic aorta in pigs. CSFP was recorded via an intrathecal catheter. The microcirculation was measured by the laser Doppler technique using a needle probe inserted percutaneously into the spinal cord. A left thoracotomy was performed, and the thoracic aorta was cross-clamped for 30 minutes distal to the left subclavian artery. Prior to XC a pulsatile flux recording from the spinal cord (SCF) was observed. Following cross-clamping of the aorta SCF was dramatically reduced (P less than 0.001), then stabilised at 40% of base-line values. During XC, variations in CSFP were observed but these changes were not statistically significant. CSFP gradually increased to pre cross-clamp levels following release of XC (P less than 0.05). SCF increased 51% following removal of 1 ml of cerebrospinal fluid (P less than 0.05). By injection of 0.9% saline at body temperature SCF was totally inhibited at CSFP above 15 mmHg. Occlusion of the azygos vein increased CSFP 1.3 mmHg (P less than 0.05) whereby SCF decreased 58% (P less than 0.01). Following release of XC of a hyperaemic period of the SCF was demonstrated in ten out of 13 animals. In conclusion, SCF was significantly influenced by changes in CSFP during XC of the thoracic aorta. The findings support the theory that removal of spinal fluid during XC of the thoracic aorta may increase the perfusion pressure to the spinal cord, thereby improving its blood supply.

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