The prophylactic use of transluminal balloon angioplasty in patients with Fisher grade 3 subarachnoid hemorrhage: A pilot study

Jan Paul Muizelaar, Marike Zwienenberg-Lee, Nancy A. Rudisill, Stephen T. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Object. Recent advances in neuroradiology have made it possible to dilate vasospastic human cerebral arteries after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), but the time window is short and the success rate for reversal of delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs) varies between 31% and 77%. In a dog model of vasospasm, transluminal balloon angioplasty (TBA) performed on Day 0 totally prevented the development of angiographically demonstrated narrowing on Day 7. Because the effect of preventive TBA in this animal model was better than any pharmacological treatment described previously for experimental vasospasm, the authors conducted a pilot trial in humans to assess the safety and efficacy of TBA performed within 3 days of SAH. Methods. The study group consisted of 13 patients with Fisher Grade 3 SAH who had a very high probability of developing vasospasm. In all patients, regardless of the site of the ruptured aneurysm, target vessels for prophylactic TBA were as follows: the internal carotid artery, A1 segment, M1 segment, and P1 segment bilaterally; the basilar artery; and one vertebral artery. Prophylactic TBA was considered satisfactory when it could be performed in at least two of the three parts of the intracranial circulation (right and/or left carotid system and/or vertebrobasilar system), and included the aneurysm-bearing part of the circulation. Of the 13 patients, none developed a DIND or more than mild vasospasm according to transcranial Doppler ultrasonography criteria. At 3 months posttreatment eight patients had made a good recovery, two were moderately disabled, and three had died; one patient died because of a vessel rupture during TBA and two elderly individuals died of medical complications associated with poor clinical condition on admission. Conclusions. Compared with large series of patients with aneurysmal SAH reported in the literature, the results of this pilot study indicate an extremely low incidence of vasospasm and DIND after treatment with prophylactic TBA. A larger randomized study is required to determine whether prophylactic TBA is efficacious enough to justify the risks, and which vessels need to be dilated prophylactically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Aneurysm
  • Cerebral vasospasm
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Transluminal balloon angioplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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