Transcranial-Doppler-Measured Vasospasm Severity is Associated with Delayed Cerebral Infarction After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Samuel B. Snider, Ibrahim Migdady, Sarah L. LaRose, Morgan E. Mckeown, Robert W. Regenhardt, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Henrikas Vaitkevicius, Rose Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Angiographic vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is associated with delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI)-related cerebral infarction (radiological DCI) and worsened neurological outcome. Transcranial Doppler (TCD) measurements of cerebral blood flow velocity are commonly used after aSAH to screen for vasospasm; however, their association with cerebral infarction is not well characterized. We sought to determine whether time-varying TCD-measured vasospasm severity is associated with cerebral infarction and investigate the performance characteristics of different time/severity cutoffs for predicting cerebral infarction. Methods: We conducted a retrospective single-center cohort study of consecutive adult patients with aSAH with at least one TCD study between 2011 and 2020. The primary outcome was radiological DCI, defined as a cerebral infarction developing at least 2 days after any surgical or endovascular intervention without an alternative cause. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine associations between time-varying vasospasm severity and radiological DCI. Optimal TCD-based time/severity thresholds for predicting radiological DCI were then determined. Results: Of 262 patients with aSAH who underwent TCD studies, 27 (10%) developed radiological DCI. Patients with radiological DCI had higher modified Fisher scale scores and trended toward earlier onset of vasospasm. Adjusted for age, Hunt and Hess scores, and modified Fisher scale scores, the worst-vessel vasospasm severity was associated with radiological DCI (adjusted hazard ratio 1.7 [95% confidence interval 1.1–2.4]). Vasospasm severity within a specific vessel was associated with risk of delayed infarction in the territory supplied by that vessel. Optimal discrimination of patients with radiological DCI was achieved with thresholds of mild vasospasm on days 4–5 or moderate vasospasm on days 6–9, with negative predictive values greater than 90% and positive predictive values near 20%. Conclusions: TCD-measured vasospasm severity is associated with radiological DCI after aSAH. An early, mild TCD-based vasospasm severity threshold had a high negative predictive value, supporting its role as a screening tool to identify at-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-821
Number of pages7
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Delayed cerebral ischemia
  • Infarction
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Transcranial Doppler
  • Vasospasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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