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Brain Res. 2009 Oct 19;1294:176-82. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.080. Epub 2009 Jul 30.

Thiopental exaggerates ischemic brain damage and neurological deficits after experimental stroke in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Freeman School of Business, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Thiopental is an anesthetic used for controlling high intracranial pressure (ICP) caused by brain surgery, brain trauma, and severe stroke. However, it remains controversial whether Thiopental is detrimental or beneficial in ischemic stroke. In this study, we used an animal model of ischemic stroke in spontaneously hypertensive rats to determine whether or not Thiopental is neuroprotective in the setting of brain ischemia. We observed that Thiopental caused a prolonged duration of unconsciousness with a high rate of mortality, that Thiopental created exaggerated neurological deficits that were revealed through limb placement tests at 4 days and 4 weeks after brain ischemia, and that infarct volume was increased in Thiopental-anesthetized rats. These data suggest that Thiopental is detrimental in ischemic stroke. Thus, our findings raise a caution about the use of Thiopental in the setting of ischemic stroke.

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