1/1. Use of intra-aortic balloon pump counterpulsation for refractory symptomatic vasospasm.Delayed neurologic deficits secondary to vasospasm remain a vexing problem. Current treatments include: hypertensive hypervolemic hemodilution (Triple-H) therapy, angioplasty, and intra-arterial papaverine administration. Significant morbidity and mortality still result from vasospasm despite these therapies. We present two patients with symptomatic vasospasm who received intra-aortic balloon pump counterpulsation (IABP) to improve cerebral blood flow when they were unable to tolerate Triple-H therapy. One patient (L.T.) developed vasospasm after resection of a meningioma that encased the carotid and middle cerebral artery. The other patient (D.F.) suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (Fisher Grade III, Hunt/Hess Grade III) from a basilar tip aneurysm. Postoperatively, both patients developed vasospasm. Treatment with Triple-H therapy, angioplasty, and papaverine yielded modest results. When they experienced cardiac ischemia, Triple-H therapy was stopped, but their neurologic condition deteriorated markedly. Because of this, IABP was started. Both patients had an immediate improvement in cardiac function. IABP was able to reverse some of the neurologic deficits, and was weaned off after several days of support. Both patients had a substantial improvement in function, and are now capable of caring for themselves. We conclude that IABP may play an important role for improving cerebral blood flow in patients with vasospasm. It may be particularly useful in those patients with limited cardiac reserve.
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keywords = counterpulsation
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