Background and purpose: Thick cisternal clot on CT is a well-recognized risk factor for delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Whether intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) or intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) predisposes to DCI is unclear. The Fisher CT grading scale identifies thick SAH but does not separately account for IVH or ICH.
Methods: We studied 276 consecutively admitted patients with an available admission CT scan performed within 72 hours of onset. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and neuroimaging data were recorded, and the amount and location of SAH, IVH, and ICH on admission CT scans were quantified. The relationship between these variables and DCI was analyzed separately and in combination with multiple logistic regression.
Results: DCI developed in 20% of patients (54 of 276). Among SAH variables, thick clot completely filling any cistern or fissure was the best predictor of DCI (P=0.008), and among IVH variables, blood in both lateral ventricles was most predictive (P=0.001). These variables had independent predictive value for DCI in a multivariate analysis of CT findings, and both were included in a final multivariate model when evaluated in conjunction with other clinical risk factors: IVH (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.7 to 9.8), SAH (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.5 to 9.5), mean arterial pressure >112 mm Hg (OR 4.9, 95% CI 2.1 to 11.4), and transcranial Doppler mean velocity >140 cm/s within 5 days of hemorrhage (OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.5 to 9.5). Similar results were obtained in a repeat analysis with infarction due to vasospasm as the dependent variable.
Conclusions: SAH completely filling any cistern or fissure and IVH in the lateral ventricles are both risk factors for DCI, and their risk is additive. We propose a new SAH rating scale that accounts for the independent predictive value of subarachnoid and ventricular blood for DCI.