Thiopental produces cerebral metabolic depression and cerebral vasoconstriction. However, the effect of thiopental on brain tissue oxygen pressure (PO2), carbon dioxide pressure, and pH is not known. In a prospective study, we measured brain tissue gases and pH during thiopental or desflurane treatment that was administered for brain protection during brain artery occlusion.METHODS:
After institutional review board approval, 20 patients undergoing craniotomies for cerebrovascular surgery were tested; 10 were randomized to receive thiopental and 10 to receive desflurane. After each craniotomy, a Neurotrend probe (Diametrics Medical, Minneapolis, MN) was inserted to measure tissue PO2, carbon dioxide pressure, and pH in a tissue region at risk to develop ischemia during temporary brain artery occlusion. Thiopental or desflurane was administered to produce burst suppression of electroencephalography, and then temporary artery occlusion was performed during aneurysm or extracerebral-to-intracerebral bypass surgery.RESULTS:
Thiopental produced no change in tissue gases or pH, but temporary artery clipping in thiopental-treated patients decreased PO2 30% (P < 0.05). Desflurane increased PO2 70% (P < 0.05), and tissue oxygenation remained elevated during temporary artery occlusion. Tissue pH did not decrease in either group during temporary brain artery occlusion.CONCLUSION:
Thiopental has a metabolically neutral effect on brain tissue gases and pH, even though it is known to decrease cerebral oxygen consumption. The metabolic depressant and vasodilator effects of desflurane enhance tissue oxygenation and attenuate tissue PO2 reductions produced by artery occlusion. Both thiopental and desflurane inhibit ischemic lactic acidosis and decreases in pH.