Korean J Cerebrovasc Surg.  2011 Sep;13(3):184-193.

The Effect of Intra-Arterial Low-Dose Nicardipine for the Treatment of Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage-associated Vasospasm

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea. tbd9900@naver.com


OBJECTIVE: Delayed cerebral ischemia due to vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Recent reports have confirmed that intra-arterial infusion of calcium-channel blockers, which are widely used to counteract vasospasm, is effective for treating SAH with a low risk of complications. Here we report on our experience with intra-arterial nicardipine angioplasty in a consecutive series of 32 patients with SAH.
This retrospective review evaluated a series of 32 consecutive patients with symptomatic vasospasm that was treated with intra-arterial nicardipine. The patients included in the study were diagnosed with aneurysmal SAH between January 2007 and February 2011. All the patients underwent microsurgical clipping or endovascular coiling. Angioplasty using intra-arterial nicardipine was performed in those patients who were refractory to medical therapy such as triple H therapy.
The 32 patients underwent a total of 55 procedures. The total amount of nicardipine used in each angioplasty procedure did not exceed 12 mg, with a maximum dose of 3 mg for each vessel. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score improved in all patients with an average improvement of 2.4 (range : 1~5). During angioplasty, there were no complications such as thromboembolic events and/or acute transitory spasm. The clinical results were evaluated using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Good outcomes (mRS 0~2) were determined in 19 (63.3%) of the 30 patients. The 11 patients (36.7%) with poor outcomes initially had a high Hunt and Hess grade (III or IV) or they had intra-operative complications (mRS: 3~6).
Our study results support the effectiveness and safety of low-dose nicardipine when performing intra-arterial angioplasty for the treatment of vasospasm after aneurysmal SAH.


Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Vasospasm; Angioplasty; Nicardipine
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