Object: The use of nicardipine prolonged-release implants (NPRIs) is associated with a significant improvement in the therapy of patients suffering from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) regarding the occurrence and severity of cerebral vasospasm, new infarcts, and functional outcome (FO). Because quality of life (QOL) measurements more reliably seem to describe the patient's true condition, the present study was conducted to assess FO and QOL 1 year after aneurysm rupture in patients with and without NPRIs.
Methods: From the initial series of 32 patients, 18 were assessed 1 year after aSAH (7 of the control and 11 of the NPRI group). The patients underwent neurological investigation, a structured interview followed by a measurement of QOL (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE]; 36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36]; and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale). There were no intergroup differences in the patient characteristics (that is, localization of aneurysm, initial Hunt and Hess grade, or age).
Results: In addition to the previously reported improvement of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and modified Rankin Scale scores, the NPRI group's Karnofsky Performance Scale and the MMSE scores were markedly to significantly improved (p < 0.05 [Karnofsky Performance Scale] and p = 0.053 [MMSE]). In contrast, anxiety, oblivion, and mild symptoms of depression were equally present in both study groups (p = 0.607 [anxiety]; p = 0.732 [oblivion]; and p = 0.509 [Hamilton Depression Rating Scale]). Furthermore, no intergroup differences were observed in any of the SF-36 domains. The scores in the SF-36 domains of Role-Physical, Vitality, and Role-Emotional were significantly reduced in the NRPI group compared with those observed in an age-matched control population (p < 0.001 [Role-Physical]; p = 0.001 [vitality]; and p = 0.01 [Role-Emotional]). Considering consequent costs, no difference was detectable regarding the duration of in- and outpatient rehabilitation (p = 0.135 and 0.171, respectively) or the Prolo score (p = 0.094).
Conclusions: Despite FO improvement in terms of a lower incidence of cerebral vasospasm, new infarcts, morbidity in the treatment of aSAH in patients with NPRIs, a patient's QOL seems to be related to the severity of the aSAH itself.