Open Access Open Badges Research

Brain edema formation correlates with perfusion deficit during the first six hours after experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage in rats

Thomas Westermaier*, Christian Stetter, Furat Raslan, Giles Hamilton Vince and Ralf-Ingo Ernestus

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 11, Würzburg, 97080, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine 2012, 4:8  doi:10.1186/2040-7378-4-8

Published: 2 May 2012



Severe brain edema is observed in a number of patients suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Little is known about its pathogenesis and time-course in the first hours after SAH. This study was performed to investigate the development of brain edema and its correlation with brain perfusion after experimental SAH.


Male Sprague–Dawley rats, randomly assigned to one of six groups (n = 8), were subjected to SAH using the endovascular filament model or underwent a sham operation. Animals were sacrificed 15, 30, 60, 180 or 360 minutes after SAH. Intracranial pressure (ICP), mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) and bilateral local cerebral blood flow (LCBF) were continuously measured. Brain water content (BWC) was determined by the wet/dry-weight method.


After SAH, CPP and LCBF rapidly decreased. The decline of LCBF markedly exceeded the decline of CPP and persisted until the end of the observation period. BWC continuously increased. A significant correlation was observed between the BWC and the extent of the perfusion deficit in animals sacrificed after 180 and 360 minutes.


The significant correlation with the perfusion deficit after SAH suggests that the development of brain edema is related to the extent of ischemia and acute vasoconstriction in the first hours after SAH.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Cerebral blood flow; Brain ischemia; Brain edema; Animal models