Introduction: Sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity is common after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We sought to determine whether uncontrolled prolonged heart rate elevation is a risk factor for adverse cardiopulmonary events and poor outcome after SAH. Methods: We prospectively studied 447 SAH patients between March 2006 and April 2012. Prior studies define prolonged elevated heart rate (PEHR) as heart rate >95 beats/min for >12 h. Major adverse cardiopulmonary events were documented according to the predefined criteria. Global outcome at 3 months was assessed with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Results: 175 (39 %) patients experienced PEHR. Nonwhite race/ethnicity, admission Hunt-Hess grade ≥4, elevated APACHE-2 physiological subscore, and modified Fisher score were significant admission predictors of PEHR, whereas documented pre-hospital beta-blocker use was protective. After controlling for admission Hunt-Hess grade, Cox regression using time-lagged covariates revealed that PEHR onset in the previous 48 h was associated with an increased hazard for delayed cerebral ischemia, myocardial injury, and pulmonary edema. PEHR was associated with 3-month poor outcome (mRS 4-6) after controlling for known predictors. Conclusions: PEHR is associated with major adverse cardiopulmonary events and poor outcome after SAH. Further study is warranted to determine if early sympatholytic therapy targeted at sustained heart rate control can improve outcome after SAH.
- Cardiopulmonary complications
- Functional outcome
- Heart rate
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage