Higher hemoglobin is associated with improved outcome after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Andrew M. Naidech*, Borko Jovanovic, Katja E. Wartenberg, Augusto Parra, Noeleen Ostapkovich, E. Sander Connolly, Stephan A. Mayer, Christopher Commichau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: There are few data regarding anemia and transfusion after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). We addressed the hypothesis that higher hemoglobin (HGB) levels are associated with less death and disability after SAH. DESIGN: Prospective registry with automated data retrieval. PATIENTS: Six hundred eleven patients enrolled in the Columbia University SAH Outcomes Project between August 1996 and June 2002. SETTING: Neurologic intensive care unit. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were treated according to standard management protocols. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We electronically retrieved all HGB readings during the acute hospital stay for 611 consecutively admitted SAH patients. Outcomes were measured with the modified Rankin Scale at 14 days or discharge, and at 3 months. Patients who were independent (modified Rankin Scale, 0-3) at discharge or 14 days had higher mean (11.7 ± 1.5 vs. 10.9 ± 1.2, p < .001) and nadir (9.9 ± 2.1 vs. 8.6 ± 1.8, p < .001) HGB, and had higher HGB values every day in the hospital. There were similar results when patients were stratified by mortality. Higher HGB was associated with reduced risk of poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale, 4-6) at 14 days/discharge and 3 months after correcting for Hunt and Hess grade, age, history of diabetes, and cerebral infarction. Length of stay and HGB interacted such that lower HGB has a more pronounced effect with length of stay > 14 days. CONCLUSIONS: Higher HGB values are associated with improved outcomes after SAH at 14 days/discharge and 3 months. In contrast to general critical care patients, SAH patients may benefit from higher HGB. Determination of the optimal goal HGB after SAH will require separate prospective research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2383-2389
Number of pages7
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007


  • Anemia
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Disability
  • Outcomes
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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