[Intensive care management [corrected] of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage]

J Diedler, M Sykora, C Herweh, B Orakcioglu, K Zweckberger, T Steiner, W Hacke
Der Nervenarzt 2011, 82 (4): 431-2, 434-6, 438-46
Approximately 10-15% of acute strokes are caused by non-aneurysmatic intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and incidences are expected to increase due to an aging population. Studies from the 1990s estimated mortality of ICH to be as high as 50%. However, these figures may partly be attributed to the fact that patients suffering from ICH frequently received only supportive therapy and the poor prognosis may therefore be more a self-fulfilling prophecy. Recently it has been shown that treatment in a specialized neurological intensive care unit alone was associated with better outcomes after ICH. In recent years considerable efforts have been undertaken in order to develop new therapies for ICH and to assess them in randomized controlled trials. Apart from admission status, hemorrhage volume is considered to be the main prognostic factor and impeding the spread of the hematoma is thus a basic therapeutic principle. The use of activated factor VIIa (aFVIIa) to stop hematoma enlargement has been assessed in two large randomized controlled trials, however the promising results of the dose-finding study could not be confirmed in a phase III trial. Although hemostatic therapy with aFVIIa reduced growth of the hematoma it failed to improve clinical outcome. Similar results were found in a randomized controlled trial on blood pressure management in acute ICH. The link between reduction of hematoma growth and improved outcome is therefore still lacking. Likewise the value of surgical hematoma evacuation remains uncertain. In the largest randomized controlled trial on surgical treatment in ICH so far, only a small subgroup of patients with superficial hemorrhages seemed to benefit from hematoma evacuation. Whether improved intensive care can contribute to improved outcome after ICH will be shown by data obtained in the coming years.

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