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Markku Kaste and Henry Troupp

✓ Changes in the blood pressure, cerebral sinus pressure, cerebral venous oxygen tension, acid-base balance, respiratory frequency, and respiratory minute volume were studied in the rabbit after a lethal cold injury to the brain. About half of the animals responded to the injury with a quick rise in cerebral sinus pressure and in its relation to blood pressure (CSP/BP); in the other half, cerebral sinus pressure and the CSP/BP ratio rose more slowly. Changes in the CSP/BP ratio correlated well with criteria for changes in respiratory performance. The changes in cerebral venous oxygen tension were reasonably uniform: a dip during freezing, an overshoot to a mean of 1.6 times the original level (about 30 mm Hg) immediately after injury, a gradual return to the pretraumatic level, and then a drop to lower levels. The brain injury led to a respiratory alkalosis that became more pronounced the longer the animals lived. Considered with CSP/BP ratio, respiratory reaction to the brain injury may provide an early and accurate prognosis. The fact that at the time of death the cerebral perfusion pressure was still within a range believed safe for the brain shows that an actual brain injury, in addition to raised intracranial pressure, is important in such experiments and emphasizes the inappropriateness of comparing levels of intracranial pressure raised by a variety of methods.

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Henry Troupp, Markku Kaste, Timo Kuurne and Matti Huttunenm

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Seppo Juvela, Matti Hillbom and Markku Kaste

✓ Adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation and associated thromboxane B2 release were studied in 52 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in order to detect a possible association between altered platelet function and development of cerebral ischemic complications after SAH. Compared to the values on admission, the patients showed significantly increased platelet aggregability (p < 0.05) and thromboxane release (p < 0.001) 1 to 2 weeks after SAH. The highest values of thromboxane release were seen in patients who deteriorated due to delayed cerebral ischemia with a permanent neurological deficit. Thromboxane release was significantly higher (p < 0.05) before the onset of severe delayed ischemia in six patients with preoperative ischemia compared to the patients without delayed ischemia. In five others, both ischemic deterioration and elevated thromboxane release occurred after operation. These patients had preoperative values similar to the values in those without ischemic symptoms. The observations suggest that increased platelet aggregability and thromboxane release are associated with delayed cerebral ischemia both before and after surgery.

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Markku Kaste, Juha Hernesniemi, Hannu Somer, Matti Hillbom and Aarne Konttinen

✓ Brain-type creatine kinase (CK) isoenzyme (CK-BB) was detected in the serum in 13 out of 26 patients with acute brain injury (50%). The peak of CK-BB activity ranged from 5 to 188 U/liter, constituting, on average, 10.5% of the total CK activity. The highest activities were seen in patients with gunshot wounds. High CK-BB activity was associated with poor prognosis, but minimal CK-BB elevations did not have prognostic significance.

Heart-type creatine kinase isoenzyme (CK-MB) was detected in the serum in 17 out of 26 patients (65%). The peak activity ranged from 5 to 115 U/liter, constituting, on average, 6.6% of total CK activity. Electrocardiograms taken from 20 patients revealed transient T-wave inversions in the precordial leads in four patients; three of them also showed serum CK-MB activity. Subendocardial hemorrhage was detected at autopsy in three of the five CK-MB-positive patients, but in none of the four CK-MB-negative cases. Present findings suggest that acute brain injury may secondarily cause myocardial damage.

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Seija Peltonen, Seppo Juvela, Markku Kaste and Riitta Lassila

✓ The authors assessed hemostasis and fibrinolysis serially: on admission and on the 1st and 7th days after surgery for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), examining the complications of aneurysm rupture and its surgical repair. Of 32 patients, 25 with SAH were compared with seven control patients who underwent surgery for an unruptured intracranial aneurysm. On admission, patients with SAH had higher thrombin-antithrombin III complex (TAT) levels (13.3 ± 3.8 vs. 3.8 ± 0.6 ng/ml, p = 0.01), fibrin degradation product, D-dimer levels (1310 ± 220 vs. 556 ± 89 ng/ml, p = 0.0001), and leukocyte counts (14.6 ± 0.7 vs. 10.6 ± 1.8 × 109 cells/L, p < 0.05) than did control patients. Postoperative D-dimer values (p = 0.007) remained higher in the SAH group. Furthermore, admission D-dimer levels were higher in the patients in poor clinical condition than in those in good condition (2017 ± 377 vs. 934 ± 208 ng/ml, p = 0.007), and D-dimer levels were associated with the outcome at 3 months after admission. Additionally, thrombin generation and fibrinolytic markers measured on admission were related to clinical grade, amount of subarachnoid blood seen on computerized tomography (CT) scanning, and patient fatality. Patients with hypodense lesions verified on follow-up CT scanning or with persistent neurological deficits at 3 months had higher prothrombin fragments 1 and 2, TAT, D-dimer, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 values on the 1st day postoperatively than did patients without such lesions. In short, in patients with SAH, activation of coagulation and fibrinolysis was strongly associated with clinical state, patient fatality, and outcome at 3 months, and postoperatively this activation correlated with the development of brain infarction.

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The treatment of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage

A prospective randomized trial of surgical and conservative treatment

Seppo Juvela, Olli Heiskanen, Antti Poranen, Simo Valtonen, Timo Kuurne, Markku Kaste and Henry Troupp

✓ In a prospective study, 52 patients with a spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral hematoma (ICH) were randomly assigned to receive emergency surgery or conservative treatment within 48 hours after the bleed. Patients with a decreased level of consciousness and/or a severe neurological deficit were admitted to the study. The overall mortality rate at 6 months was 42%: 10 (38%) of the 26 patients in the conservative group and 12 (46%) of the 26 in the surgical group. Six (20%) of the 30 survivors at 6 months were able to conduct their activities of daily living independently: five (31%) of the 16 patients in the conservative group and one (7%) of the 14 in the operative group. These differences are not statistically significant. The mortality rate of semicomatose or stuporous patients (Glasgow Coma Scale score 7 to 10) was statistically significantly lower in the surgical group (none of the four patients) than in the conservative group (four of five patients) (p < 0.05); however, all surviving patients in this subgroup were severely disabled. The study suggests that surgical treatment of this category of patients with ICH does not offer any definite advantage over conservative treatment. In semicomatose or stuporous patients, surgery may improve the length of survival, but the quality of life remains poor.