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Open Access Update

Effects of continuous prostacyclin infusion on regional blood flow and cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid haemorrhage: statistical analysis plan for a randomized controlled trial

Rune Rasmussen1*, Marianne Juhler1 and Jørn Wetterslev2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Copenhagen University Hospital, 9 Blegdamsvej, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

2 Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet 9 Blegdamsvej, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

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Trials 2014, 15:228  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-228

Published: 14 June 2014

Abstract

Background

One of the main causes of mortality and morbidity following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is the development of cerebral vasospasm, a frequent complication arising in the weeks after the initial bleeding. Despite extensive research, no effective treatment of vasospasm exists to date. Prostacyclin is a potent vasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation. In vitro models have shown a relaxing effect of prostacyclin after induced contraction in cerebral arteries, and a recent pilot trial showed a positive effect on cerebral vasospasm in a clinical setting. No randomized clinical trials have investigated the possible pharmacodynamic effects of prostacyclin on the human brain following SAH.

Methods/Design

This trial is a single centre, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group, double blinded, clinical pilot trial. A total of 90 patients with SAH will be randomized to one of three intervention arms: epoprostenol at 1 ng/kg/min, epoprostenol at 2 ng/kg/min, or placebo in addition to the standard treatment. Trial medication will start on Day 5 after SAH and continue to Day 10. The primary outcome measure is changes in cerebral blood flow measured by a computed tomography (CT) perfusion scan. The secondary outcomes are vasospasm measured by a CT angiography, regional blood flow, clinical symptoms of cerebral ischemia, and outcome at three months (Glasgow Outcome Scale).

Discussion

The primary outcome has been altered slightly since the publication of our study protocol. Global cerebral blood flow is now primary outcome, whereas regional blood flow is a secondary outcome.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01447095. Registration date: 11 October 2011.

Keywords:
Subarachnoid haemorrhage; Prostacyclin; Epoprostenol; Vasospasm; Delayed ischaemic neurological deficit