Vasospasm post pituitary surgery: Systematic review and 3 case presentations

Alireza Mansouri, Aria Fallah, Michael D. Cusimano, Sunit Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Vasospasm is a known complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and is a major cause of neurological morbidity and mortality. It is infrequently associated with pituitary adenoma surgery. We report three cases and present a systematic review of the literature with a view towards guiding neurosurgeons in the prevention and management of this complication. Results: Including our experience, vasospasm complicating pituitary adenoma surgery has been documented in 29 patients (mean age of 45). All cases occurred in the setting of a postoperative hemorrhage: 21 had a subarachnoid hemorrhage and 10 had a postoperative hematoma requiring evacuation. Initial clinical appearance of delayed cerebral ischemia attributable to vasospasm occurred from postoperative Days 2-13 (most commonly Day 5). Digital subtraction angiography and medical management were the most common diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, respectively. Glasgow Outcome Scores were 3 in 59% of cases. Univariate logistic regression identified later diagnosis of vasospasm and surgery for hematoma evacuation to be independently associated with better outcomes. Conclusion: Vasospasm should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients demonstrating altered mental or neurological status following pituitary surgery, particularly if there has been postoperative hemorrhage of any degree. Prompt treatment should be instituted to optimize outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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