Object. To reduce the risk of ischemic complications in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), hypervolemic therapy is generally advocated. However, such conventional treatment cannot always ensure the maintenance of an effective intravascular volume expansion, because excessive natriuresis and osmotic diuresis occur after SAH. In this prospective study the authors examined the effects of inhibition of natriuresis with fludrocortisone acetate on intravascular volume expansion during hypervolemic therapy.
Methods. Thirty patients with SAH were randomized and divided into two groups: controls (Group 1, 15 patients) and patients treated with 0.3 mg/day of fludrocortisone (Group 2, 15 patients). In all patients sodium and fluid intake levels were in excess of maintenance requirements in an attempt to maintain a positive water balance and a central venous pressure (CVP) of 8 to 12 cm H2O. The mean sodium and water intake levels for 14 days after SAH were significantly reduced by fludrocortisone in Group 2 (487 ± 34.52 mEq/day and 5159.2 ± 249.29 ml/day, respectively; p < 0.01) compared with Group 1 (634.2 ± 42.86 mEq/day and 6611.7 ± 365.67 ml/day). Fludrocortisone significantly reduced the urinary sodium excretion (p < 0.01) and urine volume (p < 0.01) in parallel, and effectively prevented a negative shift in the sodium as well as water balance (p < 0.01). The serum sodium level tended to decrease in Group 1, reaching 135 mEq/L on average, but not in Group 2 (p < 0.01). Hyponatremia in Group 1 was always observed at the optimal range of CVP values. A decrease in serum potassium level within the range of 2.8 to 3.5 mEq/L was transiently noted in 11 patients (73.3%) of Group 2, but was easily corrected. Possible side effects of fludrocortisone, such as pulmonary edema, were not encountered.
Conclusions. Intravascular volume expansion in the presence of excessive natriuresis requires a large sodium and water intake and is often associated with hyponatremia. Inhibition of natriuresis with fludrocortisone can effectively reduce the sodium and water intake required for hypervolemia and prevent hyponatremia at the same time.