Objective: Since October 1999, nicardipine prolonged-release implants (NPRIs) have been used to prevent vasospasm in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage. This study was conducted to examine the incidence of cerebral vasospasm and outcome after the application of NPRIs.
Methods: Ninety-seven consecutive patients among 125 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage who were surgically treated within 72 hours were analyzed. NPRIs were applied principally to patients with thick clots (Fisher Group 3) through a frontotemporal or frontal craniotomy. Sixty-nine patients, including five in Fisher Group 2, were treated with NPRIs, and 28 were not. NPRIs were placed in the cisterns of thick clots where vasospasm was highly probable.
Results: Four (6%) of the 69 patients treated with NPRIs and 3 (11%) of the 28 patients not treated with NPRIs developed delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs). Of these patients, clinical deterioration with infarction occurred in two patients (3%). Current smoking (P = 0.0088) and intraventricular hemorrhage on admission computed tomographic (CT) scans (P = 0.0077) were correlated with DIND. CT groupings on admission and postoperatively were not correlated, nor were World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grades. Hypertension was inversely correlated with DIND (P = 0.0233). Eighty-six patients (89%) had an independent status at 3 months. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that age (odds ratio [OR], 6.836; P = 0.034), World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade (OR, 23.317; P = 0.001), intraventricular hemorrhage on admission CT scans (OR, 6.332; P = 0.024), and surgical complications (OR, 32.861; P = 0.003) were independent risk factors influencing an unfavorable outcome. CT grouping on admission and DIND were not.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the incidence of DIND may decrease and, therefore, an unfavorable outcome may improve if NPRIs are applied for patients with thick clots (Fisher Group 3) during surgery.