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    Intraoperative rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a life-threatening situation that carries a high risk of morbidity and mortality. Since 2000, adenosine has been used successfully to induce transient hypotension and/or asystole to control bleeding and facilitate surgical clipping of aneurysms that rupture intraoperatively. Given the paucity of reports describing this method in a limited number of patients, we performed a systematic review of the literature detailing the use and outcomes of this technique. The authors performed a systematic review and identified all studies in which adenosine was used in the setting of an intracranial aneurysm that ruptured intraoperatively. We then determined overall morbidity and mortality rates, adding an additional six of our own patients. Data was analyzed for a total of 29 patients, including 23 previously reported patients from the literature and 6 additional cases from our own experience (mean age 54.8 years, 58.6% female). Most patients (82.8%, 24/29) presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Overall mean dose of adenosine was 51.8 mg. Successful clipping was achieved in 100% of patients. Transient or permanent morbidity was reported in 5/29 (17.2%) and the overall mortality rate was 31% (9/29), which occurred primarily due to an initial severe SAH and its resultant complications. Adenosine-induced circulatory arrest appears to safely control intraoperative bleeding and facilitate the clipping of ruptured intracranial aneurysms based on the limited published literature available. Further studies comparing patient outcomes using this technique to traditional approaches are required to validate the safety and efficacy of adenosine in this high-risk setting.


    Eric S Nussbaum, Elizabeth Burke, Leslie A Nussbaum. Adenosine-induced transient asystole to control intraoperative rupture of intracranial aneurysms: institutional experience and systematic review of the literature. British journal of neurosurgery. 2021 Feb;35(1):98-102

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    PMID: 32558601

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