In a series of 120 cases of subarachnoid haemorrhage due to ruptured intracranial aneurysm the occurrence of preoperative arterial spasm was found to have no effect upon the clinical outcome. After surgery, generalised arterial spasm was found to lead to an increased probability of fatality, and to an increased probability of psychological impariment among the survivors. The occurrence of spasm only in the vessels immediately adjacent to the haemorrhage did not constitute a risk to survival. However, the presence of generalised or localised spasm led to an increased risk of neurological impairment. It is suggested that the mechanisms by which postoperative arterial spasm is responsible for fatalities and for neurological impairment are distinct.
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