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Fawaz Al-Mufti, David Roh, Shouri Lahiri, Emma Meyers, Jens Witsch, Hans-Peter Frey, Neha Dangayach, Cristina Falo, Stephan A. Mayer, Sachin Agarwal, Soojin Park, Philip M. Meyers, E. Sander Connolly, Jan Claassen and J. Michael Schmidt

OBJECTIVE

The clinical significance of cerebral ultra-early angiographic vasospasm (UEAV), defined as cerebral arterial narrowing within the first 48 hours of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), remains poorly characterized. The authors sought to determine its frequency, predictors, and impact on functional outcome.

METHODS

The authors prospectively studied UEAV in a cohort of 1286 consecutively admitted patients with aSAH between August 1996 and June 2013. Admission clinical, radiographic, and acute clinical course information was documented during patient hospitalization. Functional outcome was assessed at 3 months using the modified Rankin Scale. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were generated to assess predictors of UEAV and its relationship to delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) and outcome. Multiple imputation methods were used to address data lost to follow-up.

RESULTS

The cohort incidence rate of UEAV was 4.6%. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that younger age, sentinel bleed, and poor admission clinical grade were significantly associated with UEAV. Patients with UEAV had a 2-fold increased risk of DCI (odds ratio [OR] 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–3.9, p = 0.002) and cerebral infarction (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0–3.9, p = 0.04), after adjusting for known predictors. Excluding patients who experienced sentinel bleeding did not change this effect. Patients with UEAV also had a significantly higher hazard for DCI in a multivariable model. UEAV was not found to be significantly associated with poor functional outcome (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.4–1.6, p = 0.5).

CONCLUSIONS

UEAV may be less frequent than has been reported previously. Patients who exhibit UEAV are at higher risk for refractory DCI that results in cerebral infarction. These patients may benefit from earlier monitoring for signs of DCI and more aggressive treatment. Further study is needed to determine the long-term functional significance of UEAV.

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Natasha Ironside, Brandon Christophe, Samuel Bruce, Amanda M. Carpenter, Trae Robison, Nina Yoh, Serge Cremers, Donald Landry, Hans-Peter Frey, Ching-Jen Chen, Brian L. Hoh, Louis J. Kim, Jan Claassen and Edward Sander Connolly Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a significant contributor to poor outcomes after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). The neurotoxin 3-aminopropanal (3-AP) is upregulated in cerebral ischemia. This phase II clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of tiopronin in reducing CSF 3-AP levels in patients with aSAH.

METHODS

In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial, 60 patients were assigned to receive tiopronin or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Treatment was commenced within 96 hours after aSAH onset, administered at a dose of 3 g daily, and continued until 14 days after aSAH or hospital discharge, whichever occurred earlier. The primary efficacy outcome was the CSF 3-AP level at 7 ± 1 days after aSAH.

RESULTS

Of the 60 enrolled patients, 29 (97%) and 27 (93%) in the tiopronin and placebo arms, respectively, received more than one dose of the study drug or placebo. At post-aSAH day 7 ± 1, CSF samples were available in 41% (n = 12/29) and 48% (n = 13/27) of patients in the tiopronin and placebo arms, respectively. No difference in CSF 3-AP levels at post-aSAH day 7 ± 1 was observed between the study arms (11 ± 12 nmol/mL vs 13 ± 18 nmol/mL; p = 0.766). Prespecified adverse events led to early treatment cessation for 4 patients in the tiopronin arm and 2 in the placebo arm.

CONCLUSIONS

The power of this study was affected by missing data. Therefore, the authors could not establish or refute an effect of tiopronin on CSF 3-AP levels. Additional observational studies investigating the role of 3-AP as a biomarker for DCI may be warranted prior to its use as a molecular target in future clinical trials.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01095731 (ClinicalTrials.gov)