Background: Nosocomial infections are common in patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to determine the incidence of infections during SAH and to evaluate the course of inflammation parameters and its implications for long term outcome.Objective: Ninety-nine consecutive coiled SAH patients were included. Laboratory and clinical parameters as well as culture positive infections were followed over the disease course. Long-term outcome was assessed at 6-month by the Glasgow Outcome score (GOS) and dichotomized in favorable (GOS>3) and unfavorable outcome (GOS≤3). Results: The most frequent infections were pulmonary (30.3%) urinary tract (25.3%), blood stream infections (20.2%) and ventriculitis (5.1%). The incidence of infections did not significantly differ between outcome groups. In contrast, patients with unfavorable outcome had a higher incidence of sepsis (46.7% versus 24.6%). C-reactive protein (CRP) and leukocytes were significantly higher in patients with unfavorable outcome. A CRP increase of 6 mg/dl or more in the first 3 days after SAH was independently associated with unfavorable outcome (OR 7.19 CI 1.7-30.52; p=0.008). Patients with an early CRP increase were more frequently treated with antimicrobial therapy in the first 3 days after admission which led to a significantly lower incidence of culture positive infections in the later course. Conclusion: A sharp CRP-increase in the acute phase of SAH could potentially aid the intensivist in the early identification of patients at high risk for neurological morbidity. Early antimicrobial treatment reduces the rate of patients showing culture positive infections in the course of the disease.
Keywords: Inflammation, outcome, infection, C-reactive protein, subarachnoid hemorrhage, neurohemoinflammation.