Intravascular cooling for rapid induction of moderate hypothermia in severely head-injured patients: results of a multicenter study (IntraCool)
OBJECTIVE To assess the effectiveness of pentobarbital and thiopental to control raised intracranial pressure (ICP), refractory to first level measures, in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. MATERIAL AND METHODS Prospective, randomized study to compare the effectiveness between two treatments: pentobarbital and thiopental. The patients will be selected from those admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with a severe traumatic brain injury (postresuscitation Glasgow Coma Scale equal or less than 8 points) and raised ICP (ICP>20 mmHg) refractory to first level measures according to the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines. The adverse effects of both treatments were also collected. RESULTS We present the results of the first 20 patients included. Ten received pentobarbital and the other ten thiopental. There were no statistically significance differences in patients'characteristics (age, sex, severity of the trauma at admission and comorbilities). There were no differences between both groups neither in the Glasgow Coma Scale at admission (thiopental six points; pentobarbital seven points; P=0.26) nor in the admission Cranial Tomography, according to the Traumatic Coma Data Bank Classification. Thiopental treatment controlled raised ICP in five cases and pentobarbital in two cases (P=0.16). Five patients in the thiopental group died and eight in the pentobarbital group (P=0.16). There were no statistically differences between both groups regarding to the presence of hypotension (P=1) or infectious complications. CONCLUSIONS These preliminary results indicate that thiopental could be more effective than pentobarbital in patients with refractory intracranial hypertension. These results support previous experimental findings that show that both treatments are not equal and justify to continue this study.