Patients in poor neurological condition after subarachnoid hemorrhage: Early management and long-term outcome

G. Rordorf, C. S. Ogilvy, D. R. Gress, R. M. Crowell, I. S. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We report management and outcome data on 118 patients that presented to our emergency room over a 4 year interval (1990-1994) in poor neurological condition after subarachnoid hemorrhage. All patients were treated following a strict protocol. After initial evaluation, patients underwent a head computerized tomography (CT) scan to try to understand the mechanism of coma. If CT did not show destruction of vital brain areas, a ventriculostomy was inserted and ICP measured. If ICP was less than 20 mm Hg, or if standard treatment of increased ICP was able to lower the ICP to a value less than 20 mmHg, patients were evaluated with cerebral angiogram to determine the location of the ruptured aneurysm. The lesion was then treated by craniotomy for aneurysm clipping or endovascular obliteration. Postoperative monitoring for vasospasm with clinical exam and transcranial doppler studies was performed routinely. If vasospasm developed, this was managed aggressively with hypertensive, hypervolemic and hemodilutional therapy and, at times, endovascular treatment with angioplasty or papaverine. Outcome was measured at 1 year or more after treatment. Among patients who met criteria for aneurysm treatment, 47% had excellent or good neurologic outcome. There was a 30% mortality rate in these patients. In patients with high ICP, poor brainstem function or destruction of vital brain areas on CT, comfort measures only were offered and almost all died. It is concluded that an approach of early aneurysm obliteration and aggressive medical and endovascular management of vasospasm is warranted in patients in poor neurological conditions after subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1151
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Aneurysm
  • Coma
  • Outcome
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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