Diagnosis and management of subarachnoid hemorrhage

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this article is to present the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and management of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). SAH is a neurologic emergency that carries high morbidity and mortality. Patients with SAH are at risk for several significant neurologic complications, including hydrocephalus, cerebral edema, delayed cerebral ischemia, rebleeding, seizures, and neuroendocrine abnormalities that lead to impaired body regulation of sodium, water, and glucose. Recent Findings: The incidence of SAH has remained stable, but mortality of hospitalized patients has significantly declined over the past 3 decades. Many common therapies for SAH have created controversy, and various recent neuroprotective clinical trials have produced negative results. However, the publication of two consensus guidelines by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Neurocritical Care Society have provided a clarification for what should constitute best practice for patients with SAH. The most important of those recommendations include the following: admission of patients to high-volume centers (defined as more than 35 patients with SAH per year) under the management of a specialized and multidisciplinary team; early identification and management of the bleeding source; evaluation and treatment decision for unsecured aneurysms by a multidisciplinary team made up of cerebrovascular neurosurgeons, endovascular practitioners, and neurointensivists; management of patients in the neurocritical care unit with oral nimodipine, blood pressure control, euvolemia, and frequent monitoring for neurologic and systemic complications; and delayed cerebral ischemia secondary to cerebral vasospasm should be treated with induced hypertension and endovascular therapies once confirmed. Summary: SAH is a devastating neurologic disease. Management of patients with SAH should adhere to currently available treatment guidelines. Several aspects of SAH management remain controversial and need further studies to clarify their role in improving patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1287
Number of pages25
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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