Clinical Studies in the Acute Phase of Subarachnoid Haemorrhage

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsalaliensis

Abstract: Patients admitted in similar clinical condition after spontaneous SAH can develop very different clinical courses. This could depend on the severity of the initial global ischemic brain injury at ictus. In the present study, we explored relations between clinical and radiological parameters at admission that indicate a more severe initial impact, and the following days hormone levels and brain metabolism.Early global cerebral oedema (GCE) on computed tomography occurred in 57 % of SAH patients and was associated with a more severe clinical condition. The brain’s glucose metabolism, measured with intracerebral microdialysis (MD), changed the first days. MD-glucose was initially high and MD-pyruvate low. MD-glucose gradually decreased and MD-pyruvate and MD-lactate increased, suggesting a transition to a hyperglycolytic state. This was more pronounced in patients with GCE. Similar patterns were seen for interstitial non-transmitter amino acids. From initial low concentrations, they gradually increased in parallel with MD-pyruvate. The amino acid concentrations were higher for patients admitted in better clinical condition. Insulin lowered MD-glucose and MD-pyruvate even when plasma glucose values remained high. P-ACTH and S-cortisol were elevated early after SAH. GCE was associated with higher S-cortisol acutely. Urine cortisol excretion, indicating levels of free cortisol, were higher in patients in a better clinical condition. Suppressed P-ACTH occurred in periods of brain ischemia.We suggest that GCE on the first CT scan is a warning sign indicating increased vulnerability if the patient is exposed to compromised energy supply or increased energy demand. Reduction of blood glucose after SAH should be done with caution. The temporal change of the glucose metabolism and the amino acid concentrations probably reflect activated repair mechanisms. This should be considered in the intensive care treatment of SAH patients. Finally, our results support earlier observations that the response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system is important in critical care.