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Neurosurgery. 2000 Jun;46(6):1326-33; discussion 1333-4.

Factors associated with reintegration to normal living after subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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  • 1Brain Aneurysm/AVM Center and Department of Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



Recent reports have suggested improvement in the last decade in global outcome measures after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), particularly in patients presenting in good initial neurological status. We used a standardized self-report instrument, the Reintegration to Normal Living (RNL) Index, to assess a patient-based quality of life measure and a self-report of work status. We tested the hypothesis that several patient-based factors were related to these outcomes, including depressive symptoms, physical disability, age, and initial Hunt and Hess grade. Using these data, we report the total management morbidity and mortality at 1 to 5 years after SAH for patients initially presenting in good neurological condition.


The study population consisted of 246 consecutive patients admitted to our tertiary care center with aneurysmal SAH in good neurological condition (Hunt and Hess Grades I-III). Patients underwent either surgical (92%), endovascular (7%), or medical (1 %) management of aneurysmal SAH. Eighty-three percent of surviving patients completed a written or telephone questionnaire incorporating the Barthel Index, the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale, the RNL Index, and a work status assessment.


An aneurysm-related mortality rate of 6% was observed in the patient population. Fifty-five percent of patients reported a complete reintegration into their normal living situation, as measured by the RNL Index. Sixty-seven percent of previously full-time workers returned to a full-time status. Thirty-six percent of patients reported depressive symptoms, and 23% of patients reported physical disability. In a multivariate model, the two factors that contributed most to an impairment of reintegration were depression and physical disability, whereas a failure to return to work was related to older age and a higher-grade initial neurological status.


In this series of patients undergoing multimodality management of lower-grade SAH, more than one-half of patients subsequently reported a normal reintegration into their social situation, as assessed by the RNL Index. Standardized assessments of cofactors associated with impaired reintegration revealed that depressive symptoms and physical disability played a strong role in overall reintegration. Standardized assessments, such as the RNL Index, offer the potential for improved comparison of different treatment regimens and specific therapeutic targeting of factors, such as depression, which contribute to decreased quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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