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J Neurosurg. 2013 Dec;119(6):1611-9. doi: 10.3171/2013.8.JNS1337. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Low-dose intravenous heparin infusion in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: a preliminary assessment.

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1
Departments of Neurosurgery.

Abstract

OBJECT:

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) predisposes to delayed neurological deficits, including stroke and cognitive and neuropsychological abnormalities. Heparin is a pleiotropic drug that antagonizes many of the pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in secondary brain injury after aSAH.

METHODS:

The authors performed a retrospective analysis in 86 consecutive patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH due to rupture of a supratentorial aneurysm who presented within 36 hours and were treated by surgical clipping within 48 hours of their ictus. Forty-three patients were managed postoperatively with a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion (Maryland low-dose intravenous heparin infusion protocol: 8 U/kg/hr progressing over 36 hours to 10 U/kg/hr) beginning 12 hours after surgery and continuing until Day 14 after the ictus. Forty-three control patients received conventional subcutaneous heparin twice daily as deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis.

RESULTS:

Patients in the 2 groups were balanced in terms of baseline characteristics. In the heparin group, activated partial thromboplastin times were normal to mildly elevated; no clinically significant hemorrhages or instances of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or deep vein thrombosis were encountered. In the control group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy (induced hypertension, selective intraarterial verapamil, and angioplasty) was 20 (47%) of 43 patients, and 9 (21%) of 43 patients experienced a delayed infarct on CT scanning. In the heparin group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy was 9% (4 of 43, p = 0.0002), and no patient suffered a delayed infarct (p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH whose aneurysm is secured, postprocedure use of a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion may be safe and beneficial.

PMID:
24032706
PMCID:
PMC4350232
DOI:
10.3171/2013.8.JNS1337
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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