Vasospasm following cerebral aneurysm rupture is one of the most devastating sequelae and the most common cause of delayed ischemic neurological deficit (DIND). Because vasospasm also is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in patients who survive the initial bleeding episode, it is imperative not only to diagnose the condition but also to predict which patients are likely to become symptomatic. The exact pathophysiology of vasospasm is complex and incompletely elucidated. Early recognition of vasospasm is essential because the timely use of several therapeutic interventions can counteract this disease and prevent the occurrence of DIND. However, the prompt implementation of these therapies depends on the ability to predict impending vasospasm or to diagnose it at its early stages. A number of techniques have been developed during the past several decades to evaluate cerebral perfusion, including positron emission tomography, xenon-enhanced computed tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, perfusion- and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and perfusion computed tomography. In this article, the authors provide a general overview of the currently available perfusion imaging techniques and their applications in treating vasospasm after a patient has suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The use of cerebral perfusion imaging techniques for the early detection of vasospasm is becoming more common and may provide opportunities for early therapeutic intervention to counteract vasospasm in its earliest stages and prevent the occurrence of DINDs.
View details for PubMedID 17029346