, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 354-362
Date: 18 Apr 2012

Milrinone and Homeostasis to Treat Cerebral Vasospasm Associated with Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: The Montreal Neurological Hospital Protocol

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For the treatment of cerebral vasospasm, current therapies have focused on increasing blood flow through blood pressure augmentation, hypervolemia, the use of intra-arterial vasodilators, and angioplasty of proximal cerebral vessels. Through a large case series, we present our experience of treating cerebral vasospasm with a protocol based on maintenance of homeostasis (correction of electrolyte and glucose disturbances, prevention and treatment of hyperthermia, replacement of fluid losses), and the use of intravenous milrinone to improve microcirculation (the Montreal Neurological Hospital protocol). Our objective is to describe the use milrinone in our practice and the neurological outcomes associated with this approach.


Large case series based on the review of all patients diagnosed with delayed ischemic neurologic deficits after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage between April 1999 and April 2006.


88 patients were followed for a mean time of 44.6 months. An intravenous milrinone infusion was used for a mean of 9.8 days without any significant side effects. No medical complications associated with this protocol were observed. There were five deaths; of the surviving patients, 48.9 % were able to go back to their previous baseline and 75 % had a good functional outcome (modified Rankin scale ≤2).


A protocol using intravenous milrinone, and the maintenance of homeostasis is simple to use and requires less intensive monitoring and resources than the standard triple H therapy. Despite the obvious limitations of this study’s design, we believe that it would be now appropriate to proceed with formal prospective studies of this protocol.