Objective: One of the most serious complications following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) secondary to symptomatic vasospasm. An animal model mimicking post SAH vasospasm is essential for enabling the translation of newer technologies from the conceptual phase to animal studies, and eventually to clinical trials. Various animal models of DCI following SAH have been reported, with canine models being the most common. Due to the similarity of the swine cardiovascular system and its dimensions to the human's system, the main objective of this study was to establish a consistent and quantitatively representative model of SAH-induced vasospasm in swine. Materials and Methods: Twelve female swines (57 ± 3 kg) were injected twice (with a 2-day interval between injections) with autologous blood into the subarachnoid space at the level of C2-3 vertebrae. Different volumes were injected to identify clinical and radiological changes. The effect of volume variations on hematoma size and vasospasm intensity in the circle of Willis arteries were studied 7-14 days after the first injection using ascending pharyngeal angiographic measurements of vessel diameter. Neurological outcome using a modified scoring table based on clinical parameters (e.g., appetite, behavior, walking, posture, and eye movement) was recorded. Results: Our results demonstrate that between volume combinations, intrathecal injection of 12 ml followed by 15 ml, with a 2-day interval in between, resulted in the most extensive angiographically-assessed vasospasm 12 ± 2 days following the first injection. The degree of vasospasm in the intracranial internal carotid artery was 22% and 16% for the left and right sides, respectively. Vasoconstriction of the anterior cerebral artery was 34% and 27% for the left and right sides, respectively. The vasoconstriction was not associated with either overt clinical signs or clinical outcome, which is indicative of an ischemic event. Conclusions: The relative scarcity of swine models for SAH-induced vasospasm motivated us to develop and quantify a straightforward protocol for producing consistent mild-to-moderate vasospasm following SAH. As swine is commonly used in translational cardiovascular research, we believe that this study constitutes an important phase in the study of SAH and in developing pharmacological agents and medical devices for interventions.
- Delayed cerebral vasospasm
- subarachnoid hemorrhage
- swine model
- volume and timing of hemorrhage