Prospective, randomized trial of higher goal hemoglobin after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Andrew M. Naidech, Ali Shaibani, Rajeev K. Garg, Isis M. Duran, Storm M. Liebling, Sarice L. Bassin, Bernard R. Bendok, Richard A. Bernstein, H. Hunt Batjer, Mark J. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Background: and Purpose: In patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), higher hemoglobin (HGB) has been associated with better outcomes, but packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions with worse outcomes. We performed a prospective pilot trial of goal HGB after SAH. Methods: Forty-four patients with SAH and high risk for vasospasm were randomized to goal HGB concentration of at least 10 or 11.5 g/dl. We obtained blinded clinical outcomes at 14 days (NIH Stroke Scale and modified Rankin Scale, mRS), 28 days (mRS), and 3 months (mRS), and blinded interpretation of brain MRI for cerebral infarction at 14 days. This trial is registered at . Results: Forty-four patients were randomized. Patients with goal HGB 11.5 g/dl received more PRBC units per transfusion [1 (1-2) vs. 1 (1-1), P < 0.001] and more total PRBC units [3 (2-4) vs. 2 (1-3), P = 0.045]. Prospectively defined safety endpoints were not different between groups. HGB concentration was different between study groups from day 4 onwards. The number of cerebral infarctions on MRI (6 of 20 vs. 9 of 22), NIH Stroke Scale scores at 14 days [1 (0-9.75) vs. 2 (0-16)], and rates of independence on the mRS at 14 days (65% vs. 44%) and 28 days (80% vs. 67%) were similar, but favored higher goal HGB (P > 0.1 for all). Conclusions: Higher goal hemoglobin in patients with SAH seems to be safe and feasible. A phase III trial of goal HGB after SAH is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Anemia
  • Outcomes
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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