BACKGROUND: The sequelae of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) include vasospasm and hydrocephalus.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether intraventricular tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) results in less vasospasm, fewer angioplasties, or fewer cerebrospinal fluid shunting procedures.
METHODS: 41 patients (tPA group, Hunt and Hess 3, 4, 5) from 2007 to 2008 received intraventricular tPA and lumbar drainage for a minimum of 5 days (range 5–7 days) and were compared to a matched group of 35 patients from 2006 to 2007 (Control, HH 3, 4, 5). Statistical comparison was done by t test analysis or Fisher exact tests and data are expressed as average ± standard error of the mean.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in demographic data, although the tPA group had a trend toward more surgical patients. The tPA group of patients had a significantly higher modified Fisher grade than controls (P < .001) and had a significantly better Hunt and Hess grade than controls (P < .03). The angioplasty rate was significantly lower among the tPA patients (15.0% ± 5.6) than controls (40.0% ± 8.5, P = .019). The number of days spent in severe vasospasm normalized over the 14-day monitoring period by transcranial Doppler was significantly lower in the tPA group (0.09 ± 0.02) than controls (0.17 ± 0.03). The shunt rate was significantly lower among tPA patients (17.5% ± 6.0) than controls (42.8% ± 8.6). There were 2 clinically silent tract hemorrhages in the tPA group (4.8%).
CONCLUSION: Intraventricular tPA is a safe and effective treatment for reducing both angioplasty and shunting rates in patients with SAH H&H Grades 3 to 5. A randomized trial is indicated.