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Suresh N. Magge, H. Isaac Chen, Rohan Ramakrishna, Liyi Cen, Zhen Chen, J. Paul Elliott, H. Richard Winn, and Peter D. Le Roux

Object

Vasospasm is a leading cause of morbidity and death following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). It is important to predict which patients are at risk for vasospasm so that interventions can be made. There are several potential risk factors for vasospasm, one of which is age. However, the effect of age on vasospasm, particularly symptomatic vasospasm, remains controversial.

Methods

Three hundred ninety-one patients were retrospectively identified from a prospective observational database of patients with SAH who had been admitted to a single center. Demographic and clinical data were recorded, and cerebral angiograms obtained at admission and between 5 and 10 days later were compared. The relationship between age and angiographic and symptomatic vasospasms was examined using logistic regression techniques.

Results

Mild (86 patients), moderate (69 patients), severe (56 patients), and no angiographic vasospasms (180 patients) were documented by comparing admission and follow-up angiograms in each patient. Symptomatic vasospasm was identified in 69 patients (17.6%). Angiographic vasospasm was more frequent as age decreased. Except in patients < 30 years old, the frequency of symptomatic vasospasm also increased with decreasing age (p = 0.0001). After adjusting for variables known to be associated with vasospasm, an advanced age was associated with a reduced incidence of any angiographic vasospasm (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94–0.97), severe angiographic vasospasm (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.95–0.98), and symptomatic vasospasm (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96–0.99).

Conclusions

Results in this study show that a younger age is associated with an increased incidence of angiographic and symptomatic vasospasm.

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Michelle J. Smith, Peter D. Le Roux, J. Paul Elliott, and H. Richard Winn

Object. Nitric oxide (NO) metabolism may influence vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). It has been demonstrated in recent studies that erythrocytes carry NO for release in vessels, whereas transfused erythrocytes may lack stored NO. Several converging lines of evidence also indicate that blood transfusion may exacerbate poor outcomes in some critically ill patients. In this study the authors hypothesized that patients with SAH who received red blood cell (RBC) transfusions were at greater risk for vasospasm and poor outcome.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed a prospective observational database, including hospital records, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and pre- and postoperative four-vessel angiograms, in which the management methods used in 441 patients undergoing surgery for ruptured cerebral aneurysms were described. Two hundred seventy patients (61.2%) received an RBC transfusion during their hospital stay. After adjustment for Hunt and Hess grade, SAH grade on CT scans, delay between rupture and surgery, smoking status, and intraoperative aneurysm rupture, a worse outcome was more likely in patients who received intraoperative blood (odds ratio [OR] 2.44, confidence interval [CI] 1.32–4.52; 120 patients). Intraoperative RBC transfusion did not influence subsequent angiographically confirmed vasospasm (OR 0.92, CI 0.6–1.4). Worse outcome was observed in patients who received blood postoperatively (OR 1.81, CI 1.21–2.7), but not after adjustments were made for confounding variables (OR 1.48, CI 0.83–2.63). Angiographic vasospasm was observed in 217 patients and, after adjusting for confounding variables, was more frequent among patients who received postoperative RBC transfusion (OR 1.68, CI 1.02–2.75). Among patients in whom angiographically confirmed vasospasm developed there was a tendency to have received more blood than in those with no vasospasm; however, a clear dose-dependent response was not observed.

Conclusions. Development of angiographically confirmed vasospasm after SAH is associated with postoperative RBC transfusion and worse outcome is associated with intraoperative RBC transfusion. Before blood is transfused, patients with SAH should be carefully assessed to determine if they are symptomatic because of anemia.

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J. Paul Elliott, David W. Newell, Derek J. Lam, Joseph M. Eskridge, Colleen M. Douville, Peter D. Le Roux, David H. Lewis, Marc R. Mayberg, M. Sean Grady, and H. Richard Winn

Object. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that balloon angioplasty is superior to papaverine infusion for the treatment of proximal anterior circulation arterial vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Between 1989 and 1995, 125 vasospastic distal internal carotid artery or proximal middle cerebral artery vessel segments were treated in 52 patients.

Methods. Blood flow velocities of the involved vessels were assessed by using transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitoring in relation to the day of treatment with balloon angioplasty or papaverine infusion. Balloon angioplasty and papaverine infusion cohorts were compared based on mean pre- and posttreatment velocity at 24 and 48 hours using the one-tailed, paired-samples t-test. Balloon angioplasty alone was performed in 101 vessel segments (81%) in 39 patients (75%), whereas papaverine infusion alone was used in 24 vessel segments (19%) in 13 patients (25%). Although repeated treatment after balloon angioplasty was needed in only one vessel segment, repeated treatment following papaverine infusion was required in 10 vessel segments (42%) in six patients because of recurrent vasospasm (p < 0.001). Seven vessel segments (29%) with recurrent spasm following papaverine infusion were treated with balloon angioplasty. Although vessel segments treated with papaverine demonstrated a 20% mean decrease in blood flow velocity (p < 0.009) on posttreatment Day 1, velocities were not significantly lower than pretreatment levels by posttreatment Day 2 (p = 0.133). Balloon angioplasty resulted in a 45% mean decrease in velocity to a normal level following treatment (p < 0.001), a decrease that was sustained.

Conclusions. Balloon angioplasty is superior to papaverine infusion for the permanent treatment of proximal anterior circulation vasospasm following aneurysmal SAH.

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Peter D. Le Roux, David W. Newell, Arthur M. Lam, M. Sean Grady, and H. Richard Winn

✓ Jugular bulb oxygen monitoring can be used to estimate the adequacy of cerebral blood flow to support cerebral metabolism after severe head injury. In the present study, the authors studied the cerebral arteriovenous oxygen difference (AVDO2) before and after treatment in 32 head-injured patients (Glasgow Coma Scale scores ≤ 8) to examine the relationships among AVDO2 and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), delayed cerebral infarction, and outcome. Fifteen patients (Group A) underwent craniotomy for hematoma evacuation and 17 (Group B) received mannitol for sustained intracranial hypertension (intracranial pressure > 20 mm Hg, > 10 minutes). Radiographic evidence of delayed cerebral infarction was observed in 14 patients. Overall, 17 patients died or were severely disabled. Cerebral AVDO2 was elevated before craniotomy or mannitol administration; the mean AVDO2 for all patients before treatment was 8.6 ± 1.8 vol%. Following craniotomy or mannitol administration, the AVDO2 decreased in 27 patients and increased in five patients (mean AVDO2 6.2 ± 2.1 vol% in all patients; 6 ± 1.9 vol% in Group A; and 6.4 ± 2.4 vol% in Group B). The mean CPP was 75 ± 9.8 mm Hg and no relationship with AVDO2 was demonstrated. Before treatment, the AVDO2 was not associated with delayed cerebral infarction or outcome. By contrast, a limited improvement in elevated AVDO2 after craniotomy or mannitol administration was significantly associated with delayed cerebral infarction (Group A: p < 0.001; Group B: p < 0.01). Similarly, a limited improvement in elevated AVDO2 after treatment was significantly associated with an unfavorable outcome (Group A: p < 0.01; Group B: p < 0.001). In conclusion, these findings strongly indicate that, despite adequate cerebral perfusion, limited improvement in elevated cerebral AVDO2 after treatment consisting of either craniotomy or mannitol administration may be used to help predict delayed cerebral infarction and poor outcome after traumatic brain injury.

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Peter D. Le Roux, David W. Newell, Arthur M. Lam, M. Sean Grady, and H. Richard Winn

Jugular bulb oxygen monitoring can be used to estimate the adequacy of cerebral blood flow to support cerebral metabolism after severe head injury. In the present study, the authors studied the cerebral arteriovenous oxygen difference (AVDO2) before and after treatment in 32 head-injured patients (Glasgow Coma Scale scores ¾ 8) to examine the relationships among AVDO2 and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), delayed cerebral infarction, and outcome. Fifteen patients (Group A) underwent craniotomy for hematoma evacuation and 17 (Group B) received mannitol for sustained intracranial hypertension (intracranial pressure > 20 mm Hg, > 10 minutes). Radiographic evidence of delayed cerebral infarction was observed in 14 patients. Overall, 17 patients died or were severely disabled. Cerebral AVDO2 was elevated before craniotomy or mannitol administration; the mean AVDO2 for all patients before treatment was 8.6 ± 1.8 vol%. Following craniotomy or mannitol administration, the AVDO2 decreased in 27 patients and increased in five patients (mean AVDO2 6.2 ± 2.1 vol% in all patients; 6 ± 1.9 vol% in Group A; and 6.4 ± 2.4 vol% in Group B). The mean CPP was 75 ± 9.8 mm Hg and no relationship with AVDO2 was demonstrated. Before treatment, the AVDO2 was not associated with delayed cerebral infarction or outcome. By contrast, a limited improvement in elevated AVDO2 after craniotomy or mannitol administration was significantly associated with delayed cerebral infarction (Group A: p < 0.001; Group B: p < 0.01). Similarly, a limited improvement in elevated AVDO2 after treatment was significantly associated with an unfavorable outcome (Group A: p < 0.01; Group B: p < 0.001). In conclusion, these findings strongly indicate that, despite adequate cerebral perfusion, limited improvement in elevated cerebral AVDO2 after treatment consisting of either craniotomy or mannitol administration may be used to help predict delayed cerebral infarction and poor outcome after traumatic brain injury.

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J. Paul Elliott, Peter D. Le Roux, Galen Ransom, David W. Newell, M. Sean Grady, and H. Richard Winn

✓ To determine the relationship between clinical grade on admission and treatment cost after aneurysm rupture, the authors retrospectively examined the length of hospital stay (LOS) and total hospitalization costs (excluding professional fees) for 543 patients admitted for aneurysm surgery between 1983 and 1993. The overall median LOS was 18 days, with a range of 1 to 165 days. Increased median LOS correlated with Hunt and Hess Grades 0 to IV on admission (p< 0.001). Median LOS for Grade V patients was reduced, in part, because of early mortality. Increased treatment cost also correlated with worse admission clinical grade (p < 0.001). A significant proportion of total expenditures occurred early in the hospitalization for patients in all clinical grades. Identification of additional factors affecting the cost of aneurysm treatment is indicated to complement treatment outcome studies.

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Peter D. Le Roux, J. Paul Elliott, David W. Newell, M. Sean Grady, and H. Richard Winn

✓ To determine what factors predict outcome, the authors retrospectively reviewed the management of all 159 poor-grade patients admitted to Harborview Medical Center at the University of Washington who suffered aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage between 1983 and 1993. Favorable outcome (assessed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale) occurred in 53.9% of Hunt and Hess Grade IV, and 24.1% of Grade V patients. Outcome was largely determined by the initial hemorrhage and subsequent development of intractable intracranial hypertension or cerebral infarction. Using multivariate analysis, the authors developed three models to predict outcome. It was found that predicting outcome based only on clinical and diagnostic criteria present at admission may have resulted in withholding treatment from 30% of the patients who subsequently experienced favorable outcomes. It is concluded that aggressive management including surgical aneurysm obliteration can benefit patients with poor neurological grades and should not be denied solely on the basis of the neurological condition on admission.

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Peter D. Le Roux, J. Paul Elliott, Lois Downey, David W. Newell, M. Sean Grady, Marc R. Mayberg, Joseph M. Eskridge, and H. Richard Winn

✓ Several significant diagnostic and therapeutic advances in the management of subarachnoid hemorrhage have emerged during the last 10 years. The present study was undertaken to determine whether these advances have improved overall outcome in patients of low surgical risk and what factors predict outcome. The authors retrospectively reviewed the management of good-grade patients seen at the Harborview Medical Center at the University of Washington, who suffered ruptured anterior circulation aneurysms between 1983 and 1993. The results in this series demonstrate that favorable outcomes occurred in 96.8% of patients designated Hunt and Hess Grade I, 88.3% of those assigned Grade II, and 81.3% of those deemed Grade III after rupture of anterior circulation aneurysms. On the basis of clinical and radiographic factors present at admission, correct prediction can be made about all favorable, but only 17% of unfavorable outcomes. During the decade under investigation, the authors observed a significant (p = 0.002) increase in the number of favorable outcomes: 74.5% of patients treated during the first management period (1983–1987); 87% of patients treated during the second period (1987–1990); and 93.5% of patients treated during the third management period (1990–1993) experienced favorable outcomes. Improvements in critical-care techniques and the management of vasospasm may be associated with the improved outcome observed during this series.