A 37-year-old female died of cerebral vasospasm as a complication of rewarming following hypothermia therapy for severe head injury. She presented with severe consciousness disturbance and anisocoria after falling down a flight of stairs. Computed tomography (CT) revealed a right acute subdural hematoma and temporal contusion. Following surgery, mild hypothermia was started and rewarming was completed by the 11th day. Neurological examination showed no abnormalities, but intracranial pressure (ICP) suddenly increased and she manifested anisocoria on the 13th day. Repeat CT revealed a low density area in the right middle cerebral artery region and cerebral angiography showed diffuse narrowing of the main arterial trunks. A cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample was collected using an intraventricular ICP monitoring catheter. The CSF level of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine was elevated during the rewarming period, indicating substantial deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) oxidation. She died on the 15th day due to uncontrollable ICP. Histological examination at autopsy of the narrowed artery found the waving phenomenon in the internal elastic lamina and invasion of inflammatory cells into the adventitia. These findings constitute the possible evidence that free-radical-mediated oxidative DNA damage may be important in the genesis of severe vasospasm due to rewarming following hypothermia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology