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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.

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

The authors used daily transcranial Doppler (TCD) evaluation 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. Blood flow velocities of the involved vessels were assessed using TCD monitoring in relation to the day of treatment with balloon angioplasty or papaverine infusion. Balloon angioplasty and papavarine infusion cohorts were compared based on mean pretreatment velocity and mean 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 following 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), which was sustained. The authors conclude that balloon angioplasty is superior to papaverine infusion for the permanent treatment of proximal anterior circulation vasospasm following aneurysmal SAH.