Change in estimated cerebral perfusion pressure after treatment with nimodipine or magnesium sulfate in patients with preeclampsia

Michael A. Belfort, George R. Saade, Marwan Yared, Charlotta Grunewald, J. Alan Herd, Michael A. Varner, Henry Nisell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Data are accumulating to suggest that cerebral perfusion pressure may be either abnormally high or low in preeclampsia and eclampsia. Little is known of the cerebral perfusion pressure effects of magnesium sulfate or nimodipine. Our objective in this study was to compare the change in cerebral perfusion pressure in patients with severe preeclampsia randomly selected to receive nimodipine or magnesium sulfate. STUDY DESIGN: Patients with severe preeclampsia were randomly selected to receive magnesium sulfate (6 g bolus and 2 g/hr intravenous infusion) or nimodipine (60 mg taken orally every 4 hours). Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure flow velocities in the right and left middle cerebral arteries, and the results were averaged. Measurements were obtained before treatment (baseline) and 30 minutes after the magnesium sulfate bolus was completely infused or 30 minutes after the nimodipine was ingested. Studies were performed before any other intervention. The person performing the ultrasonography was unaware of the patient's group assignment. Estimated cerebral perfusion pressure was calculated with the following formula: Estimated cerebral perfusion pressure = Velocity(mean) x [(Blood pressure(mean) - Blood pressure(diastolic))/(Velocity(mean) -Velocity(diastotic))]. The difference between estimated cerebral perfusion pressure at baseline and after treatment was compared between the 2 groups by means of the Mann-Whitney rank sum test. RESULTS: Nine patients were randomly selected to receive nimodipine and 12 to receive magnesium sulfate. Patient demographics and severity of condition were not significantly different between the 2 groups. The change in estimated cerebral perfusion pressure was significantly different between the groups. Estimated cerebral perfusion pressure increased after nimodipine use and decreased after magnesium sulfate use. CONCLUSION: Shortly after administration to patients with severe preeclampsia, nimodipine resulted in increased cerebral perfusion pressure in comparison with magnesium sulfate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-407
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Middle cerebral artery
  • Nimodipine
  • Preeclampsia
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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