Khajavi K. Ayzman I. Shearer D. Jones SC. Levy JH. Prayson RA. Skibinski CI. Hahn JF. Chyatte D. Prevention of chronic cerebral vasospasm in dogs with milrinone. Neurosurgery. 1997;40(2):354-62; discussion 362-3.


    Delayed cerebral ischemia resulting from vasospasm is a major cause of morbidity and death in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Milrinone, because it inhibits Type IV cyclic adenosine monophosphate-specific phosphodiesterase enzyme in both cardiac and vascular smooth muscle, is a powerful inotrope and vasodilator, but it has little effect on heart rate or blood pressure. Because of these properties, milrinone is an attractive potential therapy after subarachnoid hemorrhage. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of milrinone on chronic experimental cerebral vasospasm.  A double-hemorrhage canine model of vasospasm was used to study the efficacy of milrinone.  Angiographic vasospasm and systemic hemodynamics were compared in a treatment group of animals that received a loading dose of milrinone (0.05 mg/kg, intravenously) and then slow-release (0.05 mcg/kg/min) milrinone pellets (n = 10) and a control group that received placebo pellets (n = 9), over an 8-day period after the initial subarachnoid hemorrhage. The hemorrhage was created by injection of 4 ml of autologous, nonheparinized, arterial blood into the cisterna magna on Days 1 and 3.  Hemodynamic measurements, including cardiac output determinations, were made on Days 0, 1, 3, 6, and 8 with a pulmonary artery catheter, and angiographic vasospasm was assessed on Day 8 by comparison with baseline angiograms. RESULTS: Treatment with milrinone caused no significant changes in systemic hemodynamics. Angiographic vasospasm, however, was significantly reduced in the Day 8 angiograms for the treated group, compared with the control group (98.28 +/- 14.06 and 67.89 +/- 13.06% of original vessel cross-sectional area, respectively; P < 0.001). The authors conclude that milrinone is effective in preventing chronic cerebral vasospasm in a canine model of experimental chronic cerebral vasospasm.  This effect is independent of changes in systemic hemodynamics. Milrinone and related drugs warrant further investigation for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm.