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  • Incidence and Severity of Spontaneous Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in a Severe Weather Area

    Final Number:

    Lucas Bradley MS MD; Erika A. Petersen MD

    Study Design:

    Subject Category:

    Meeting: Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2014 Annual Meeting

    Introduction: Spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (sSAH) has an annual incidence of approximately 10 cases per 100,000 people worldwide. Multiple studies have attempted to show correlations with sSAH and various climatology parameters including changes in barometric pressure, precipitation, and temperature. Arkansas has an above-average incidence of severe storms and tornados. We reviewed 60 cases of sSAH within this severe weather area within the continental US and examined correlations between those cases and meteorological parameters. We also provide a brief review of previous similar studies, and a comparison of results.

    Methods: 60 cases of sSAH of all etiologies at a single center were evaluated prospectively. Inclusion criteria included radiographic or clinical evidence (CSF analysis) consistent with the diagnosis of sSAH. Date of admission, locations of the patient’s home town and/or transferring hospital, classic Fisher score, Hunt-Hess grade, etiology of sSAH, and basic demographics were collected for analysis. Meteorological data were extracted from the publicly available National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) website database. These parameters included standard barometric pressure, temperature, and precipitation.

    Results: 60 patients with sSAH were evaluated over a two year period. Ictus of hemorrhage occurred within a 250 mile area in central Arkansas at the eastern edge of Tornado Alley. Multifactorial analysis was performed to describe any correlation between meteorological parameters and the onset and severity of sSAH.

    Conclusions: Spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage is a complex and multifactorial disease. Its pathophysiology remains poorly understood. The data presented in this study, and those in earlier studies, suggest a loose correlation between meteorological changes and the development of sSAH.

    Patient Care: The pathophysiology of sSAH is poorly understood. Exploration of environmental factors that influence hemorrhage rates may provide further insight into identification of at-risk populations that could in turn lead to early screening

    Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to 1) describe the incidence of sSAH worldwide and in the US, 2) discuss the findings of prior series examining a correlation between weather patterns and sSAH, and 3) describe the correlations identified in this severe weather region of the US.


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