Effects of head-down positioning on regional central nervous system perfusion in isoflurane-anesthetized horses

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17 Scopus citations


Objective - To test the hypothesis that head-down positioning in anesthetized horses increases intracranial pressure (ICP) and decreases cerebral and spinal cord blood flows. Animals - 6 adult horses. Procedures - For each horse, anesthesia was induced with ketamine hydrochloride and xylazine hydrochloride and maintained with 1.57% isoflurane in oxygen. Once in right lateral recumbency, horses were ventilated to maintain normocapnia. An ICP transducer was placed in the subarachnoid space, and catheters were placed in the left cardiac ventricle and in multiple vessels. Blood flow measurements were made by use of a fluorescent microsphere technique while each horse was in horizontal and head-down positions. Inferential statistical analyses were performed via repeated-measures ANOVA and Dunn-Sidak comparisons. Results: - Because 1 horse developed extreme hypotension, data from 5 horses were analyzed. During head-down positioning, mean ± SEM ICP increased to 55 ± 2 mm Hg, compared with 31 ± 2 mm Hg during horizontal positioning; cerebral perfusion pressure was unchanged. Compared with findings during horizontal positioning, blood flow to the cerebrum, cerebellum, and cranial portion of the brainstem decreased significantly by approximately 20% during head-down positioning; blood flows within the pons and medulla were mildly but not significantly decreased. Spinal cord blood flow was low (9 mL/min/100 g of tissue) and unaffected by position. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Head-down positioning increased heart-brain hydrostatic gradients in isoflurane-anesthetized horses, thereby decreasing cerebral blood flow and, to a greater extent, increasing ICP During anesthesia, CNS regions with low blood flows in horses may be predisposed to ischemic injury induced by high ICP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-743
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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