Vasopressor Infusion After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Does Not Increase Regional Cerebral Tissue Oxygenation

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Abstract

Introduction: Vasopressors are commonly used after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) to sustain cerebral pressure gradients. Yet, the relationship between vasopressors and the degree of cerebral microcirculatory support achieved remains unclear. This study aimed to explore the changes in cerebral and peripheral regional tissue oxygen saturation (rSO2) as well as blood pressure (BP) before and after vasopressor infusion in patients with aSAH. Methods: Continuous noninvasive cerebral and peripheral rSO2 was obtained using near-infrared spectroscopy for up to 14 days after aSAH. Within-subject differences in rSO2 before and after the commencement of vasopressor infusion were analyzed controlling for Hunt and Hess grade and vasospasm. Results: Of 45 patients with continuous rSO2 monitoring, 19 (42%) received vasopressor infusion (all 19 on norepinephrine, plus epinephrine in 2 patients, phenylephrine in 4 patients, and vasopressin in 2 patients). In these 19 patients, their vasopressor infusion times were associated with higher BP (systolic [b = 15.1], diastolic [b = 7.3], and mean [b = 10.1]; P = .001) but lower cerebral rSO2 (left cerebral rSO2 decreased by 4.4% [b = −4.4, P < .0001]; right cerebral rSO2 decreased by 5.5% [b = −5.5, P = .0002]). Conclusions: Despite elevation in systemic BP during vasopressor infusion times, cerebral rSO2 was concurrently diminished. These findings warrant further investigation for the effect of induced hypertension on cerebral microcirculation.

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