Use of single versus multiple vasodilator agents in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm: is more better than less?

Peng Roc Chen, Ketan Bulsara, Victor Lopez-Rivera, Faheem G. Sheriff, Aditya Sanzgiri, Sunil Sheth, Akinwunmi O. Oni-Orisan, Farhaan S. Vahidy, Kadir Erkmen, Dong H. Kim, Arthur L. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with cerebral vasospasm caused by aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) are often treated with intra-arterial (IA) vasodilator infusion. However, the optimal drug regimen is yet to be elucidated. Methods: A retrospective review of patients with aSAH and cerebral vasospasm treated with IA vasodilator infusion was performed. Patients in group 1 (2008–2011) were treated with a single agent, either nicardipine or verapamil, and patients in group 2 (2010–2016) were treated with a regimen of nitroglycerin, verapamil, and nicardipine. The post-infusion improvement ratio (PIIR) was compared between groups. Adjusted multivariate logistic regression models were utilized to determine whether patients treated with multiple vasodilators had an improved functional outcome, defined by the modified Rankin Scale, at discharge and 90-day follow-up. Results: Among 116 patients from group 1 (N = 47) and group 2 (N = 69), the median age was 54.5 years [IQR, 46–53 years] and 78% were female. Use of multiple-agent therapy resulted in a 24.36% improvement in vessel diameter over single-agent therapy (median PIIR: group 1, 10.5% [IQR, 5.3–21.1%] vs group 2, 34.9% [IQR, 21.4–66.0%]; p < 0.0001). In the adjusted multivariate logistic regression, the use of multiple-agent therapy was associated with a better functional outcome at discharge (OR 0.15, 95% CI [0.04–0.55]; p < 0.01) and at 90-day follow-up (OR 0.20, 95% CI [0.05–0.77]; p < 0.05) when compared to single-agent therapy. Conclusion: In this study, we found that patients treated for cerebral vasospasm with IA infusion of multiple vasodilators had an increased vessel response and better functional outcomes compared to those treated with a single agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Cerebral vasospasm
  • Intra-arterial infusion
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Vasodilator infusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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