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Crit Care Med. 1996 Jul;24(7):1243-51.

Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations after head injury in humans.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To measure cerebrospinal fluid and plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations as indicators of nitric oxide production in adults after severe closed-head injury. To determine if there is an association between cerebrospinal fluid and plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations, and cerebral blood flow, arterio-jugular oxygen content difference, injury severity, and outcome after severe closed-head injury.

DESIGN:

A prospective, clinical study.

SETTING:

Multidisciplinary intensive care unit.

PATIENTS:

Fifteen comatose (Glasgow Coma Scale score of < or = 7) adult patients with severe closed-head injury were studied during the prospective, randomized evaluation of the effect of moderate hypothermia (32 degrees C for 24 hrs) on neurologic outcome after closed-head injury. Seven patients were in the hypothermic group and eight patients were in the normothermic treatment group.

INTERVENTIONS:

None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Patients were examined sequentially, every 12 hrs for 2 days. Intraventricular cerebrospinal fluid was assayed for nitrite and nitrate concentrations. Cerebral blood flow was measured by the 133xenon intravenous method. Simultaneous blood samples were obtained for measurements of arterio-jugular oxygen content difference and plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations. Cerebral metabolic rate for oxygen was calculated. Cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations were highest at 30 to 42 hrs vs. 6 to 18, 18 to 30, and 42 to 54 hrs (26.4 +/- 3.3 vs. 17.3 +/- 2.1, 20.0 +/- 2.2, and 18.8 +/- 2.4 microM, respectively, p < .05). There was no difference over time in plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations. Cerebral blood flow was increased and arterio-jugular oxygen content difference was reduced at 18 to 30, 30 to 42, and 42 to 54 hrs vs. 6 to 18 hrs (p < .05). At 30 to 42 hrs, cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations were 80% higher in patients who died vs. survivors (36.4 +/- 3.2 vs. 20.2 +/- 3.6, p < .05). Using a generalized, multivariate, linear regression model, both plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations and injury Severity Score independently predicted cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations (p < .00001 and p = .0053, respectively). Cerebral blood flow and arterio-jugular oxygen content difference were not associated with cerebrospinal fluid or plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations using this model. Cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations were increased over time in hypothermic vs. normothermic patients. But, where this difference occurred could not be determined by multiple comparisons (p = .03). The hypothermic patients had lower admission Glasgow Coma Scale scores than normothermic patients (p = .04) and tended to have higher injury Severity Scores (p = .09).

CONCLUSIONS:

Increases in cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations peaked at 30 to 42 hrs after severe closed-head injury. This increase in cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations was greater in nonsurvivors. Also, cerebrospinal fluid and plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations were associated with injury Severity Score, suggesting that increased nitric oxide production in the brain is associated with injury severity and death. Hypothermia did not prevent the increase in cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations. Further study is required to determine the source of this increase in cerebrospinal fluid nitrite and nitrate concentrations and to further define the relationship to outcome and the effect of hypothermia on this process.

PMID:
8674343
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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