Nonconvulsive seizures in subarachnoid hemorrhage link inflammation and outcome

Jan Claassen, David Albers, J. Michael Schmidt, Gian Marco De Marchis, Deborah Pugin, Christina Maria Falo, Stephan A. Mayer, Serge Cremers, Sachin Agarwal, Mitchell S.V. Elkind, E. Sander Connolly, Vanja Dukic, George Hripcsak, Neeraj Badjatia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Objective Nonconvulsive seizures (NCSz) are frequent following acute brain injury and have been implicated as a cause of secondary brain injury, but mechanisms that cause NCSz are controversial. Proinflammatory states are common after many brain injuries, and inflammation-mediated changes in blood-brain barrier permeability have been experimentally linked to seizures. Methods In this prospective observational study of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients, we explored the link between the inflammatory response following SAH and in-hospital NCSz studying clinical (systemic inflammatory response syndrome [SIRS]) and laboratory (tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 [TNF-R1], high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP]) markers of inflammation. Logistic regression, Cox proportional hazards regression, and mediation analyses were performed to investigate temporal and causal relationships. Results Among 479 SAH patients, 53 (11%) had in-hospital NCSz. Patients with in-hospital NCSz had a more pronounced SIRS response (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9 per point increase in SIRS, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3-2.9), inflammatory surges were more likely immediately preceding NCSz onset, and the negative impact of SIRS on functional outcome at 3 months was mediated in part through in-hospital NCSz. In a subset with inflammatory serum biomarkers, we confirmed these findings linking higher serum TNF-R1 and hsCRP to in-hospital NCSz (OR = 1.2 per 20-point hsCRP increase, 95% CI = 1.1-1.4; OR = 2.5 per 100-point TNF-R1 increase, 95% CI = 2.1-2.9). The association of inflammatory biomarkers with poor outcome was mediated in part through NCSz. Interpretation In-hospital NCSz were independently associated with a proinflammatory state following SAH as reflected in clinical symptoms and serum biomarkers of inflammation. Our findings suggest that inflammation following SAH is associated with poor outcome and that this effect is at least in part mediated through in-hospital NCSz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-781
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • brain metabolism
  • continuous EEG monitoring
  • electrographic seizures
  • inflammation
  • nonconvulsive seizures
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonconvulsive seizures in subarachnoid hemorrhage link inflammation and outcome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this