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High red cell distribution width (RDW) values have been associated with increased hospital mortality in critically ill patients, but few data are available for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).We analyzed an institutional database of adult (>18 y) patients admitted to the Department of Intensive Care after nontraumatic SAH between January 2011 and May 2016. RDW (normal value, 10.9% to 13.4%) was obtained daily from admission for a maximum of 7 days, from routine blood analysis. We recorded the occurrence of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), and neurological outcome (assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS]) at 3 months.A total of 270 patients were included (median age 54 y—121/270 male [45%]), of whom 96 (36%) developed DCI and 109 (40%) had an unfavorable neurological outcome (GOS, 1 to 3). The median RDW on admission was 13.8 [13.3 to 14.5]% and the highest value during the intensive care unit (ICU) stay 14.2 [13.6 to 14.8]%. The RDW was high (>13.4%) in 177 patients (66%) on admission and in 217 (80%) at any time during the ICU stay. Patients with a high RDW on admission were more likely to have an unfavorable neurological outcome. In multivariable regression analysis, older age, a high WFNS grade on admission, presence of DCI or intracranial hypertension, previous neurological disease, vasopressor therapy and a high RDW (OR, 1.1618 [95% CI, 1.213-2.158]; P=0.001) during the ICU stay were independent predictors of unfavorable neurological outcome.High RDW values were more likely to result in an unfavorable outcome after SAH. This information could help in the stratification of SAH patients already on ICU admission.