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J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 2000 Feb;41(1):89-93.

Iloprost protects the spinal cord during aortic cross-clamping in a canine model.

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Türkiye Yüksek Ihtisas Hospital, Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic, Ankara, Turkey.



Surgical procedures on the thoracoabdominal part of the aorta make the spinal cord vulnerable to ischemia. Paraplegia is the most severe complication following thoracoabdominal operations. In this study, iloprost was used as an agent to decrease the severity of ischemia and reperfusion injury to the spinal cord during aortic occlusion and declamping.


Twelve adult mongrel dogs weighing 17+/-2 kg were used in this study. The animals were randomly assigned to either group I, which received saline solution (6 dogs), or group II, which received prostacyclin. Group I was referred to as the control group and group II as the iloprost group. After baseline measurements were completed, the aorta was cross-clamped for sixty minutes distal to the left subclavian artery. No pharmacologic agents were used to control blood pressure in group I. Proximal and distal mean arterial pressures (DMAP) were monitored continuously. DMAP were considered as diastolic pressure in preocclusion and reperfusion periods. Iloprost administration was started at a rate of 5 ng/kg/minute five minutes before the aortic occlusion. This dosage was increased to 25 ng/kg/minute during aortic occlusion.


Mean proximal arterial pressure was 147+/-12 mmHg in the control group and 116+/-13 mmHg in the iloprost group at occlusion (p<0.01). Mean distal arterial pressure was 19+/-7 in the control group and 37+/-5 in the iloprost group during clamping (p<0.05). Functional outcome was evaluated according to Tarlov scores 24 hours after the study. Although none of the animals recovered completely from the control group, 4 animals from the iloprost group recovered (p<0.05). Following the neurologic assessment, animals were sacrificed and specimens were taken for the electron microscopic study. Electron microscopic changes documented that severe mitochondrial damage and vacuolisation occurred in the control group. However these changes were more subtle in the iloprost group.


As a result of this study we concluded that iloprost infused before and during clamping of the thoracic aorta mitigates the spinal cord injury due to ischemia and reperfusion following unclamping.

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