Serial ECGs and serial assessment of plasma noradrenaline concentrations were carried out in 37 consecutive patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage and 18 operated controls. Electrocardiographic abnormalities reflecting possible signs of cardiac ischaemia occurred significantly more often in patients than in controls. By contrast, plasma noradrenaline concentrations were much higher in controls than in patients. Plasma noradrenaline concentrations were higher in patients with poor outcome, particularly after the third day, but showed covariance with established predictors of outcome such as the Glasgow coma scale score on admission, the amount of extravasated blood on the initial CT, and age. In conclusion, high plasma noradrenaline concentrations do not explain the occurrence of electrocardiographic abnormalities, and are not useful as independent predictors of poor outcome or secondary complications.
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