Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-320

Application of brain perfusion SPECT in the evaluation of response to zolpidem therapy in consciousness disorder due to traumatic brain injury

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Trauma Research Center, Shahid Rajaee (Emtiaz) Trauma Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
3 Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research Center, Namazi Teaching Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abbas Rakhsha
Department of Neurosurgery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.IJNM_97_20

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Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a critical health problem with various comorbidities and socioeconomic consequences. Tending to increase in recent decades, TBI results in more cases of consciousness disorders including vegetative state (VS)/minimally conscious state (MCS). However, no definite or effective treatment still exists for these conditions. The aim of this article is to study the effects of zolpidem in patients with VS caused by TBI by using brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Materials and Methods: This was a prospective clinical trial on a cohort of patients with VS. We evaluated the TBI database to find VS/MCS patients, between the ages of 20 and 65 years. We received written consent from their family members prior to enrollment and compared their clinical status and brain perfusion SPECT prior and after 2 weeks of zolpidem therapy. Results: Among the 12 patients included in this study, six patients changed to MCS after 2 weeks. Comparison of their motor score, revealed a statistically significant difference (2.08 vs. 3.75, P = 0.007, respectively). None of the quantitative or qualitative brain perfusion parameters showed any differences after zolpidem therapy. However, the perfusion pattern, with focal or multifocal cortical defects, was significantly more prevalent in the responder group (five patients vs. one patient, P = 0.015). Conclusion: Zolpidem therapy may improve consciousness levels and motor function in a considerable portion of VS patients with TBI. This study showed that the presence of focal brain perfusion defect can predict response to zolpidem.

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