Delayed cerebral ischemia treatment

Delayed cerebral ischemia treatment

Should We Focus on Blood Pressure or Vasodilatation1)

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 are widely used for the hemodynamic management of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage to prevent delayed cerebral ischemia.

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. ( NCT01414894.) 6).

see Delayed cerebral ischemia prevention.


Sadan O, Akbik F. Treating Delayed Cerebral Ischemia: Should We Focus on Blood Pressure or Vasodilatation? Stroke. 2022 Jun 8:101161STROKEAHA122039800. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.122.039800. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35674047.

Weiss M, Albanna W, Conzen-Dilger C, Kastenholz N, Seyfried K, Ridwan H, Wiesmann M, Veldeman M, Schmidt TP, Megjhani M, Schulze-Steinen H, Clusmann H, Aries MJH, Park S, Schubert GA. Intraarterial Nimodipine Versus Induced Hypertension for Delayed Cerebral Ischemia: A Modified Treatment Protocol. Stroke. 2022 Jun 8:101161STROKEAHA121038216. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.038216. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35674046.

Francoeur CL, Mayer SA. Management of delayed cerebral ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Crit Care. 2016 Oct 14;20(1):277. doi: 10.1186/s13054-016-1447-6. PMID: 27737684; PMCID: PMC5064957.

Castanares-Zapatero D, Hantson P. Pharmacological treatment of delayed cerebral ischemia and vasospasm in subarachnoid hemorrhage. Ann Intensive Care. 2011 May 24;1(1):12. doi: 10.1186/2110-5820-1-12. PMID: 21906344; PMCID: PMC3224484.

Reynolds MR, Buckley RT, Indrakanti SS, Turkmani AH, Oh G, Crobeddu E, Fargen KM, El Ahmadieh TY, Naidech AM, Amin-Hanjani S, Lanzino G, Hoh BL, Bendok BR, Zipfel GJ. The safety of vasopressor-induced hypertension in subarachnoid hemorrhage patients with coexisting unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms. J Neurosurg. 2015 Oct;123(4):862-71. doi: 10.3171/2014.12.JNS141201. Epub 2015 Jul 24. PubMed PMID: 26207606.

Togashi K, Joffe AM, Sekhar L, Kim L, Lam A, Yanez D, Broeckel-Elrod JA, Moore A, Deem S, Khandelwal N, Souter MJ, Treggiari MM. Randomized Pilot Trial of Intensive Management of Blood Pressure or Volume Expansion in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (IMPROVES). Neurosurgery. 2015 Feb;76(2):125-35. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000592. PubMed PMID: 25549192.

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