Delayed cerebral ischemia treatment
Rescue treatment for delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage can include induced hypertension (iHTN) and, in refractory cases, endovascular approaches, of which selective, continuous intraarterial nimodipine (IAN) is one variant. The combination of iHTN and IAN can dramatically increase vasopressor demand. In case of unsustainable doses, iHTN is often prioritized over IAN. However, evidence in this regard is largely lacking 2)
Level 1 rescue therapy consists of cardiac output optimization, hemoglobin optimization, and endovascular intervention, including angioplasty and intra-arterial vasodilator infusion. In highly refractory cases, level 2 rescue therapies are also considered, none of which have been validated 3).
To date, the only drug shown to be efficacious on both the incidence of vasospasm and poor outcome is nimodipine. Given its modest effects, new pharmacological treatments are being developed to prevent and treat DCI 4)
Volume expansion and hypertension
For small, unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms in SAH patients, the frequency of aneurysm rupture during vasopressor-induced hypertension (VIH) therapy is rare. Reynolds et al. do not recommend withholding VIH therapy from these patients 5).
A randomized pilot trial using a 2-way factorial design allocating patients within 72 hours of subarachnoid hemorrhage to either normovolemia (NV) or volume expansion (HV) and simultaneously to conventional (CBP) or augmented blood pressure (ABP) for 10 days. The study endpoints were protocol adherence and retention to follow-up. The quality of endpoints for a larger trial were 6-month modified Rankin Scale score, comprehensive neurobehavioral assessment, delayed cerebral ischemia, new stroke, and discharge disposition.
This pilot study showed adequate feasibility and excellent retention to follow-up. Given the suggestion of possible worse neurobehavioral outcome with ABP, a larger trial to determine the optimal blood pressure management in this patient population is warranted. (ClinTrials.gov NCT01414894.) 6).