J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 84:266-270 doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-302804
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Research paper

Early neurological deterioration after subarachnoid haemorrhage: risk factors and impact on outcome

Open Access
  1. Neeraj Badjatia1,3
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Division of Neurocritical Care, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Clinical Department of Neurology, Neurological Intensive Care Unit, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  3. 3Department of Neurosurgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor N Badjatia, Division of Critical Care Neurology, Department of Neurology, Columbia University, Milstein Hospital 8 Center, 177 Fort Washington Ave, New York, NY 10032 USA; NBadjatia{at}neuro.columbia.eduRaimund.Helbok{at}
  • Received 19 March 2012
  • Revised 4 July 2012
  • Accepted 21 August 2012
  • Published Online First 25 September 2012


Background Early neurological deterioration occurs frequently after subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). The impact on hospital course and outcome remains poorly defined.

Methods We identified risk factors for worsening on the Hunt–Hess grading scale within the first 24 h after admission in 609 consecutively admitted aneurysmal SAH patients. Admission risk factors and the impact of early worsening on outcome was evaluated using multivariable analysis adjusting for age, gender, admission clinical grade, admission year and procedure type. Outcome was evaluated at 12 months using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS).

Results 211 patients worsened within the first 24 h of admission (35%). In a multivariate adjusted model, early worsening was associated with older age (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.001 to 1.03; p=0.04), the presence of intracerebral haematoma on initial CT scan (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.5; p=0.01) and higher SAH and intraventricular haemorrhage sum scores (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.08 and 1.1, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.2; p<0.001 and 0.03, respectively). Early worsening was associated with more hospital complications and prolonged length of hospital stay and was an independent predictor of death (OR 12.1, 95% CI 5.7 to 26.1; p<0.001) and death or moderate to severe disability (mRS 4–6, OR 8.4, 95% CI 4.9 to 14.5; p=0.01) at 1 year.

Conclusions Early worsening after SAH occurs in 35% of patients, is predicted by clot burden and is associated with mortality and poor functional outcome at 1 year.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

Open Access

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