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Lancet Neurol. 2006 Dec;5(12):1029-32.

Effect of nimodipine on outcome in patients with traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage: a systematic review.

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Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, Netherlands.



Despite several randomised controlled trials, there is still much debate whether nimodipine improves outcome in patients with traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage. A 2003 Cochrane review reported improved outcome with nimodipine in these patients; however, because the results of Head Injury Trial (HIT) 4 were only partly presented there is still discussion whether patients with traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage should be treated with this drug. Here, we present data from all head-injury trials, including previously unpublished results from HIT 4.


We systematically searched PubMed and EMBASE databases using the following combinations of variables: "nimodipine" or "calcium antagonist" with "traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage", "head injury", "head trauma", "brain injury", or "brain trauma". Bayer AG and all principal investigators or corresponding authors of the identified studies were contacted for additional information.


Five manuscripts were identified, describing the results of four trials. We obtained additional data from HIT 1, 2, and 4. In total, 1074 patients with traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage were included. The occurrence of poor outcome was similar in patients treated with nimodipine (39%) and those treated with placebo (40%); odds ratio was 0.88 (95% CI 0.51-1.54). Mortality rates did not differ between nimodipine (26%) and placebo (27%) treated patients (odds ratio 0.95; 95% CI 0.71-1.26).


Our results do not lend support to the finding of a beneficial effect of nimodipine on outcome in patients with traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage as reported in an earlier Cochrane review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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