The current definition of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is based on clinical characteristics precluding its use in patients with poor-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Additional concepts to evaluate the unconscious patient are required. Invasive neuromonitoring (INM) may allow timely detection of metabolic and oxygenation crises before irreversible damage has occurred.
The authors present a cohort analysis of all consecutive SAH patients referred to a single tertiary care center between 2010 and 2018. The cohort (n = 190) was split into two groups: one before (n = 96) and one after (n = 94) the introduction of INM in 2014. A total of 55 poor-grade SAH patients were prospectively monitored using parenchymal oxygen saturation measurement and cerebral microdialysis. The primary outcome was the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOSE) score after 12 months.
With neuromonitoring, the first DCI event was detected earlier (mean 2.2 days, p = 0.002). The overall rate of DCI-related infarctions decreased significantly (from 44.8% to 22.3%; p = 0.001) after the introduction of invasive monitoring. After 12 months, a higher rate of favorable outcome was observed in the post-INM group, compared to the pre-INM group (53.8% vs 39.8%), with a significant difference in the GOSE score distribution (OR 4.86, 95% CI −1.17 to −0.07, p = 0.028).
In this cohort analysis of poor-grade SAH patients, the introduction of INM and the extension of the classic DCI definition toward a functional dimension resulted in an earlier detection and treatment of DCI events. This led to an overall decrease in DCI-related infarctions and an improvement in outcome.