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Cerebral Vasospasm: Practical Review of Diagnosis and Management.

BACKGROUND: Cerebral vasospasm is one of the frequent complications that can occur following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). With new protocols in the management of SAH, the combined risk of death and long-term disability have been reduced by about 10% compared with the past.

OBJECTIVE: This work aims to report the latest updates on the vasospasm developing after the SAH in patients in the ICU department. In this short review, we reviewed the latest scientific findings on the mechanisms of vasospasm, and in addition, we considered it necessary to review the literature to report the tools for early diagnosis of vasospasm and the best treatment strategies to prevent the negative outcome in patients admitted to ICU.

AIM: The aim of this narrative review is to report the main characteristics of vasospasm, new diagnostic methods, and, especially, more effective treatment of vasospasm.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The peer-reviewed articles analyzed were selected from PubMed, Google scholar, Embase, and Scopus databases published in the previous 20 years using the keywords "vasospasm", "vasospasm diagnosis", "vasospasm and SAH", "vasospasm treatment", and nontraumatic brain injury. Among the 78 papers identified, 43 articles were selected; after the title - abstract examination and removing the duplicates, only 31 articles were examined.

RESULTS: Vasospasm can be classified according to clinical (asymptomatic vs. symptomatic) and diagnostic (angiographic vs. ultrasound) methods. Various procedures such as TCD and CT perfusion are used for early diagnosis and close monitoring of this condition. The treatment of vasospasm consists of both prevention (nimodipine, statitis, and magnesium sulphate) and active treatment (mainly endovascular).

CONCLUSION: As the review shows, vasospasm is a complication of SAH, a complication that is difficult to recognize early and treat with the best outcome. However, with the equipment we have, it has been possible to improve the outcome, even if it is still not ideal, in patients who develop vasospasm. Several studies are in the final stages to improve the outcome of this unfortunately frequent condition.

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