Object: Whereas the removal of subarachnoid blood is possible during early-stage aneurysm surgery, this cannot be achieved in aneurysms treated by endovascular means. The levels of potential spasmogens in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients receiving endovascular treatment might therefore be higher, with the potential for more severe post-subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) vasospasm.
Methods: Serum and CSF concentrations of big endothelin (ET)-1 were serially measured in patients with SAH receiving one of the following treatments: 1) early (within 72 hours of SAH) aneurysm surgical treatment (15 patients), 2) early endovascular treatment (17 patients), or 3) no intervention in the acute phase (12 patients). In patients suffering delayed infarctions higher levels of big ET-1 CSF were demonstrated than in those without infarctions (p = 0.01). In patients in whom surgery was performed in the acute phase lower big ET-1 CSF concentrations were demonstrated than in those who received embolization treatment or no treatment (p = 0.02). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that in patients receiving early endovascular treatment, higher big ET-1 CSF concentrations were revealed than in those undergoing early aneurysm surgery; this was true for patients with (microsurgerytreated, 1.84 +/- 0.83 pg/ml; and embolization-treated 2.19 +/- 0.54 pg/ml) and without (microsurgery-treated 1.76 +/- 0.61 pg/ml; and embolization-treated 2.01 +/- 0.48 pg/ml) delayed infarctions.
Conclusions: Among patients with SAH who received treatment during the acute phase, those undergoing early aneurysm surgery were shown to have lower big ET-1 CSF levels than those receiving embolization and no treatment (that is, the nonsurgical treatment groups). The clinical significance of this finding remains to be established in future clinical trials, because in the present study the trend toward lower levels of big ET-1 CSF in the microsurgically treated group was not paralleled by a lower delayed stroke rate or an improvement in neurological outcome.