Sixty consecutive patients with a ruptured supratentorial aneurysm underwent operation during the acute stage, 56 of them within 72 hours after the first bleed, one on the 4th day, and three on the 5th day. Six patients were classified preoperatively in Hunt and Hess neurological Grade I, 39 in Grade II, 11 in Grade III, and four in Grade IV or V. Nine patients had severe intracerebral hematomas, and one patient had a subdural hematoma. After the aneurysm was clipped, nimodipine was applied to the exposed arterial segments in a 2.5 X 10(-5)M solution for 10 minutes. Subsequently, all patients received a continuous intravenous nimodipine infusion (2 mg/hr) for 7 to 12 days, followed by oral treatment (270 mg/day). Forty-six patients (77%) made a good neurological recovery; the morbidity rate was 22%, and mortality rate 1.5%. Of the 45 patients in good condition (Grades I to II) preoperatively, 38 (84%) made a good neurological recovery. Two patients (3% of the total series) developed a typical picture of cerebral ischemic dysfunction of delayed onset with subsequent fixed neurological deficits. The results favor the opinion that early operative intervention is beneficial in patients in good condition rather than delaying surgery, and indicate that nimodipine provides an additional anti-ischemic effect. The appearance and severity of late angiographic vasospasm did not seem to be affected by nimodipine.