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The effect of barbiturates on regional blood flows

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The intravenous administration of sodium pentobarbital to dogs is associated with a decrease in cardiac contractile force and arterial blood pressure. The latter appears to be due to vasodilatation in major vascular beds, rather than primarily to cardiac depression. Indeed, in most animals cardiac output increases, presumably as a function of increased venous return. The regional blood flows are frequently maintained or augmented, in spite of the decreased arterial perfusion pressure. When regional flows do decrease, the operative mechanism appears to be the decreased arterial perfusion pressure, rather than reflex vasoconstriction.


Si l’on injecte du pentobarbital sodique par voie endoveineuse à des chiens, il s’ensuit une diminution de la force de contraction du myocarde et de la tension artérielle. Cette dernière est attribuable apparemment à une vasodilatation dans des lits vasculaires importants plutôt qu’à une dépression du muscle cardiaque. Chez la plupart des animaux, le débit cardiaque augmente à cause de l’augmentation du retour veineux, nous présumons. En dépit de la diminution de la pression de perfusion artérielle, les débits sanguins régionaux sont souvent maintenus ou augmentés. S’il arrive que les débits régionaux diminuent, le mécanisme en cause semble être la diminution de la pression de perfusion artérielle plutôt que la vasoconstriction réflexe.

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Correspondence to Keith L. MacCannell.

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This work was supported by the British Columbia Heart Association, the Medical Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Therapeutics.

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MacCannell, K.L. The effect of barbiturates on regional blood flows. Can. Anaes. Soc. J. 16, 1–6 (1969). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03005772

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  • Cardiac Output
  • Arterial Blood Pressure
  • Pentobarbital
  • Thiopental
  • Renal Blood Flow