Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Calcium antagonists are currently most widely used for chronic cerebral vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). However, the vasodilatory effects of systemically administered calcium antagonists can be limited secondary to hypotension. We previously compared intrathecal and intravenous routes of administration of nicardipine. Intrathecal administration of nicardipine significantly dilated spastic basilar arteries on day 7 in a two-haemorrhage canine model of vasospasm. In the present communication, the effects of prophylactic, serial administration of intrathecal nicardipine on vasospasm was examined in 50 patients. Patients were classified as Fisher SAH group 3 and all had their aneurysms clipped within 3 days of SAH. Following placement of a cisternal drain, 2 mg of nicardipine was injected, three times each day for an average of 10 days. The control group consisted of 91 similar patients with cisternal drainage not treated with nicardipine. Intrathecal administration of nicardipine decreased the incidence of symptomatic vasospasm by 26%, angiographic vasospasm by 20% and increased good clinical outcome at one month after the haemorrhage by 15%. Postoperative angiograms revealed that patients in the nicardipine group showed less vasospasm of major cerebral arteries, near the tip of a drain in the basal cistern, but vasospasm in the A2 and M2 segments was not decreased. Radio-isotope cisternography suggested that nicardipine might not reach the subarachnoid space around A2 and M2 segments. Nine patients complained of headache probably secondary to nicardipine induced vasodilation. Two patients suffered from mengingitis, both were successfully treated. Intrathecal administration nicardipine appears to be effective in the treatment of vasospasm, but side effects were significant.
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