Priming protects the spinal cord in an experimental aortic occlusion model.

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Paraplegia is a devastating complication in aortic aneurysm surgery. Modifying the spinal cord vasculature is a promising method in spinal cord protection. The aim of this study was to assess whether the spinal cord can be primed by occluding thoracic segmental arteries before simulated aneurysm repair in a porcine model.Twelve piglets were randomly assigned to the priming group (6) and the control group (6). Eight uppermost thoracic segmental arteries were occluded at 5-minute intervals in the priming group before a 25-minute aortic crossclamp. In the control group, the aorta was crossclamped for 25 minutes. During the first 5 minutes, 8 segmental arteries were occluded. After the aortic crossclamping, piglets were observed under anesthesia for 5 hours and followed up 5 days postoperatively. Near-infrared spectroscopy, motor-evoked potentials, blood samples, neurology with the modified Tarlov score, and histopathology of the spinal cord were assessed.The median Tarlov score during the first postoperative day was higher in the priming group than in the control group (P = .001). At the end, 50% of the control animals had paraplegia compared with 0% of paraplegia in the priming group. The mean regional histopathologic score differed between the priming group and the control group (P = .02). The priming group had higher motor-evoked potentials during the operation at separate time points. The lactate levels were lower in the priming group compared with the control group (Pg = .001, Pg×t = .18).Acute priming protects the spinal cord from ischemic injury in an experimental aortic crossclamp model.

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