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Original research
Current practice regarding seizure prophylaxis in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage across academic centers
  1. Michael C Dewan,
  2. J Mocco
  1. Department of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr J Mocco, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, T-4224 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; j.mocco{at}


Object The objective of this study was to determine current practices regarding seizure prophylaxis in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).

Methods An eight question survey was sent to 25 US centers with high volume aSAH cases (>100 annually). Respondents were asked about institutional practices regarding use, duration, and type of seizure prophylaxis.

Results 13 (52%) respondents endorsed the utility of seizure prophylaxis while 10 (40%) did not, and two (8%) were unsure. Among respondents using prophylaxis, levetiracetam was the firstline medication for the majority (94%) while phenytoin was used as a primary agent at one (4%) center and as a secondary agent at four (16%) centers. Duration of levetiracetam prophylaxis ranged from 1 day to 6 weeks following SAH (mean 13.2; median 11). Only a single center employed EEG routinely in all aSAH patients but most supported EEG use when the neurologic examination was unreliable or inexplicably declining. 24 (96%) respondents agreed that a trial randomizing patients to levetiracetam or no antiseizure medication is warranted at this time, and all 25 (100%) believed that such a trial would be appropriate or ethically sound.

Conclusions The routine use of seizure prophylaxis following aSAH is controversial. Among a sampling of 25 major academic centers, most administer prophylaxis, while a significant proportion does not. The majority believes a trial randomizing patients to receive seizure prophylaxis is both timely and ethical.

  • Aneurysm
  • Subarachnoid
  • Hemorrhage

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