The effects of fentanyl and sufentanil on intracranial pressure and cerebral blood flow in rabbits with an acute cryogenic brain injury

M. H. Zornow

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4 Scopus citations


The cerebrovascular response to the administration of equipotent doses of fentanyl and sufentanil was evaluated in New Zealand white rabbits following cryogenic brain injury. In a preliminary study consisting of 10 animals, it was documented that the cerebral blood flow response to alterations in the PaCO2 remained intact in this model of brain injury. Subsequently, 28 rabbits were anesthetized with 1.5% halothane in oxygen, paralyzed with pancuronium, and mechanically ventilated. A cryogenic lesion was created over the left hemisphere. One hour later, the intracranial pressure had risen to a mean value of 15 mm Hg. Baseline measurements were then made of monitored variables, which included heart rate, mean arterial pressure, central venous pressure, intracranial pressure, temperature, and arterial blood gases. Global cerebral blood flow was measured utilizing a hydrogen clearance technique. The animals were then randomized to receive an infusion of fentanyl, sufentanil, or an equal volume of normal saline by i.v. infusion over 5 min. At the conclusion of the opioid infusions, repeated measurements of hemodynamic variables and intracranial pressure were recorded for 15 min and a second cerebral blood flow measurement was made. There were no significant differences in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, central venous pressure, intracranial pressure, cerebral blood flow, or blood gas values between the three groups prior to the administration of fentanyl, sufentanil, or normal saline. At the conclusion of the 5 min infusion, the intracranial pressure had increased by approximately 5 mm Hg in all three groups. The mean arterial pressure decreased to a similar degree in the fentanyl and sufentanil groups and was significantly lower than the mean arterial pressure in the saline group. Although the cerebral perfusion pressure decreased in all three groups, cerebral blood flow was not significantly affected. These results suggest that there is no significant difference in the effects of fentanyl vs. sufentanil on mean arterial pressure, intracranial pressure, or cerebral blood flow in this model of acute brain injury and elevated intracranial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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