Potassium and the pathogenesis of cerebral arterial spasm in dog and man

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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center and the Durham Veterans Administration Hospital, Durham, North Carolina
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✓ This study investigates the possibility that the intracranial arterial spasm occurring in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage might be due to potassium released from blood clots surrounding the involved cerebral arteries. Although cerebral arterial spasm could be induced in the dog by the injection of potassium into the chiasmatic cistern, it only occurred with potassium concentrations higher than those expected to result from hemolysis of subarachnoid clots. Furthermore, the potassium concentrations were not elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid of human patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, and the individual potassium values could not be correlated with the presence or degree of spasm encountered in these patients.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Robert H. Wilkins, M.D., Division of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27706.
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