Management of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: State of the art and future perspectives

Giovanni Grasso, R Loch Macdonald, Concetta Alafaci

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) accounts for 5% of strokes and carries a poor prognosis. It affects around 6 cases per 100,000 patient years occurring at a relatively young age. Methods: Common risk factors are the same as for stroke, and only in a minority of the cases, genetic factors can be found. The overall mortality ranges from 32% to 67%, with 10-20% of patients with long-term dependence due to brain damage. An explosive headache is the most common reported symptom, although a wide spectrum of clinical disturbances can be the presenting symptoms. Brain computed tomography (CT) allow the diagnosis of SAH. The subsequent CT angiography (CTA) or digital subtraction angiography (DSA) can detect vascular malformations such as aneurysms. Non-aneurysmal SAH is observed in 10% of the cases. In patients surviving the initial aneurysmal bleeding, re-hemorrhage and acute hydrocephalus can affect the prognosis. Results: Although occlusion of an aneurysm by surgical clipping or endovascular procedure effectively prevents rebleeding, cerebral vasospasm and the resulting cerebral ischemia occurring after SAH are still responsible for the considerable morbidity and mortality related to such a pathology. A significant amount of experimental and clinical research has been conducted to find ways in preventing these complications without sound results. Conclusions: Even though no single pharmacological agent or treatment protocol has been identified, the main therapeutic interventions remain ineffective and limited to the manipulation of systemic blood pressure, alteration of blood volume or viscosity, and control of arterial dioxide tension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-
Number of pages10
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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