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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 263974, 42 pages
Review Article

Clinical Trials in Cardiac Arrest and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Lessons from the Past and Ideas for the Future

Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Neurological Institute, Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue S80, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

Received 17 December 2012; Accepted 29 January 2013

Academic Editor: R. Loch Macdonald

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer A. Frontera. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Elevated intracranial pressure that occurs at the time of cerebral aneurysm rupture can lead to inadequate cerebral blood flow, which may mimic the brain injury cascade that occurs after cardiac arrest. Insights from clinical trials in cardiac arrest may provide direction for future early brain injury research after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Methods. A search of PubMed from 1980 to 2012 and was conducted to identify published and ongoing randomized clinical trials in aneurysmal SAH and cardiac arrest patients. Only English, adult, human studies with primary or secondary mortality or neurological outcomes were included. Results. A total of 142 trials (82 SAH, 60 cardiac arrest) met the review criteria (103 published, 39 ongoing). The majority of both published and ongoing SAH trials focus on delayed secondary insults after SAH (70%), while 100% of cardiac arrest trials tested interventions within the first few hours of ictus. No SAH trials addressing treatment of early brain injury were identified. Twenty-nine percent of SAH and 13% of cardiac arrest trials showed outcome benefit, though there is no overlap mechanistically. Conclusions. Clinical trials in SAH assessing acute brain injury are warranted and successful interventions identified by the cardiac arrest literature may be reasonable targets of the study.