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Volume 19 Supplement 2

Danish Society for Emergency Medicine: Research Symposium 2011

  • Poster Presentation
  • Open Access

Neuro protective effect of barbiturates leading to successful cerebral recovery after drug induced cardiac arrest and following severe multi organ fail

Contributed equally
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine201219 (Suppl 2) :P32

  • Published:


  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Cerebral Ischemia
  • Organ Failure
  • Neuro Protective Effect
  • Barbiturate


Barbiturates are known to have a neuro protective effect if given prior to cerebral ischemia. Often in cardiac arrest cases the cerebral ischemia occurs before barbiturates can be administrated.


Case report.


23 year old woman suffered cardiac arrest due to a combined drug overdose with high doses of barbiturates, benzodiazepines and opioids. The patient was found unconscious and after 8 minutes of successful resuscitation transferred to the ICU where she rapidly developed multi organ failure due to the hypoxia and hypo perfusion during the time of cardiac arrest. The organ failure included lever, kidney, lung, pancreas and coagulation, but due to the neuron protective effect of barbiturates, there were no symptoms of cerebral damage. After weeks of stabilizing organ functions the patient was discharged with sustained damage to the kidneys, but no sign of cerebral damage.


In this case the patients self administration of the barbiturates prior to the cardiac arrest proved to be perfect timed and resulted in an optimal cerebral protection. Brian P. Head et. al (2007) has shown that barbiturates administrated after a hypoxic period still can have a protective effect. Therefore barbiturates can play a crucial role in preventing cerebral damage given both prior to and after ischemic insult.


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of anaesthetics, Sygehus Vendsyssel, Hjørring, Denmark
Department of cardiology, Aalborg Sygehus, Denmark


© Borup and Nielsen; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.