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J Neurosurg. 2003 Jun;98(6):1227-34.

Regional cerebral blood flow monitoring in the diagnosis of delayed ischemia following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Klinikum Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.



The goal of this study was to evaluate regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) monitoring, performed using thermal-diffusion (TD) flowmetry, as a novel means for the bedside diagnosis of symptomatic vasospasm.


Fourteen patients with high-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who underwent early clip placement for anterior circulation aneurysms were prospectively entered into the study. Thermal-diffusion microprobes were implanted into the white matter of vascular territories that were deemed at risk for developing symptomatic vasospasm. Data on arterial blood pressure, intracranial pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure, rCBF measurement obtained using a TD probe (TD-rCBF), cerebrovascular resistance (CVR), and blood flow velocities were collected at the patient's bedside. The diagnosis of symptomatic vasospasm was based on the manifestation of a delayed ischemic neurological deficit and/or a reduced territorial level of CBF as assessed using stable Xe-enhanced computerized tomography (CT) scanning in combination with vasospasm demonstrated by angiography. Bedside monitoring of TD-rCBF and CVR allowed the detection of symptomatic vasospasm. In the 10 patients with vasospasm the TD-rCBF decreased from 21 +/- 4 to 9 +/- 1 ml/100 g/min (mean +/- standard error of the mean), whereas in the four other patients the TD-rCBF value remained unchanged (mean TD-rCBF = 25 +/- 4 compared with 21 +/- 4 m/100 g/min). A comparison of the results of TD-rCBF and Xe-enhanced CT studies, as well as the calculation of sensitivities, specificities, predictive values, and likelihood ratios, identified a TD-rCBF value of 15 ml/100 g/min as a reliable cutoff for the diagnosis of symptomatic vasospasm. In addition, TD flowmetry was characterized by a more favorable diagnostic reliability than transcranial Doppler ultrasonography.


Thermal-diffusion flowmetry represents a promising method for the bedside monitoring of patients with SAH to detect symptomatic vasospasm. This is of major clinical interest for patients with high-grade SAH, who often cannot be assessed neurologically.

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