Intrathecal administration of nicardipine hydrochloride to prevent vasospasm in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage

Neurosurg Rev. 2001 Dec;24(4):180-4. doi: 10.1007/s101430100152.


Object: To evaluate the prophylactic effect of repeated intrathecal administration of nicardipine associated with hypertensive hypervolemic hemodilution therapy (triple H) and sodium correction, we analyzed a consecutive series of 177 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Methods: All patients received aneurysmal clipping and placement of cisternal drainage within 48 hours of the onset. Intrathecal administration of 4 mg of nicardipine was performed every 12 h. Nicardipine concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood before and after its administration were analyzed. Angiographic vasospasm (aVS), symptomatic VS (sVS), and clinical outcome 6 months after onset were also evaluated.

Results: Nicardipine concentration in CSF on day 9 was 231.44 +/- 51.51 ng/ml (mean +/- SD), and that of blood was 21.05 +/- 15.57 ng/ml. Twenty patients (11.3%) showed aVS, and ten of those (5.7%) showed sVS (six were transient and four were permanent). Those with good outcome (assessed as good recovery and moderately disabled) 6 months after onset were 89.2% of the total. The number of patients requiring a shunt operation was 33 of 177 (18.6%), and 11 patients presented intracranial infection.

Conclusions: These results suggest that our strategy may well prevent VS. However, hydrocephalus and infection may be serious disadvantages that should be resolved.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / analysis
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Female
  • Hemodilution
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicardipine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicardipine / analysis
  • Nicardipine / therapeutic use
  • Retreatment
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / diagnostic imaging
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / etiology*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / prevention & control*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Nicardipine