The onset of subtle diffuse ischemic neurological deficits often associated with cerebral vasospasm is a major cause of morbidity and mortality following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The exact etiology of cerebral vasospasm is unclear. Increasing intravascular volume, decreasing blood viscosity and inducing hypertension may help prevent or diminish neurological deficits from cerebral vasospasm by improving cerebral blood flow. An intensive multidisciplinary approach is necessary with the role of the neuroscience nurse being pivotal. An understanding of the subtle neurological changes suggestive of cerebral vasospasm and its effects leads to early recognition, and allows for rapid institution of therapy.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: Patricia J. Campbell, RN, BSN, University of California at Davis Medical Center, Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit, 2321 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, California, 95817. She is a clinical resource nurse.
Susan M. Edwards, RN, ASN, is a clinical resource nurse at the University of California at Davis Medical Center in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit.
© 1997 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses