Subarachnoid Haemorrhage: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options

Kaptain, G.J.; Lanzino, G.; Kassell, N.F.
September 2000
Drugs & Aging;2000, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p183
Academic Journal
The present review focuses on subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) secondary to the rupture of an intracranial aneurysm, a condition with a high case fatality rate. Additionally, many of the surviving patients are left with significant disabilities. Risk factors for aneurysmal SAH include both genetic and acquired conditions. The most common presenting symptom is sudden onset of severe headache. Since headache is very common in the general population, it is not unusual that SAH is misdiagnosed at its onset with often catastrophic consequences. Unlike other acute neurological disorders such as brain injury, in which patient outcome is closely related to the extent of the injury occurring at the time of the trauma, patients with aneurysmal SAH are at risk of subsequent deterioration from ‘avoidable’ complications such as rebleed, vasospasm, hydrocephalus, and several other non-neurological general medical complications. Thus, the critical care management of the patient with SAH is of utmost importance in order to maximise the chances of satisfactory recovery. Although surgical clipping of the ruptured aneurysm remains the gold standard therapy, with the continuing refinement of endovascular techniques, a new, ‘less invasive’ option is now available, especially for patients considered poor surgical candidates.


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