AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020

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Researchers Examine Data to Identify Optimal Vasopressor Treatment for Rare Type of Stroke

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Results of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) study assessing the most commonly used medications for raising blood pressure in patients with nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a rare type of stroke, have been published in Neurosurgical Focus by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

A nontraumatic SAH causes bleeding in the area between the brain and tissue that covers the brain, called the subarachnoid space. Often caused by a ruptured brain aneurysm, this type of stroke can also be linked to malformations in the arteries and veins. Women account for over half (63.9%) of reported cases of nontraumatic SAH. If a patient survives the initial bleeding, they often experience restricted blood flow to the brain, which can lead to death in 40% of patients. In addition, 50% of those who survive have some degree of brain impairment. No clear clinical guidelines currently exist to provide doctors with an optimal drug choice to raise blood pressure in these patients.

“Nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage is a potentially devastating condition with a high death rate,” said Hulin Wu, PhD, the study’s senior author and the Betty Wheless Trotter Professor and chair in the Department of Biostatistics and Data Science at UTHealth School of Public Health. Wu also holds a joint appointment as a professor at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics. “Our research goal was to use EHR data to understand which drug is better for reducing the death rate for these patients.”

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