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Bryce K. A. Weir, Gail L. Kongable, Neal F. Kassell, John R. Schultz, Laura L. Truskowski, Ashley Sigrest, and Investigators

Object. Cigarette smoking is associated with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and subsequent vasospasm. The purpose of this study was to quantify this association.

Methods. Nearly 3500 patients with SAH from North America and Europe have been enrolled in five different multicenter, controlled studies coordinated at the Neuroclinical Trials Center of the Virginia Neurological Institute at the University of Virginia. Among the prospective data gathered were whether the patient smoked at the time of their most recent SAH and the evolution of angiographic vasospasm. The rate of smoking in the patients enrolled in the studies was compared with the expected rate by using a chi-square statistic adjusted for age and gender, in the general population in the United States (U.S.) and Europe. In virtually all age and gender subgroups, and for the combined populations in the five clinical trials, patients with SAH reported current smoking rates 2.5 times higher than expected based on U.S. and European national surveys (p < 0.0001). Cigarette smoking was also associated with younger age at onset of SAH (5–10 years, p < 0.0001) and increased incidence of clinically confirmed vasospasm (p < 0.005).

Conclusions. The findings of a significantly increased representation of current cigarette smokers in the study populations and significant association with younger age at the time of SAH and increased incidence of vasospasm concur with recent reports of smoking as a significant risk factor for ruptured aneurysms and subsequent vasospasm.

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Giuseppe Lanzino, Neal F. Kassell, Teresa P. Germanson, Gail L. Kongable, Laura L. Truskowski, James C. Torner, John A. Jane, and Participants

✓ Advanced age is a recognized prognostic indicator of poor outcome after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The relationship of age to other prognostic factors and outcome was evaluated using data from the multicenter randomized trial of nicardipine in SAH conducted in 21 neurosurgical centers in North America. Among the 906 patients who were studied, five different age groups were considered: 40 years or less, 41 to 50, 51 to 60, 61 to 70, and more than 71 years. Twenty-three percent of the individuals enrolled were older than 60 years of age. Women outnumbered men in all age groups.

Level of consciousness (p = 0.0002) and World Federation of Neurological Surgeons grade (p = 0.0001) at admission worsened with advancing age. Age was also related to the presence of a thick subarachnoid clot (p = 0.0001), intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.0003), and hydrocephalus (p = 0.0001) on an admission computerized tomography scan. The rebleeding rate increased from 4.5% in the youngest age group to 16.4% in patients more than 70 years of age (p = 0.002). As expected, preexisting medical conditions, such as diabetes (p = 0.028), hypertension (p = 0.0001), and pulmonary (p = 0.0084), myocardial (p = 0.0001), and cerebrovascular diseases (p = 0.0001), were positively associated with age. There were no age-related differences in the day of admission following SAH, timing of the surgery and/or location, and size (small vs. large) of the ruptured aneurysm.

During the treatment period, the incidence of severe complications (that is, those complications considered life threatening by the reporting investigator) increased with advancing age, occurring in 28%, 33%, 36%, 40%, and 46% of the patients in each advancing age group, respectively (p = 0.0002). No differences were observed in the reported frequency of surgical complications. No age-related differences were found in the overall incidence of angiographic vasospasm; however, symptomatic vasospasm was more frequently reported in the older age groups (p = 0.01). Overall outcome, assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 3 months post-SAH, was poorer with advancing age (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis of overall outcome, adjusting for the different prognostic factors, did not remove the age effect, which suggests that the aging brain has a less optimal response to the initial bleeding. Age as a risk factor is a continuum; however, there seems to be a significant increased risk of poor outcome after the age of 60 years.

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Gail L. Kongable, Giuseppe Lanzino, Teresa P. Germanson, Laura L. Truskowski, Wayne M. Alves, James C. Torner, Neal F. Kassell, and the Participants

✓ Female gender is a recognized risk factor for the occurrence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. In the present study the authors analyzed differences in admission characteristics and outcome between 578 women (64%) and 328 men (36%) who were enrolled in a recently completed clinical trial. The female-to-male ratio was nearly 2:1. The women in the study were older than the men (mean age 51.4 years vs. 47.3 years, respectively, p < 0.001). Female patients harbored aneurysms of the internal carotid artery more frequently than male patients (36.8% vs. 18.0%, p < 0.001) and more often had multiple aneurysms (32.4% vs. 17.6%, p < 0.001). On the other hand, anterior cerebral artery aneurysms were more commonly encountered in men (46.1% in men vs. 26.6% in women, p < 0.001). Other baseline prognostic factors were balanced between the gender groups. Surgery was performed equally in both sexes (98%), although the time to operation was shorter for women (mean 3.6 days for women vs. 5.3 days for men, p = 0.0002). In the placebo group, the occurrence of vasospasm was not statistically different between the two groups. Primary causes of death and disability were the same, and favorable outcome rates at 3 months were not statistically different between the genders (69.7% for women vs. 73.4% for men, p = 0.243). The odds of a favorable outcome in women versus one in men were not statistically significant either before or after adjustment for age. These observations lead the authors to suggest that although women are older and harbor more aneurysms, the 3-month outcome for women and men who experience aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage is the same.

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Neal F. Kassell, James C. Torner, E. Clarke Haley Jr., John A. Jane, Harold P. Adams, Gail L. Kongable, and Participants

✓ The International Cooperative Study on the Timing of Aneurysm Surgery evaluated the results of surgical and medical management in 3521 patients between December, 1980, and July, 1983. At admission, 75% of patients were in good neurological condition and surgery was performed in 83%. At the 6-month evaluation, 26% of the patients had died and 58% exhibited a complete recovery. Vasospasm and rebleeding were the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in addition to the initial bleed. Predictors for mortality included the patient's decreased level of consciousness and increased age, thickness of the subarachnoid hemorrhage clot on computerized tomography, elevated blood pressure, preexisting medical illnesses, and basilar aneurysms. The results presented here document the status of management in the 1980's.