Factors associated with the development of vasospasm after planned surgical treatment of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

J Neurosurg. 2003 Oct;99(4):644-52. doi: 10.3171/jns.2003.99.4.0644.


Object: The goal of this study was to determine factors associated with the development of symptomatic vasospasm among patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who participated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of tirilazad between 1991 and 1997.

Methods: Data obtained from 3567 patients entered into trials of tirilazad were analyzed using uni- and multivariate logistic regression to determine factors that predict the development of symptomatic vasospasm. Symptomatic vasospasm was defined by clinical criteria accompanied by laboratory- and radiologically determined exclusion of other causes of neurological deterioration. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonographic and/or angiographic confirmation was not required. In these patients, the aneurysms were scheduled to be treated surgically, and no patient undergoing endovascular treatment was included. A multivariate analysis showed that factors significantly associated with vasospasm were age 40 to 59 years, history of hypertension, worse neurological grade, thicker blood clot on the cranial computerized tomography (CT) scan obtained on hospital admission, larger aneurysm size, presence of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), prophylactic use of induced hypertension, and not participating in the first European tirilazad study.

Conclusions: Symptomatic vasospasm was associated with the amount of SAH on the CT scan, the presence of IVH, and the patient's neurological grade. The association with patient age may reflect alterations in vessel reactivity associated with age. A history of hypertension may render the brain more susceptible to symptoms from vasospasm. The explanation for the relationships with aneurysm size, use of prophylactic induced hypertension, and the particular study is unclear.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Nimodipine / therapeutic use
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Pregnatrienes / therapeutic use*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / etiology*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Pregnatrienes
  • Nimodipine
  • tirilazad