Cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage is one of the most important causes of cerebral ischemia, and is the leading cause of death and disability after aneurysm rupture. There are two definitions of cerebral vasospasm: angiographic and clinical. Care must be exercised to be certain that it is clear which entity is being addressed. The diagnosis of the clinical syndrome is one of exclusion and can rarely be made with absolute certainty. The pathogenesis of cerebral vasospasm is poorly understood. Most current theories focus on the release of factors from the subarachnoid clot. More attention must be given to the role of endothelial damage and alterations in the blood-arterial wall barrier. The application of modern techniques for studying vascular smooth muscle which have been developed as a result of research in the areas of hypertension and atherosclerosis must be applied to the problem of cerebral vasospasm. A stress test to select patients with angiographic arterial narrowing who have adequate cerebral vascular reserve to undergo surgery should be developed. The optimal treatment of vasospasm awaits development of agents for blocking or inactivating spasmogenic substances or blocking arterial smooth muscle contraction. Rheological or hemodynamic manipulations to prevent or reverse ischemic consequences of vasospasm are relatively effective, but complicated and hazardous, and should be viewed principally as interim measures awaiting development of more specific therapies for the arterial narrowing.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association