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Malcolm D. M. Shaw, Patrick M. Foy, Michael Conway, John D. Pickard, Peter Maloney, John A. Spillane, and David W. Chadwick

✓ Recent evidence has suggested that the delayed cerebral ischemic deficits that often follow surgery for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may be due to a proliferative vasculopathy. This vascular pathology may result from an interaction between the platelets and the vessel wall. A single-blind controlled trial of dipyridamole administration in 677 patients presenting with SAH (of whom 348 came to surgery) was undertaken to test the hypothesis that the modification of platelet behavior might reduce the incidence of ischemic deficits. Blind independent assessment of the outcome in the surgical group based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale and the specific neurological deficits revealed no significant differences between the control and treatment groups.

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Malcolm D. M. Shaw, Marinus Vermeulen, Gordon D. Murray, John D. Pickard, B. Anthony Bell, and Graham M. Teasdale

Object. Delayed cerebral ischemia remains an important cause of death and disability in patients who have suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Endothelin (ET) has a potent contractile effect on cerebral arteries and arterioles and has been implicated in vasospasm. The authors administered ETA/B receptor antagonist (TAK-044) to patients suffering from aneurysmal SAH. They then assessed whether this agent reduced the occurrence of delayed cerebral ischemic events and examined its safety profile in this group of patients.

Methods. Four hundred twenty patients who had suffered an SAH were recruited into a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group phase II trial. The primary end point was whether a delayed ischemic event occurred within 3 months after the first dose of the study drug and the secondary end points included determining whether a delayed ischemic event occurred by 10 days after the first dose of the study drug, whether a new cerebral infarct was demonstrated on a computerized tomography scan or at postmortem examination by 3 months after administration of the initial dose, the patient's Glasgow Outcome Scale scores at 3 months after the initial dose, and adverse events.

There was a lower incidence of delayed ischemic events at 3 months in the TAK-044—treated group: 29.5% compared with 36.6% in a group of patients receiving placebo. The estimated relative risk was 0.8 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.61 to 1.06. There were no significant differences in the secondary end points, including clinical outcomes in the placebo—treated and TAK-044—treated groups.

Conclusions. The TAK-044 was well tolerated by patients who had suffered an SAH, even though hypotension and headache—side effects compatible with the drug's vasodilatory properties—occurred. It would be valuable to proceed to a fully powered phase III trial of an ET receptor antagonist in treating aneurysmal SAH.