Hypoperfusion in the Acute Phase of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
Purpose: Acute disruption of cerebral perfusion and metabolism is a well-established hallmark of the immediate phase after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). It is thought to contribute significantly to acute brain injury, but despite its prognostic importance, the exact mechanism and time course is largely unknown and remains to be characterized. Methods: We investigated changes in cerebral perfusion after SAH in both an experimental and clinical setting. Using an animal model of massive, experimental SAH (n = 91), we employed Laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF), parenchymal microdialysis (MD; n = 61), Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and MR spectroscopy (MRS; n = 30) to characterize the first hours after SAH in greater detail. The effect of prophylactic treatment with hypothermia (HT; 32°C) and an endothelin-A (ET-A) receptor antagonist (Clazosentan) was also studied. In a group of patients presenting with acute SAH (n = 17) we were able to determine cerebral blood flow (CBF) via Xenon-enhanced computed tomography (XeCT) within 12 h after the ictus. Results: The acute phase after SAH is characterized both experimentally and clinically by profound and prolonged hypoperfusion independent from current intracranial pressure (ICP), indicating acute vasospasm. Experimentally, when treated with hypothermia or a ET-A receptor antagonist prophylactically, acute hypoperfusion improved rapidly. DWI showed a generalized, significant decline of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) after SAH, indicating cytotoxic edema which was not present under hypothermia. SAH causes a highly significant reduction in glucose, as well as accumulation of lactate, glutmate and aspartate (MD and MRS). HT significantly ameliorated these metabolic disturbances. Conclusion: Acute vasospasm, cytotoxic edema and a general metabolic stress response occur immediately after experimental SAH. Prophylactic treatment with hypothermia or ET-A antagonists can correct these disturbances in the experimental setting. Clinically, prolonged and ICP-independent hypoperfusion was also confirmed. As the initial phase is of particular importance regarding the neurological outcome and is amenable to beneficial intervention, the acute stage after SAH demands further investigation and warrants the exploration of measures to improve the immediate management of SAH patients.
KeywordsAcute phase Hypoperfusion Subarachnoid hemorrhage Vasospasm
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