Remote Ischemic Pre-conditioning in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Prospective Pilot Trial

Ronak N. Raval, Oliver Small, Kristel Magsino, Vikram Chakravarthy, Briahnna Austin, Richard Applegate, Ihab Dorotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebral injury from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is twofold. The initial hemorrhage causes much of the injury; secondary injury can occur from delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is a mechanism of organ protection in response to transient ischemia within a distant organ. This pilot trial sought to apply RIPC in patients with aSAH to evaluate its effect on secondary cerebral injury and resultant outcomes. Methods: Patients were randomized to the high-pressure occlusion group (HPO) or the low-pressure occlusion group (LPO). Lower extremity RIPC treatment was initiated within 72 h of symptom onset and every other day for 14 days or until Intensive Care Unit (ICU) discharge. In HPO, each treatment consisted of 4 five-minute cycles of manual blood pressure cuff inflation with loss of distal pulses. LPO received cuff inflation with lower pressures while preserving distal pulses. Retrospectively matched controls were also analyzed. Efficacy of treatment was measured by total days spent in vasospasm out of study enrollment days, hospital and ICU length of stay (LOS), cerebral infarction, one and six month modified Rankin score, and mortality. Results: The final analysis included 33 patients with 11 in each group. Patient demographics, aneurysm location, admission airway status, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), modified Rankin score, Hunt and Hess score, modified Fisher Score and aneurysm management were not significantly different between groups. Hospital and ICU LOS was shorter in LPO compared to the control (p = 0·0468 and p = 0·0409, respectively). Total vasospasm days/study enrollment days, cerebral infarction, one and six month modified Rankin score, and mortality were not significantly different between the groups. Conclusions: This pilot trial did demonstrate feasibility and safety. The shortened LOS in the LPO may implicate a protective role of RIPC and warrants future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurocritical Care
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Cerebral vasospasm
  • Delayed cerebral ischemia
  • Transcranial doppler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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