A critical review of the clinical data supports the conclusion that nimodipine decreases the severity of neurologic deficits and improves outcome after subarachnoid hemorrhage. The mechanisms by which mortality and morbidity are reduced are still controversial. First, the frequency of vasospasm is not altered (Figs. 5 and 6). Second, the consistent reversal of vasospasm once present has not been demonstrated either angiographically or by noninvasive cerebral blood flow studies. These observations suggest that there is either modification of microcirculatory flow (i.e., dilation of pial conducting vessels or decreased platelet aggregation) or a direct neuronal protective effect. As suggested previously, support for either mechanism is not resolute, and further investigation is necessary. Currently, nimodipine has been the most thoroughly investigated calcium antagonist both from an experimental and clinical perspective. Oral administration has had few reported complications. Therefore, the benefit/risk ratio clearly supports the prophylactic use of this calcium antagonist in patients of all clinical grades after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Evidence also indicates that starting nimodipine after the onset of delayed ischemic deficits is of benefit. Finally, it can be predicted that in the future additional calcium antagonists with more selective vascular or neuronal effects will be developed for use in neurologic disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology