Object. A model of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in pigs was developed to investigate bilirubin concentration in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as a potential marker of sentinel SAH.
Methods. Seven male Yorkshire pigs received a 250-µl injection of either whole autologous arterial blood (four animals) or isotonic saline (three animals) into the cisternae magna in an effort to produce volumetrically a model of sentinel SAH and a control injection model, respectively. Cerebrospinal fluid volumes of 100 µl were then collected from both the lumbar cistern and cisternae magna at 1 to 2-hour intervals for a total of 24 hours postinjection. The CSF was then tested for bilirubin.
Mean concentrations of bilirubin (± standard deviation [SD]) obtained from the lumbar cistern 24 hours following the injection of blood or saline were 4.38 ± 1.04 µM in the SAH animals and 1.02 ± 0.05 µM in the controls. At 24 hours postinjection, mean concentrations (± SD) of cisternae magna bilirubin were 7.29 ± 1.33 ÉM and 1.33 ± 0.14 µM in the SAH animals and controls, respectively. In the SAH group, both the lumbar cistern and cisternae magna bilirubin concentrations differed significantly from baseline values 12 hours following SAH.
Conclusions. Elevated concentrations of CSF bilirubin can be detected following a low-volume SAH, and the production of bilirubin occurred over a predictable time course. Twelve hours after hemorrhage, an elevated CSF bilirubin concentration was an indicator of hemolysis occurring in the subarachnoid spaces. The presence of bilirubin in CSF is a potential marker for differentiating SAHs from traumatic lumbar punctures in humans.