What is it about?

Following the rupture of a brain blood vessel aneurysm, blood escapes and surrounds the nearby blood vessels causing them to constrict. If the narrowing is severe enough blood flow through the vessels falls to critical levels and the brain region supplied may die. This may become evident as one type of stroke.

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Why is it important?

It has recently been suggested that vasospasm is not important in the final outcome after an aneurysm ruptures which is not true but resulted from considering all degrees of vessel narrowing not just the most severe degrees that are greater than the critical stenosis at which point flow falls drastically. Final patient outcome depends most importantly on the initial effects of the aneurysm rupture but the ill effects of vasospasm take days to develop and are therefore potentially amenable to preventive measures.

Perspectives

Vasospasm has only been known for about 75 years. Its ill-effects were initially often worsened by ill-advised or poorly performed medical interventions. With general improvement in care the incidence has fallen considerably, No drug treatment has thus far been demonstrated to improve outcome by the mechanism of reducing vasospasm.

Bryce Weir

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This page is a summary of: Vasospasm: does it cause infarction and poor outcome?, Journal of Neurosurgery, March 2021, Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group (JNSPG), DOI: 10.3171/2020.7.jns202551.
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