Clinical vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) are devastating complications of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Several theories involving platelet activation have been postulated as potential explanations of the development of clinical vasospasm and DCI. However, the effects of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT; aspirin and clopidogrel) on clinical vasospasm and DCI have not been previously investigated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of DAPT on clinical vasospasm and DCI in aSAH patients.
Analysis of patients treated for aSAH during the period from July 2009 to April 2014 was performed in a single-institution retrospective study. Patients were divided into 2 groups: patients who underwent stent-assisted coiling or placement of flow diverters requiring DAPT (DAPT group) and patients who underwent coiling only without DAPT (control group). The frequency of symptomatic clinical vasospasm and DCI and of hemorrhagic complications was compared between the 2 groups, utilizing univariate and multivariate logistic regression.
Of 312 aSAH patients considered for this study, 161 met the criteria for inclusion and were included in the analysis (85 patients in the DAPT group and 76 patients in the control group). The risks of clinical vasospasm (OR 0.244, CI 95% 0.097–0.615, p = 0.003) and DCI (OR 0.056, CI 95% 0.01–0.318, p = 0.001) were significantly lower in patients receiving DAPT. The rates of hemorrhagic complications associated with placement of external ventricular drains and ventriculoperitoneal shunts were similar in both groups (4% vs 2%, p = 0.9).
The use of DAPT was associated with a lower risk of clinical vasospasm and DCI in patients treated for aSAH, without an increased risk of hemorrhagic complications.