Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

High dose Erythropoietin increases Brain Tissue Oxygen Tension in Severe Vasospasm after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Raimund Helbok1*, Ehab Shaker12, Ronny Beer1, Andreas Chemelli3, Martin Sojer1, Florian Sohm4, Gregor Broessner1, Peter Lackner1, Monika Beck1, Alexandra Zangerle1, Bettina Pfausler1, Claudius Thome4 and Erich Schmutzhard1

Author Affiliations

1 Neurological Intensive Care Unit, Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

2 Department of Neurology, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

3 Department of Radiology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

4 Department of Neurosurgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neurology 2012, 12:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-32

Published: 6 June 2012



Vasospasm-related delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) significantly impacts on outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Erythropoietin (EPO) may reduce the severity of cerebral vasospasm and improve outcome, however, underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the effect of EPO on cerebral metabolism and brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO2).


Seven consecutive poor grade SAH patients with multimodal neuromonitoring (MM) received systemic EPO therapy (30.000 IU per day for 3 consecutive days) for severe cerebral vasospasm. Cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), intracranial pressure (ICP), PbtO2 and brain metabolic changes were analyzed during the next 24 hours after each dose given. Statistical analysis was performed with a mixed effects model.


A total of 22 interventions were analyzed. Median age was 47 years (32–68) and 86 % were female. Three patients (38 %) developed DCI. MAP decreased 2 hours after intervention (P < 0.04) without significantly affecting CPP and ICP. PbtO2 significantly increased over time (P < 0.05) to a maximum of 7 ± 4 mmHg increase 16 hours after infusion. Brain metabolic parameters did not change over time.


EPO increases PbtO2 in poor grade SAH patients with severe cerebral vasospasm. The effect on outcome needs further investigation.

Cerebral microdialysis; Erythropoietin; Multimodality monitoring; Subarachnoid hemorrhage