Background: To analyze whether magnesium has a neuroprotective effect during episodes that indicate a critical brain perfusion after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).
Methods: 107 patients with aSAH were randomized to continuously receive intravenous magnesium sulfate with target serum levels of 2.0 - 2.5 mmol/l (n = 54) or isotonic saline (n = 53). Neurological examination and transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD) were performed daily, Perfusion-CT (PCT) was acquired in 3-day intervals, angiography in case of suspected vasospasm. The primary endpoint was the development of secondary infarction following episodes of delayed ischemic neurological deficit (DIND), elevated mean flow velocity (MFV) in TCD or pathological findings in PCT.
Results: In the magnesium group, 9 episodes of DIND were registered, none was followed by secondary infarction. In the control group, 23 episodes of DIND were registered, 9 were followed by secondary infarction (p < 0.05). In the magnesium group, 114 TCD-measurements showed an elevated MFV(> 140 cm/s). 7 were followed by new infarction. In control patients, 135 measurements showed elevated MFV, 32 were followed by new infarction (p < 0.05). 10 of 117 abnormal PCT-findings were followed by new infarction, compared to 30 of 122 in the control-group (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: DIND, elevated MFV in TCD and abnormal PCT are findings which are associated with an increased risk to develop delayed secondary infarction. The results of this analysis suggest that magnesium-treatment may reduce the risk to develop infarction in a state of critical brain perfusion.
Keywords: delayed cerebral infarction; magnesium; neuroprotection; subarachnoid hemorrhage.