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J Neurotrauma. 2014 Feb 1;31(3):284-91. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3061. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Medical and surgical management after spinal cord injury: vasopressor usage, early surgerys, and complications.

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1 Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California San Francisco , San Francisco, California.


The optimal mean arterial blood pressure for maintenance of spinal cord perfusion is not known. Our aim was to describe vasopressor usage and examine their effects in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). We undertook a retrospective cohort study of 131 patients with SCI who received any kind of vasopressors to maintain blood pressure in the neurocritical care unit of a Level 1 trauma center (2005-2011). Vasopressor usage and complications were obtained from the medical record. Neurological outcomes were evaluated by the American Spinal Injury Association score. Dopamine was the most commonly used vasopressor (48.0%), followed by phenylephrine (45.0%), norepinephrine (5.0%), epinephrine (1.5%), and vasopressin (0.5%). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that complications (e.g., ventricular tachycardia, troponin elevation, atrial fibrillation, heart rate >130 or <50, etc.) due to vasopressors were independently associated with the overall usages of dopamine (odds ratio [OR] 8.97; p<0.001) and phenylephrine (OR, 5.92; p=0.004), age ≥60 years old (OR, 5.16; p=0.013), and complete SCI (OR, 3.23; p=0.028). There was no difference in neurological improvement with either dopamine (OR, 1.16; p=0.788) or phenylephrine (OR 0.96; p=0.940). Incomplete SCI (OR, 2.64; p=0.019) and surgery <24 h after SCI (OR, 4.25; p=0.025) were independently associated with improved outcome. In summary, vasopressors are associated with increased complications in SCI patients. Further prospective studies are required in order to determine the potential benefits and risks of blood pressure management in patients with SCI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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