A Direct Comparison between Norepinephrine and Phenylephrine for Augmenting Spinal Cord Perfusion in a Porcine Model of Spinal Cord Injury.
Streijger F, So K, Manouchehri N, Gheorghe A, Okon EB, Chan RM, Ng B, Shortt K, Sekhon MS, Griesdale DE, Kwon BK
Current clinical guidelines recommend elevating the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) to increase spinal cord perfusion in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI). This is typically achieved with vasopressors such as norepinephrine (NE) and phenylephrine (PE). These drugs differ in their pharmacological properties and potentially have different effects on spinal cord blood flow (SCBF), oxygenation (PO2), and downstream metabolism after injury. Using a porcine model of thoracic SCI, we evaluated how these vasopressors influenced intraparenchymal SCBF, PO2, hydrostatic pressure, and metabolism within the spinal cord adjacent to the injury site. Yorkshire pigs underwent a contusion/compression SCI at T10 and were randomized to receive either NE or PE for MAP elevation of 20 mm Hg, or no MAP augmentation. Prior to injury, a combined SCBF/PO2 sensor, a pressure sensor, and a microdialysis probe were inserted into the spinal cord adjacent to T10 at two locations: a "proximal" site and a "distal" site, 2 mm and 22 mm from the SCI, respectively. At the proximal site, NE and PE resulted in little improvement in SCBF during cord compression. Following decompression, NE resulted in increased SCBF and PO2, whereas decreased levels were observed for PE. However, both NE and PE were associated with a gradual decrease in the lactate to pyruvate (L/P) ratio after decompression. PE was associated with greater hemorrhage through the injury site than that in control animals. Combined, our results suggest that NE promotes better restoration of blood flow and oxygenation than PE in the traumatically injured spinal cord, thus providing a physiological rationale for selecting NE over PE in the hemodynamic management of acute SCI.