Background: The molecular mechanisms of cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) remain unclear. Acrolein, a reactive metabolite produced in many models of mechanical and ischemic injury, has been shown to cause vasospasm in coronary artery and aorta models. These traits suggest it may play a role in post-aSAH cerebral vasospasm. This pilot study was designed as a preliminary investigation to determine if acrolein levels could be used as a clinical tool to predict the presence of vasospasm. Methods: Eleven patients with aSAH and Hunt and Hess admission grades of III-V were prospectively enrolled. Patients were stratified according to the presence or absence of vasospasm, defined as a delayed ischaemic neurological deficit in which all other possible causes have been excluded. Soluble acrolein levels were determined at two times points: early (day 1-3 post-SAH) and late (day 8-12 post-SAH) and the change in acrolein levels over this period was computed using a Mann-Whitney test. Results: The change in acrolein levels over this period between the vasospasm and non-vasospasm group trended toward but did not achieve statistical significance (means: 5.68 versus -5.54; medians: 5.27 versus -3.99; range: -8.067 to 22.904 versus -13.83 to 5.199 p=0.13). Five out of six vasospasm patients showed an increase in acrolein levels over the vasospasm period. Three out of four non-vasospasm patients showed a decrease over the vasospasm period. Conclusions: The results of this pilot study suggest that acrolein levels increase in patients undergoing vasospasm during the vasospasm window. This suggests that acrolein may play a role in the pathways leading up to or following vasospasm. There is a need for larger more definitive studies.
- Aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage