Comparative studies of the diagnostic value of cerebrospinal fluid spectrophotometry and computed tomographic scanning in subarachnoid hemorrhage

Neurosurgery. 1985 Dec;17(6):908-12. doi: 10.1227/00006123-198512000-00007.


Serial spectrophotometric scans of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and computed tomographic (CT) scans of 99 patients with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were examined. The xanthochromic index (i.e., the sum of the absorption values at 416 nm (oxyhemoglobin) and 460 nm (bilirubin)) yielded an accurate diagnosis in 82%, as did the CT scan. When both spectrophotometric and CT scans were used, the accuracy of SAH diagnosis increased to 96%. The xanthochromic index was valuable in estimating the date of hemorrhage and also correlated well with the clinical outcome of these patients. Only 42% of the recurrent hemorrhages were diagnosed by CSF spectrophotometry; in this capacity, its role seems less clear. However, a positive diagnosis of recurrent hemorrhage by CT scan was made in 83%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bilirubin / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxyhemoglobins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • Bilirubin