Spreading depolarizations in ischaemia after subarachnoid haemorrhage, a diagnostic phase III study

Jens P. Dreier, Maren K.L. Winkler, Sebastian Major, Viktor Horst, Svetlana Lublinsky, Vasilis Kola, Coline L. Lemale, Eun Jeung Kang, Anna Maslarova, Irmak Salur, Janos Lückl, Johannes Platz, Devi Jorks, Ana I. Oliveira-Ferreira, Karl Schoknecht, Clemens Reiffurth, Denny Milakara, Dirk Wiesenthal, Nils Hecht, Nora F. DenglerAgustin Liotta, Stefan Wolf, Christina M. Kowoll, Andr P. Schulte, Edgar Santos, Erdem Güresir, Andreas W. Unterberg, Asita Sarrafzadeh, Oliver W. Sakowitz, Hartmut Vatter, Michael Reiner, Gerrit Brinker, Christian Dohmen, Ilan Shelef, Georg Bohner, Michael Scheel, Peter Vajkoczy, Jed A. Hartings, Alon Friedman, Peter Martus, Johannes Woitzik

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28 Scopus citations


Focal brain damage after aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage predominantly results from intracerebral haemorrhage, and early and delayed cerebral ischaemia. The prospective, observational, multicentre, cohort, diagnostic phase III trial, DISCHARGE-1, primarily investigated whether the peak total spreading depolarization-induced depression duration of a recording day during delayed neuromonitoring (delayed depression duration) indicates delayed ipsilateral infarction. Consecutive patients (n = 205) who required neurosurgery were enrolled in six university hospitals from September 2009 to April 2018. Subdural electrodes for electrocorticography were implanted. Participants were excluded on the basis of exclusion criteria, technical problems in data quality, missing neuroimages or patient withdrawal (n = 25). Evaluators were blinded to other measures. Longitudinal MRI, and CT studies if clinically indicated, revealed that 162/180 patients developed focal brain damage during the first 2 weeks. During 4.5 years of cumulative recording, 6777 spreading depolarizations occurred in 161/180 patients and 238 electrographic seizures in 14/180. Ten patients died early; 90/170 developed delayed infarction ipsilateral to the electrodes. Primary objective was to investigate whether a 60-min delayed depression duration cut-off in a 24-h window predicts delayed infarction with >0.60 sensitivity and >0.80 specificity, and to estimate a new cut-off. The 60-min cut-off was too short. Sensitivity was sufficient [= 0.76 (95% confidence interval: 0.65-0.84), P = 0.0014] but specificity was 0.59 (0.47-0.70), i.e. <0.80 (P < 0.0001). Nevertheless, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve of delayed depression duration was 0.76 (0.69-0.83, P < 0.0001) for delayed infarction and 0.88 (0.81-0.94, P < 0.0001) for delayed ischaemia (reversible delayed neurological deficit or infarction). In secondary analysis, a new 180-min cut-off indicated delayed infarction with a targeted 0.62 sensitivity and 0.83 specificity. In awake patients, the AUROC curve of delayed depression duration was 0.84 (0.70-0.97, P = 0.001) and the prespecified 60-min cut-off showed 0.71 sensitivity and 0.82 specificity for reversible neurological deficits. In multivariate analysis, delayed depression duration (β = 0.474, P < 0.001), delayed median Glasgow Coma Score (β = -0.201, P = 0.005) and peak transcranial Doppler (β = 0.169, P = 0.016) explained 35% of variance in delayed infarction. Another key finding was that spreading depolarization-variables were included in every multiple regression model of early, delayed and total brain damage, patient outcome and death, strongly suggesting that they are an independent biomarker of progressive brain injury. While the 60-min cut-off of cumulative depression in a 24-h window indicated reversible delayed neurological deficit, only a 180-min cut-off indicated new infarction with >0.60 sensitivity and >0.80 specificity. Although spontaneous resolution of the neurological deficit is still possible, we recommend initiating rescue treatment at the 60-min rather than the 180-min cut-off if progression of injury to infarction is to be prevented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1264-1284
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • cytotoxic oedema
  • spreading depolarization
  • spreading ischaemia
  • subarachnoid haemorrhage
  • vasospasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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