Efficacy of prophylactic nimodipine for delayed ischemic deficit after subarachnoid hemorrhage: a metaanalysis

J Neurosurg. 1996 Mar;84(3):405-14. doi: 10.3171/jns.1996.84.3.0405.


The authors report findings from a metaanalysis of all published randomized trials of prophylactic nimodipine used in patients who have experienced subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Seven trials were included with a total of 1202 patients suitable for evaluation. Eight outcome measures were examined, including good versus other outcome, good or fair outcome versus other outcome, overall mortality, deficit and/or death attributed to vasospasm, infarction rate as judged by computerized tomography (CT), and deficit and/or death from rebleeding. Nimodipine improved outcome according to all measures examined. The odds of good and of good plus fair outcomes were improved by ratios of 1.86:1 and 1.67:1, respectively, for nimodipine versus control(p<0.005 for both measures). The odds of deficit and/or mortality attributed to vasospasm and CT-assessed infarction rate were reduced by ratios of 0.46:1 to 0.58:1 in the nimodipine group (p<0.008 for all measures). Overall mortality was slightly reduced in the nimodipine group, but the trend was not statistically significant. The rebleeding rate was not increased by nimodipine. A metaregression yielded findings indicating that the treatment effect of nimodipine in individual trials was positively correlated with the severity of SAH in enrolled patients. Although the majority of individual trials examined did not have statistically significant results at the p<0.01 level according to most outcome measures, the metaanalyses confirmed the significant efficacy of prophylactic nimodipine in improving outcome after SAH under the conditions used in these trials.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / etiology
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / prevention & control
  • Nimodipine / therapeutic use*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / complications*


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Nimodipine