Background: The exact mechanism, incidence, and risk factors for cerebral vasospasm after traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) continue to be poorly characterized. The incidence of post-traumatic vasospasm (PTV) varies depending on the detection modality. Objective: We aimed to shed light on the predictors, associations, and true incidence of cerebral vasospasm after traumatic ICH using digital subtraction angiography (DSA) as the gold standard. Methods: We examined a prospectively maintained database of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients to identify patients with ICH secondary to TBI enrolled between 2002 and 2015 at our trauma center. Patients with TBI-associated ICH and evidence of elevated velocities on transcranial Doppler and computed tomography angiograms, confirmed with DSA were included. The diagnostic cerebral angiograms were evaluated by 2 blinded neurointerventionalists for cerebral vasospasm. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine predictors of PTV. Results: Twenty patients with ICH secondary to TBI and evidence of vasospasm underwent DSAs. Seven patients (7/20; 35%) with traumatic ICH developed cerebral vasospasm and of those, 1 developed delayed cerebral ischemia (1/7; 14%). Of these 7 patients, 6 presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (6/7; 85%). Vasospasm was substantially more common in patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale <9 (P = 0.017) than in all other groups. Conclusions: PTV as demonstrated by DCA may be more common than previously reported. Patients who exhibit PTV were more likely to have a Glasgow Coma Scale <9. This subgroup of patients may benefit from more systematic screening for the development of PTV, and earlier monitoring for signs of delayed cerebral ischemia.
- Glasgow Coma scale
- Traumatic intracranial hemorrhage