Prevalence and predictors of fatigue after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2020 Dec;162(12):3107-3116. doi: 10.1007/s00701-020-04538-9. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


Background: Fatigue is a common and disabling sequel after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). At present, prevalence estimates of post-aSAH fatigue in the chronic phase are scarce and vary greatly. Factors from the acute phase of aSAH have hitherto barely been associated with post-aSAH fatigue in the chronic phase.

Methods: Prospective study assessing prevalence of fatigue using the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) in patients who were living independently 1 to 7 years after aSAH. We compared demographic, medical, and radiological variables from the acute phase of aSAH between patients with and without fatigue (FSS ≥ 4 versus < 4) and searched for predictors of fatigue among these variables applying univariable and multivariable regression analyses.

Results: Of 726 patients treated for aSAH in the period between January 2012 and December 2017, 356 patients completed the assessment. The mean FSS score was 4.7 ± 1.7, and fatigue was present in 69.7%. The frequency of patients with fatigue did not decline significantly over time. Univariable analysis identified nicotine use, loss of consciousness at ictus (LOCi), rebleed prior to aneurysm repair, reduced consciousness to Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) < 14, large amounts of subarachnoid blood, the presence of acute hydrocephalus, and severe vasospasm as factors that were significantly associated with fatigue. In multivariable analysis, nicotine use, reduced GCS, and severe vasospasm were independent predictors that all more than doubled the risk to develop post-aSAH fatigue.

Conclusions: Fatigue is a frequent sequel persisting several years after aSAH. Nicotine use, reduced consciousness at admission, and severe vasospasm are independent predictors of fatigue from the acute phase of aSAH. We propose inflammatory cytokines causing dopamine imbalance to be a common denominator for post-aSAH fatigue and the presently identified predictors.

Keywords: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage; Fatigue; Predictors; Prevalence; SAH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / complications*