The clinical efficacy of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and intra-arterial papaverine infusion for treatment of vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage was investigated. Between 1990 and 1993, 84 patients were treated for cerebral vasospasm in National Defense Medical College Hospital. Angioplasty was performed for asymptomatic vasospasm in 18 patients and for symptomatic vasospasm in 12 patients. Intra-arterial papaverine infusion was performed for asymptomatic vasospasm in 10 patients and for symptomatic vasospasm in four patients. The other 40 patients were treated with standard conservative therapy including hypervolemic and hypertensive hemodilution. The outcomes of these patients were analyzed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale. The outcome tended to be better for patients treated with angioplasty, but not for those treated with papaverine infusion, than for those treated conservatively. Recurrence of vasospasm was more frequent after papaverine infusion than after angioplasty. Undesirable complications such as abrupt development of unconsciousness were experienced during papaverine infusion but not during angioplasty. We conclude that percutaneous transluminal angioplasty is superior to intra-arterial papaverine infusion for prevention and treatment of vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.