Simvastatin reduces vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: Results of a pilot randomized clinical trial

John R. Lynch, Haichen Wang, Matthew J. McGirt, James Floyd, Allan H. Friedman, Alexander L. Coon, Robert Blessing, Michael J. Alexander, Carmelo Graffagnino, David S. Warner, Daniel T. Laskowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Cerebral vasospasm remains a major source of morbidity after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We demonstrate that simvastatin reduces serum markers of brain injury and attenuates vasospasm after SAH. Methods - Patients with angiographically documented aneurysmal SAH were randomized within 48 hours of symptom onset to receive either simvastatin (80 mg daily; n=19) or placebo (n=20) for 14 days. Plasma alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and creatine phosphokinase were recorded weekly to evaluate laboratory evidence of hepatitis or myositis. Serum markers of brain injury were recorded daily. The primary end point of vasospasm was defined as clinical impression (delayed ischemic deficit not associated with rebleed, infection, or hydrocephalus) in the presence of al confirmatory radiographic test (angiography or transcranial Doppler demonstrating mean VMCA >160 m/sec). Results - There were no significant differences in laboratory-defined transaminitis or myositis between groups. No patients developed clinical symptoms of myopathy or hepatitis. Plasma von Willebrand factor and S100β were decreased 3 to 10 days after SAH (P<0.05) in patients receiving simvastatin versus placebo. Highest mean middle cerebral artery transcranial Doppler velocities were significantly lower in the simvastatin-treated group (103±41 versus 149±47; P<0.01). In addition, vasospasm was significantly reduced (P<0.05) in the simvastatin-treated group (5 of 19) compared with those who received placebo (12 of 20). Conclusion - The use of simvastatin as prophylaxis against delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal SAH is a safe and well-tolerated intervention. Its use attenuates serum markers associated with brain injury and decreases the incidence of radiographic vasospasm and delayed ischemic deficit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2024-2026
Number of pages3
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
  • Inflammation
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Vasospasm, intracranial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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