The effect of intraventricular administration of nicardipine on mean cerebral blood flow velocity measured by transcranial Doppler in the treatment of vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Neurocrit Care. 2010 Apr;12(2):159-64. doi: 10.1007/s12028-009-9307-8.


Background: Cerebral arterial vasospasm and delayed ischemic neurological deficits are significant contributors to morbidity and mortality following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Additional treatment modalities are needed. Intraventricular nicardipine has been suggested as a potential therapy for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. It is an appealing option for multiple reasons: many of these patients already have ventricular drains in place, it can be safely administered at the bedside, and can be used in patients for whom conventional therapies are either not effective or not tolerated.

Methods: Retrospective case series of all patients who received intraventricular nicardipine for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm from January 2006 to June 2007 at a university tertiary care hospital.

Results: Sixty-four patients received intraventricular nicardipine during the study period. Forty-two patients met inclusion criteria. Intraventricular nicardipine administration was associated with a reduction of the mean cerebral blood flow velocity of 26.3 cm/s in the middle cerebral artery and 7.4 cm/s in the anterior cerebral artery. This reduction was maintained over 24 h with continued administration.

Conclusions: Intraventricular nicardipine was associated with a significant and sustained reduction in mean cerebral blood flow velocity as measured by transcranial Doppler when used in the treatment of suspected cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. We do not find significant safety concerns related to elevations of intracranial pressure or ventricular catheter related infections. Further prospective studies are warranted to better determine the efficacy and safety of this therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Channel Blockers / administration & dosage
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Nicardipine / administration & dosage
  • Nicardipine / pharmacology*
  • Nicardipine / therapeutic use*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial* / drug therapy
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial* / etiology


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Nicardipine