Objective: The goal of this study was to quantify the effects of endovascular therapy on vasospastic cerebral vessels.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records for 387 patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms who were treated at a single institution (University of California, Los Angeles) between May 1, 1993, and March 31, 2001. Patients who developed cerebral vasospasm and underwent cerebral arteriographic, transcranial Doppler ultrasonographic, and cerebral blood flow (CBF) studies before and after endovascular therapy for cerebral arterial spasm (vasospasm) were included in this study.
Results: Forty-five patients fulfilled the aforementioned criteria and were treated with either papaverine infusion, papaverine infusion with angioplasty, or angioplasty alone. After balloon angioplasty (12 patients), CBF increased from 27.8 +/- 2.8 ml/100 g/min to 28.4 +/- 3.0 ml/100 g/min (P = 0.87); the middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity was 1 57.6 +/- 9.4 cm/s and decreased to 76.3 +/- 9.3 cm/s (P < 0.05), with a mean increase in cerebral artery diameters of 24.4%. Papaverine infusion (20 patients) transiently increased the CBF from 27.5 +/- 2.1 ml/100 g/min to 38.7 +/- 2.8 ml/100 g/min (P < 0.05) and decreased the middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity from 109.9 +/- 9.1 cm/s to 82.8 +/- 8.6 cm/s (P < 0.05). There was a mean increase in vessel diameters of 30.1% after papaverine infusion. Combined treatment (13 patients) significantly increased the CBF from 33.3 +/- 3.2 ml/100 g/min to 41.7 +/- 2.8 ml/100 g/min (P< 0.05) and decreased the transcranial Doppler velocities from 148.9 +/- 12.7 cm/s to 111.4 +/- 10.6 cm/s (P < 0.05), with a mean increase in vessel diameters of 42.2%.
Conclusion: Balloon angioplasty increased proximal vessel diameters, whereas papaverine treatment effectively dilated distal cerebral vessels. In our small series, we observed no correlation between early clinical improvement or clinical outcomes and any of our quantitative or physiological data (CBF, transcranial Doppler velocities, or vessel diameters).