Cervical sympathetic block to reverse delayed ischemic neurological deficits after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Miriam M. Treggiari, Jacques André Romand, Jean Baptiste Martin, Alain Reverdin, Daniel A. Rüfenacht, Nicolas De Tribolet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a locoregional cervical sympathetic block to improve cerebral perfusion in patients suffering from cerebral vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Methods - Nine consecutive patients with symptoms of delayed ischemic deficits, induced by angiographically confirmed cerebral vasospasm, were treated with the injection of locoregional anesthesia to block the ascending cervical sympathetic chain at the level of the superior cervical ganglion. Neurological status was recorded before and after the procedure, and cerebral angiography was performed before and after the procedure. Results - No complications occurred in this short series. The procedure appeared to be simple and safe. Homer's signs appeared within 12±0.1 minutes and lasted for an average of 6.3±4 hours. In all patients, improved cerebral perfusion was detected at the confirmatory angiography but without change in vessel caliber. One patient died of the complications of the initial hemorrhage, and 2 died of the consequences of the severe vasospasm despite maximal medical treatment. In all the other cases, the neurological status promptly returned to normal within 48 hours after the locoregional treatment. Conclusions - Patients with mild to moderate symptoms seem to benefit greatly from transient ipsilateral cervical sympathetic block. This simple technique may be helpful when used as an adjunct to the standard therapy to improve cerebral perfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-966
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia, local
  • Autonomic nerve block
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Human
  • Vasospasm, intracranial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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