Plasma glucose levels and outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

G. Lanzino, N. F. Kassell, T. Germanson, L. Truskowski, W. Alves

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94 Scopus citations


Plasma glucose levels were studied in 616 patients admitted within 72 hours after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Glucose levels measured at admission showed a statistically significant association with Glasgow Coma Scale scores, Botterell grade, deposition of blood on computerized tomography (CT) scans, and level of consciousness at admission. Elevated glucose levels at admission predicted poor outcome. A good recovery, as assessed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 3 months, occurred in 70.2% of patients with normal glucose levels (≤ 120 mg/dl) and in 53.7% of patients with hyperglycemia (> 120 mg/dl) (p = 0.002). The death rates for these two groups were 6.7% and 19.9%, respectively (p = 0.001). The association was still maintained after adjusting for age (> or ≤ 50 years) and thickness of clot on CT scans (thin or thick) in the subset of patients who were alert/drowsy at admission. Increased mean glucose levels between Days 3 and 7 also predicted a worse outcome; good recovery was observed in 132 (73.7%) of 179 patients who had normal mean glucose levels (≤ 120 mg/dl) and 160 (49.7%) of 322 who had elevated mean glucose levels (> 120 mg/dl) (p < 0.0001). Death occurred in 6.7% and 20.8% of the two groups, respectively (p < 0.0001). It is concluded that admission plasma glucose levels can serve as an objective prognostic indicator after SAH. Elevated glucose levels during the 1st week after SAH also predict a poor outcome. However, a causal link between hyperglycemia and outcome after delayed cerebral ischemia, although suggested by experimental data, cannot be established on the basis of this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-891
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • delayed cerebral ischemia
  • hyperglycemia
  • prognosis
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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