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E. François Aldrich, Randall Higashida, Abdel Hmissi, Elizabeth J. Le, R. Loch Macdonald, Angelina Marr, Stephan A. Mayer, Sébastien Roux and Nicolas Bruder

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The presence of thick, diffuse subarachnoid blood may portend a worse clinical course and outcome, independently of other known prognostic factors such as age, aneurysm size, and initial clinical grade.

METHODS

In this post hoc analysis, patients with aSAH undergoing surgical clipping (n = 383) or endovascular coiling (n = 189) were pooled from the placebo arms of the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS)–2 and CONSCIOUS-3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 studies, respectively. Patients without and with thick, diffuse SAH (≥ 4 mm thick and involving ≥ 3 basal cisterns) on admission CT scans were compared. Clot size was centrally adjudicated. All-cause mortality and vasospasm-related morbidity at 6 weeks and Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOSE) scores at 12 weeks after aSAH were assessed. The effect of the thick and diffuse cisternal aSAH on vasospasm-related morbidity and mortality, and on poor clinical outcome at 12 weeks, was evaluated using logistic regression models.

RESULTS

Overall, 294 patients (51.4%) had thick and diffuse aSAH. Compared to patients with less hemorrhage burden, these patients were older (median age 55 vs 50 years) and more often had World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) grade III–V SAH at admission (24.1% vs 16.5%). At 6 weeks, all-cause mortality and vasospasm-related morbidity occurred in 36.1% (95% CI 30.6%–41.8%) of patients with thick, diffuse SAH and in 14.7% (95% CI 10.8%–19.5%) of those without thick, diffuse SAH. Individual event rates were 7.5% versus 2.5% for all-cause death, 19.4% versus 6.8% for new cerebral infarct, 28.2% versus 9.4% for delayed ischemic neurological deficit, and 24.8% versus 10.8% for rescue therapy due to cerebral vasospasm, respectively. Poor clinical outcome (GOSE score ≥ 4) was observed in 32.7% (95% CI 27.3%–38.3%) and 16.2% (95% CI 12.1%–21.1%) of patients with and without thick, diffuse SAH, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In a large, centrally adjudicated population of patients with aSAH, WFNS grade at admission and thick, diffuse SAH independently predicted vasospasm-related morbidity and poor 12-week clinical outcome. Patients with thick, diffuse cisternal SAH may be an important cohort to target in future clinical trials of treatment for vasospasm.