Cardiac abnormalities attributed to adrenergic surge are common after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Prescribed medications that block adrenergic stimulation may suppress the onset of cardiopulmonary compromise in patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.


To compare the incidence of early cardiac complications between patients who reported prescribed use of β-blockers and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors before aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and patients who did not.


A retrospective review of 254 adult patients after acute aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage who were enrolled in an existing R01 study. Demographic data and history were obtained from patients’/proxies’ reports and charts. Cardiac enzyme levels, 12-lead electrocardiograms, and chest radiographs were obtained on admission. Holter monitoring and echocardiograms were completed as a part of the R01 study.


Patients reporting prescribed use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or β-blockers before aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage had more ventricular and supraventricular ectopy on a Holter report than did patients who did not (P < .05). When age, race, sex, and injury (Fisher grade) were controlled for, patients reporting use of β-blockers were 8 times more likely than others to have occasional to frequent ventricular ectopy (P = .02).


No concrete evidence was found that exposure to adrenergic blockade before aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage provides protection from neurocardiac injury.

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