Introduction: Fever is common and difficult to control in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We have previously shown an inverse relationship between fever and outcome in patients with SAH.
Materials/methods: This was a prospective, single-arm, feasibility trial in which nine patients with SAH underwent temperature management using an intravascular cooling catheter (ICC) to restore and maintain 24 hours of normothermia (36.5 degrees+/-0.2 degrees C). Enrollment occurred after development of a fever of at least 38.3 degrees C within 7 days of SAH that was refractory to acetaminophen treatment. The ICC was placed at the bedside through an introducer sheath via the femoral vein into the inferior vena cava (IVC). Portable X-ray confirmed placement.
Results: Normothermia was achieved in seven of the nine patients treated (78%); it was achieved in 100% of the patients with a 14F catheter (n=4) and in 60% of the patients with a 9F catheter (n=5). The two patients not reaching normothermia were not adequately treated for shivering. All other patients reached normothermia irrespective of intubation status. Overall, normothermia was well tolerated and not discontinued because of discomfort or adverse events. Two incidences of deep vein thrombosis were diagnosis by ultrasound that were not associated with clinical sequelae, and IVC filters were placed. No unanticipated adverse events occurred.
Discussion: We have demonstrated that fever can be safely and effectively controlled in patients with SAH for at least 24 hours using an ICC. Future studies are needed to assess the effect of such sustained therapy on outcome in patients with SAH.