Association Between Elevated Plasma Norepinephrine Levels and Cardiac Wall Motion Abnormality in Poor-Grade Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Patients

Neurosurg Rev. 2013 Apr;36(2):259-66; discussion 266. doi: 10.1007/s10143-012-0424-z. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


Patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are frequently complicated by acute cardiac dysfunctions, including cardiac wall motion abnormality (WMA). Massive release of catecholamine into the systemic circulation after aneurysmal rupture is believed to result in WMA, and poor-grade SAH seems to be the most important risk factor. However, plasma catecholamine levels have rarely been measured in SAH patients with WMA, and previous studies indicated that the elevated levels might not necessarily predict WMA. The objective of this study is (1) to evaluate relationship between WMA and plasma catecholamine levels in poor-grade SAH patients in the acute phase and (2) to clarify clinical characteristics of SAH patients with WMA. Among 142 poor-grade (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grades IV and V) SAH patients, 48 underwent both transthoracic ultrasound and measurement of plasma catecholamine levels within 24 h of SAH onset. They were divided into WMA+ (n = 23) and WMA- (n = 25) groups, and intergroup comparison was made on demographics, plasma catecholamine levels, and outcomes. Plasma norepinephrine levels were significantly higher in WMA+ group than in WMA- group (2,098.4 ± 1,773.4 vs. 962.9 ± 838.9 pg/mL, p = 0.02), and the former showed significantly worse outcomes 90 days after admission. There were no intergroup differences in the plasma levels of epinephrine. Plasma norepinephrine levels were inversely correlated with left ventricular ejection fraction. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that increased plasma norepinephrine levels were predictive of WMA, although age, female sex, and grade V SAH were not. This retrospective study highlights the role of norepinephrine in pathogenesis of SAH-induced WMA.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Echocardiography
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / blood*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Troponin I / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Troponin I
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine