Pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Mayo Clin Proc. 1998 Aug;73(8):745-52. doi: 10.4065/73.8.745.


Objective: To review the diagnostic evaluation and the clinical course of patients with pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Material and methods: The study population consisted of a consecutive series of patients with a pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage encountered at Mayo Clinic Rochester during a 6-year interval. We reviewed the clinical manifestations, the neuroimaging characteristics, and the appropriate management.

Results: The 15 male and 9 female patients with a pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage ranged from 3 to 72 years of age (median, 45). Of the 24 patients, 18 had a sudden explosive headache at the time of initial assessment. Ventricular shunting for acute hydrocephalus was indicated in one patient. Neuroimaging studies demonstrated that the center of the hemorrhage was prepontine, and it extended into the interpeduncular or premedullary cisterns. In two patients, a small focal hemorrhage was not noted on an admission computed tomographic scan but was identified on repeated study. A second four-vessel cerebral angiogram, obtained in most patients, showed normal findings in four patients who had had cerebral vasospasm on the first study. In one patient, moderate cerebral vasospasm was found on the second angiogram. No patient had rebleeding. One patient had transient dysphasia associated with cerebral vasospasm after cerebral angiography. Two patients had a family history of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Conclusion: The excellent outcome in patients with pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage is in distinct contrast to the overall somber outcome associated with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. A ruptured aneurysm of the posterior circulation may mimic a pretruncal nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and should be excluded on the basis of a technically satisfactory cerebral angiogram.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome