Differential effect of three cyclooxygenase inhibitors on human cerebral blood flow velocity and carbon dioxide reactivity.
Prostaglandins are believed to play an important role in maintenance of cerebral blood flow and possibly in the vasodilatory response to carbon dioxide. Therefore, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin, which inhibit cyclooxygenase, might be expected to reduce cerebral blood flow and the response to hypercapnia. This could induce cerebral ischemia in patients with a hemodynamically critical circulation. It would also interfere with the measurement of cerebrovascular reserve using carbon dioxide.
The effect of a single dose of indomethacin and of two other cyclooxygenase inhibitors (aspirin and sulindac) on the cerebral circulation was measured using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography of the middle cerebral artery. Seven normal adults were studied in each drug group. Resting blood flow velocity and the responses to hypercapnia and to hyperventilation were measured.
Indomethacin resulted in a fall in basal middle cerebral artery flow velocity from a mean of 48.9 cm/s to 34.0 cm/s (P < .002). It also reduced the vasoconstrictor response to hypocapnia (induced by hyperventilation) from 37.5% to 20.7% (P < .003). There was a nonsignificant reduction in the vasodilatory response to 8% carbon dioxide (mean: predrug, 87.7%; postdrug, 61.0%), with marked intersubject variability. In contrast, basal middle cerebral artery velocity and vasoconstrictor and vasodilatory responses to changes in carbon dioxide were unchanged after aspirin or sulindac administration.
The lack of effect of aspirin on basal cerebral blood flow velocity and on vasodilatory reserve is reassuring; aspirin will not reduce cerebral blood flow or the response to a reduced perfusion pressure in patients with critically impaired cerebral hemodynamics. However, indomethacin should be avoided in such patients.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association