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Nicardipine infusion for blood pressure control in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Author(s): Varelas PN, Abdelhak T, Wellwood J, Shah I, Hacein-Bey L, Schultz L, Mitsias P

Affiliation(s): Department of Neurology, K-11, Henry Ford Hospital, 2799 West Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202, USA. varelas@neuro.hfh.edu

Publication date & source: 2010-10, Neurocrit Care., 13(2):190-8.

INTRODUCTION: To evaluate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of nicardipine infusion in controlling the elevated blood pressure after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). METHODS: Nicardipine infusion was initiated if the individual pre-specified systolic blood pressure (SBP) level goal, mandated by the admitting neurosurgeon, was not met. Systolic and diastolic BPs were measured on admission, hourly during the infusion and 12 h before and after the infusion. RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients with SAH required 50 nicardipine infusions in order to achieve a mean SBP goal of 152 mmHg. The 3,112 extracted BP measurements showed that mean infusion SBP was significantly lower than admission and pre-infusion SBP (mean 146.5 vs. 177.1 and 155.6 mmHg, P < 0.001, respectively) and significantly higher than post-infusion SBP (146.5 vs. 142.6 mmHg, P = 0.002). Five infusions were stopped prematurely, because of hypotension (n = 3), emergent surgery (n = 1), and failure to reach the SBP goal (n = 1). Rebleeding was not observed in any patient. Nicardipine achieved SBP control in 59.9% of hourly infusion measurements, with a trend for higher proportion of success with higher SBP goals. CONCLUSION: In this study, nicardipine infusion was a safe and moderately effective treatment for BP control in patients with SAH. Although SBP during nicardipine infusion was higher than the pre-specified goal in a significant percentage of hourly observations, this may be due to the drug administration protocol and other factors such as analgesia and sedation.

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