Prevention of fetal and maternal cyanide toxicity from nitroprusside with coinfusion of sodium thiosulfate in gravid ewes

Steven C. Curry, Michael W. Carlton, Robert A. Raschke

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25 Scopus citations


Coadministration of sodium thiosulfate with sodium nitroprusside (SNP) to children and adults prevents increases in cyanide concentrations during anesthesia or long-term SNP infusions. We wondered whether maternally administered sodium thiosulfate would prevent increases in fetal red cell cyanide concentrations in gravid ewes receiving SNP intrusions. Under anesthesia, the fetal head was delivered through a lateral hysterotomy for catheterization of the jugular vein; the fetus was left in utero. Six control ewes near term received SNP at 25 μg · kg-1 · min for 4 h. Norepinephrine was used to maintain maternal mean arterial pressure at 80% baseline values. Six experimental ewes received the same treatment except that sodium thiosulfate was infused with SNP (1 g sodium thiosulfate per 100 mg SNP). Serial red cell cyanide concentrations in ewes and fetuses were followed. One control fetal death resulted from abruptio placenta, and this ewe and fetus were excluded from analysis. An additional control ewe and fetus died from apparent cyanide poisoning late during the course of the experiment. While control ewes and fetuses suffered progressive increases in red cell cyanide concentrations into the toxic range, experimental ewes and fetuses never developed toxic red cell cyanide levels (ewes P < .003, fetuses P < .004). These data, if applicable to humans, suggest that coadministration of sodium thiosulfate with SNP to pregnant women at doses currently in use for nonpregnant patients will prevent fetal, as well as maternal, cyanide toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1126
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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