Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a worldwide health burden with high fatality and permanent disability rates. The overall prognosis depends on the volume of the initial bleed, rebleeding, and degree of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Cardiac manifestations and neurogenic pulmonary edema indicate the severity of SAH. The International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT) reported a favorable neurological outcome with the endovascular coiling procedure compared with surgical clipping at the end of 1 year. The ISAT trial recruits were primarily neurologically good grade patients with smaller anterior circulation aneurysms, and therefore the results cannot be reliably extrapolated to larger aneurysms, posterior circulation aneurysms, patients presenting with complex aneurysm morphology, and poor neurological grades. The role of hypothermia is not proven to be neuroprotective according to a large randomized controlled trial, Intraoperative Hypothermia for Aneurysms Surgery Trial (IHAST II), which recruited patients with good neurological grades. Patients in this trial were subjected to slow cooling and inadequate cooling time and were rewarmed rapidly. This methodology would have reduced the beneficial effects of hypothermia. Adenosine is found to be beneficial for transient induced hypotension in 2 retrospective analyses, without increasing the risk for cardiac and neurological morbidity. The neurological benefit of pharmacological neuroprotection and neuromonitoring is not proven in patients undergoing clipping of aneurysms. DCI is an important cause of morbidity and mortality following SAH, and the pathophysiology is likely multifactorial and not yet understood. At present, oral nimodipine has an established role in the management of DCI, along with maintenance of euvolemia and induced hypertension. Following SAH, hypernatremia, although less common than hyponatremia, is a predictor of poor neurological outcome.
Department of Neuroanesthesiology, Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Springfield, MA
The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Reprints: Stanlies D’Souza, MBBS, FRCA, FCARCSI, Department of Neuroanesthesiology, Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, 759 Chestnut Street, Springfield, MA 01199 (e-mail: stanlies.d’firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Received March 2, 2014
Accepted August 19, 2014