Haptoglobin phenotype predicts the development of focal and global cerebral vasospasm and may influence outcomes after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

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Cerebral vasospasm (CV) and the resulting delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) significantly contribute to poor outcomes following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Free hemoglobin (Hb) within the subarachnoid space has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CV. Haptoglobin (Hp) binds free pro-oxidant Hb, thereby modulating its harmful effects. Humans can be of three Hp phenotypes: Hp1-1, Hp2-1, or Hp2-2. In several disease states, the Hp2-2 protein has been associated with reduced ability to protect against toxic free Hb. We hypothesized that individuals with the Hp2-2 phenotype would have more CV, DCI, mortality, and worse functional outcomes after aSAH. In a sample of 74 aSAH patients, Hp2-2 phenotype was significantly associated with increased focal moderate (P = 0.014) and severe (P = 0.008) CV and more global CV (P = 0.014) after controlling for covariates. Strong trends toward increased mortality (P = 0.079) and worse functional outcomes were seen for the Hp2-2 patients with modified Rankin scale at 6 wk (P = 0.076) and at 1 y (P = 0.051) and with Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended at discharge (P = 0.091) and at 1 y (P = 0.055). In conclusion, Hp2-2 phenotype is an independent risk factor for the development of both focal and global CV and also predicts poor functional outcomes and mortality after aSAH. Hp phenotyping may serve as a clinically useful tool in the critical care management of aSAH patients by allowing for early prediction of those patients who require increased vigilance due to their inherent genetic risk for the development of CV and resulting DCI and poor outcomes.


aneurysm, hemoglobin, iron, ischemia, vasoconstriction

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Adult; Aged; Cerebral Angiography; Disease-Free Survival; Female; Genotype; Haptoglobins (genetics); Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Risk Factors; Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (diagnostic imaging, genetics, mortality); Survival Rate; Vasospasm, Intracranial (diagnostic imaging, genetics, mortality)

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America







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