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Andreas Raabe, Jügen Beck, Mike Keller, Hartmuth Vatter, Michael Zimmermann, and Volker Seifert

Object. Hypervolemia and hypertension therapy is routinely used for prophylaxis and treatment of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm at many institutions. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing debate about the preferred modality (hypervolemia, hypertension, or both), the degree of therapy (moderate or aggressive), and the risk or benefit of hypervolemia, moderate hypertension, and aggressive hypertension in patients following subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Methods. Monitoring data and patient charts for 45 patients were retrospectively searched to identify periods of hypervolemia, moderate hypertension, or aggressive hypertension. Measurements of central venous pressure, fluid input, urine output, arterial blood pressure, intracranial pressure, and oxygen partial pressure (PO2) in the brain tissue were extracted from periods ranging from 1 hour to 24 hours. For these periods, the change in brain tissue PO2 and the incidence of complications were analyzed.

During the 55 periods of moderate hypertension, an increase in brain tissue PO2 was found in 50 cases (90%), with complications occurring in three patients (8%). During the 25 periods of hypervolemia, an increase in brain oxygenation was found during three intervals (12%), with complications occurring in nine patients (53%). During the 10 periods of aggressive hypervolemic hypertension, an increase in brain oxygenation was found during six of the intervals (60%), with complications in five patients (50%).

Conclusions. When hypervolemia treatment is applied as in this study, it may be associated with increased risks. Note, however, that further studies are needed to determine the role of this therapeutic modality in the care of patients with cerebral vasospasm. In poor-grade patients, moderate hypertension (cerebral perfusion pressure 80–120 mm Hg) in a normovolemic, hemodiluted patient is an effective method of improving cerebral oxygenation and is associated with a lower complication rate compared with hypervolemia or aggressive hypertension therapy.