Treatment of stroke related refractory brain edema using mixed vasopressin antagonism: A case report and review of the literature

Vishnumurthy Shushrutha Hedna, Sharathchandra Bidari, David Gubernick, Saeed Ansari, Irawan Satriotomo, Asif A. Khan, Adnan I. Qureshi

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17 Scopus citations


Background: Elevated intracranial pressure from cerebral edema is the major cause of early mortality in acute stroke. Current treatment strategies to limit cerebral edema are not particularly effective. Some novel anti-edema measures have shown promising early findings in experimental stroke models. Vasopressin antagonism in stroke is one such target which has shown some encouraging preliminary results. The aim of this report is to highlight the potential use of vasopressin antagonism to limit cerebral edema in patients after acute stroke. Case presentation: A 57-year-old Caucasian man with new onset diplopia was diagnosed with vertebral artery aneurysm extending into the basilar circulation. He underwent successful elective vertebral artery angioplasty and coiling of the aneurysm. In the immediate post-operative period there was a decline in his neurological status and brain imaging revealed new midbrain and thalamic hemorrhage with surrounding significant brain edema. Treatment with conventional anti-edema therapy was initiated with no significant clinical response after which conivaptan; a mixed vasopressin antagonist was started. Clinical and radiological evaluation following drug administration showed rapid clinical improvement without identification of significant adverse effects. Conclusions: The authors have successfully demonstrated the safety and efficacy of using mixed vasopressin antagonist in treatment of stroke related brain edema, thereby showing its promise as an alternative anti-edema agent. Preliminary findings from this study suggest mixed vasopressin antagonism may have significant utility in the management of cerebral edema arising from cerebrovascular accident. Larger prospective studies are warranted to explore the role of conivaptan in the treatment of brain edema and neuroprotection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number213
JournalBMC neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 18 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Hedna et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  • Cerebral edema
  • Conivaptan
  • Mixed vasopressin antagonism
  • Stroke
  • Vasopressin


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