Background and purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of nicardipine prolonged-release implants (NPRIs) on cerebral vasospasm and clinical outcome after severe subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Methods: Thirty-two patients with severe subarachnoid hemorrhage and undergoing aneurysm clipping were included into this single center, randomized, double-blind trial. Sixteen patients received NPRIs implanted into the basal cisterns in direct contact to the exposed proximal blood vessels; in 16 control patients, the basal cisterns were opened and washed out only without leaving implants. Angiography was performed preoperatively and at day 8+/-1. Computed tomography imaging was analyzed for the incidence of territorial infarcts unrelated to surgery. Patient outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin and National Institute of Health Stroke scales.
Results: The incidence of angiographic vasospasm in proximal vessel segments was significantly reduced after implantation of NPRIs (73% control versus 7% NPRIs). Significant differences occurred also for the majority of distal vessel segments. Computed tomography scans revealed a lower incidence of delayed ischemic lesions (47% control versus 14% NPRIs). The NPRI group demonstrated more favorable modified Rankin and National Institute of Health Stroke scales as well as a significantly lower incidence of deaths (38% control versus 6% NPRIs).
Conclusions: Implantation of NPRIs reduces the incidence of cerebral vasospasm and delayed ischemic deficits and improves clinical outcome after severe subarachnoid hemorrhage.