Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the pathophysiology of vasospasms and delayed cerebral ischemia following subarachnoid hemorrhage: a critical review

Peter Solar, Zdenek Mackerle, Marek Joukal, Radim Jancalek
Neurosurgical Review 2021, 44 (2): 649-658
Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is a life-threatening condition associated with the development of early brain injury (EBI) and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Pharmacological treatment of vasospasm following aSAH currently mainly comprises nimodipine administration. In the past few years, many drugs that can potentially benefit cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage have become available. The objective of this review is to critically assess the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) following aSAH. A systematic literature review was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. The search was aimed at studies addressing aSAH and NSAIDs during the 2010 to 2019 period, and it yielded 13 articles. Following the application of search criteria, they were divided into two groups, one containing 6 clinical articles and the other containing 7 experimental articles on animal models of aSAH. Inflammatory cerebral changes after aneurysm rupture contribute to the development of EBI, DCI and cerebral vasospasm. It appears that NSAIDs (especially coxibs) are even more effective in reducing vasospasm than nimodipine. Other beneficial effects of NSAIDs include reduction in mortality, improved functional outcome and increased hypoaggregability. However, despite these positive effects, there is only one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showing a tendency towards a better outcome with lower incidence of vasospasm or mortality in patients following aSAH.

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