Effect of intraarterial verapamil on the diameter of vasospastic intracranial arteries in patients with cerebral vasospasm

Neurosurg Focus. 2006 Sep 15;21(3):E15. doi: 10.3171/foc.2006.21.3.15.


Object: This study was conducted to determine whether there is a change in intracranial arterial diameters after verapamil infusion for vasospasm and, if it is present, to determine whether the change occurs in proximal, intermediate, or distal vessels.

Methods: The authors measured arterial diameters in all patients treated with intraarterial verapamil at their institutions between August 2003 and September 2004. In all, 18 treatments were examined in 15 patients. Measurements were made before and after verapamil infusion in a blinded fashion with the aid of a magnification loupe at nine predetermined arterial sites on each angiogram. Baseline arterial measurements were made on each patient's initial angiogram and on the angiogram demonstrating spasm prior to endovascular therapy as well in 14 of the patients. Charts were retrospectively reviewed to determine whether the patients benefited from intraarterial verapamil. From the time of the initial angiogram to the time of vasospasm, there was a 21.6% decrease (p = 0.092) in proximal artery diameter, a 47.1% decrease (p < 0.05) in intermediate artery diameter, and a 12.4% decrease (p < 0.05) in distal artery diameter. There were no significant changes in the diameters of proximal, intermediate, or distal vessels after verapamil infusion (mean dose 7.4 mg, range 2.5-10 mg). After infusion of intraarterial verapamil, the proximal vessels showed a 1.1% decrease in diameter, the intermediate vessels showed a 9.4% increase, and the distal vessels showed a 3.3% decrease.

Conclusions: Administration of intraarterial verapamil does not cause a significant increase in the diameter of vasospastic vessels at the administered doses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Angiography / methods
  • Cerebral Arteries / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intra-Arterial / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / drug therapy*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / pathology*
  • Verapamil / therapeutic use*


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Verapamil