Early cisternal fibrinolysis is more effective than rescue spasmolysis for the prevention of delayed infarction after subarachnoid haemorrhage

Background

To compare the efficacy of two different concepts of cisternal therapy—PREVENTIVE fibrinolysis plus on-demand spasmolysis versus RESCUE spasmolysis—for the prevention of cerebral vasospasm (CVS) and delayed cerebral infarction (DCI) in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH).

Methods

Retrospective analysis of 84 aSAH patients selected for cisternal therapy for DCI prevention. 66 high-risk patients received PREVENTIVE cisternal therapy to enhance blood clearance. Either stereotactic catheter ventriculocisternostomy (STX-VCS) or intraoperative placement of a cisterno-ventriculostomy catheter (CVC), followed by fibrinolytic cisternal lavage using urokinase was performed. In case of vasospasm, nimodipine was applied intrathecally. 22 low-risk patients who developed CVS against expectations were selected for STX-VCS as RESCUE intervention for cisternal spasmolysis with nimodipine. Rates of DCI and mean flow velocities of daily transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonographies were evaluated.

Results

Despite a higher prespecified DCI risk, patients selected for PREVENTIVE intervention primarily aiming at blood clearance had a lower DCI rate compared with patients selected for intrathecal spasmolysis as a RESCUE therapy (11.3% vs 18.2%). After intrathecal treatment onset, CVS (TCD>160 cm/s) occurred in 45% of patients with PREVENTIVE and 77% of patients with RESCUE therapy (p=0.013). A stronger response of CVS to intrathecal nimodipine was observed in patients with PREVENTIVE intervention as the mean CVS duration after start of intrathecal nimodipine was 3.2 days compared with 5.8 days in patients with RESCUE therapy (p=0.026).

Conclusions

PREVENTIVE cisternal therapy directed at blood clearance is more effective for the prevention of CVS and delayed infarction compared with cisternal RESCUE spasmolysis.

Trial registration number

DRKS00016532.

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