Evolution of the treatment of cerebral vasospasm

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✓ Cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a disease process for which the lack of effective treatments has plagued neurosurgeons for decades. Historically, successful treatment after SAH in the acute setting was often followed by a rapid, uncontrollable deterioration in the subacute interval. Little was known regarding the nature and progression of this condition until the mid-1800s, when the disease was first described by Gull. Insight into the origin and natural history of cerebral vasospasm came slowly over the next 100 years, until the 1950s. Over the past five decades our understanding of cerebral vasospasm has expanded exponentially. This newly discovered information has been used by neurosurgeons worldwide for successful treatment of complications associated with vasospasm. Nevertheless, although great strides have been made toward elucidating the causes of cerebral vasospasm, a lasting cure continues to elude experts and the disease continues to wreak havoc on patients after aneurysmal SAH.

Abbreviations used in this paper:CT = computerized tomography; CVA = cerebrovascular accident; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

✓ Cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a disease process for which the lack of effective treatments has plagued neurosurgeons for decades. Historically, successful treatment after SAH in the acute setting was often followed by a rapid, uncontrollable deterioration in the subacute interval. Little was known regarding the nature and progression of this condition until the mid-1800s, when the disease was first described by Gull. Insight into the origin and natural history of cerebral vasospasm came slowly over the next 100 years, until the 1950s. Over the past five decades our understanding of cerebral vasospasm has expanded exponentially. This newly discovered information has been used by neurosurgeons worldwide for successful treatment of complications associated with vasospasm. Nevertheless, although great strides have been made toward elucidating the causes of cerebral vasospasm, a lasting cure continues to elude experts and the disease continues to wreak havoc on patients after aneurysmal SAH.

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Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Scott Y. Rahimi, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Georgia, BI-3088, 1120 15th Street, Augusta, Georgia 30912. email: srahimi@mcg.edu.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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