Recovery of cognitive function after surgery for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Satwant K. Samra, Bruno Giordani, Angela F. Caveney, William R. Clarke, Phillip A. Scott, Steven Anderson, Byron G. Thompson, Michael M. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - Abnormalities in neurocognitive function are common after surgery for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, even among patients with good functional outcomes. The time course of neurocognitive recovery, along with the long-term effects of mild intraoperative hypothermia (33°C) and aneurysm location, is unknown. We determined these in a subset of subarachnoid hemorrhage patients enrolled in the Intraoperative Hypothermia for Aneurysm Surgery Trial (IHAST). METHODS - We performed a longitudinal, multicenter, prospective, blinded study of adult IHAST patients with a Glasgow Outcome Score=1 or 2 (independent function), 3 months postsurgery and a matched control group (n=45). Subjects were tested with a 5-test cognitive function battery and standard neurological evaluations at 3, 9 and 15 months postsurgery. The primary outcome measure was a composite score on cognitive test performance. RESULTS - There were 303 IHAST patients available for inclusion: 218 eligible, 185 enrolled (89 hypothermic, 96 normothermic). Significant cognitive improvement was noted from 3 to 9 (P<0.001) and 3 to 15 (P<0.001) months in both hypothermic and normothermic groups, even after adjusting for practice effects observed in the control group. No significant change was identified between 9 and 15 months. Neither mild hypothermia nor aneurysm location (anterior communicating artery versus others) had a significant effect on recovery over time or frequency of cognitive impairment. Compared with control group, the frequency of cognitive impairment (Z score <-1.96) in all patients at 3, 9 and 15 months was 36%, 26% and 23%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS - In this population, cognitive improvement continued beyond 3 months, with a plateau between 9 and 15 months. This was not affected by the use of intraoperative hypothermia or anatomical location of aneurysm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1864-1872
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Clinical trial
  • Cognitive function
  • Intracranial aneurysm
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage


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