Subarachnoid hemorrhage laboratory findings

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Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Microchapters


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Differentiating Subarachnoid Hemorrhage from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings



Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy


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AHA/ASA Guidelines for the Management of Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (2012)

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Clinical Manifestations/Diagnosis
Medical Measures to Prevent Rebleeding
Surgical and Endovascular Methods
Hospital Characteristics/Systems of Care
Anesthetic Management
Cerebral Vasospasm and DCI
Seizures Associated With aSAH
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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Syed Ahsan Hussain, M.D.[2] Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [3]; Sara Mehrsefat, M.D. [4]


A lumbar puncture will identify another 3% of the cases by demonstrating xanthochromia or bilirubin in the CSF. Despite of the normal head CT, lumbar puncture (LP) seems necessary when there is a strong suspicion of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Lumbar puncture (LP) is the most sensitive techniques to detect the blood in CSF especially 12 hours after onset of symptoms.[1][2]

Laboratory findings

Lumbar puncture (LP)

Other lab findings

Beside positive lumbar puncture (LP), other laboratory findings for subarachnoid may include the following:

Blood test Test result Rationale
Complete blood count and platelet
Basic metabolic panel (BMP)
  • Increased or decreased serum NA2+, K+, Ca2+
  • To establish a baseline for detection of future complication
  • Increased PT/APTT/INR
  • Increased BUN and creatinine
  • To establish a baseline for detection of future complication
Toxicology screen/Serum alcohol level
  • Increased levels of serum
  • Identify illicit drug use or excessive alcohol
  • Identify exogenous toxins that can cause subarachnoid hemorrhage
Lipid profile
  • Decreased levels of lipids
  • Associated with higher incidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage
Blood typing
  • Blood typing and screening -
  • To prepare for possible intraoperative transfusions
Cardiac enzymes
  • Increased serum levels of Trop I, Trop T, CK-MB
  • May suggest ongoing myocardial ischemia
  • Useful only as a predictor for the occurrence of pulmonary and cardiac complications.
Pregnancy test
  • Serum and urine B-HCG
  • Rule out pregnancy in all female patients with hemorrhagic stroke


  1. 1.0 1.1 Miles JS, Wolf CR (1989). "Principles of DNA cloning". BMJ. 299 (6706): 1019–22. PMC 1837892. PMID 2556195.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vermeulen M, van Gijn J (1990). "The diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage". J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 53 (5): 365–72. PMC 488050. PMID 2191083.
  3. Heasley DC, Mohamed MA, Yousem DM (2005). "Clearing of red blood cells in lumbar puncture does not rule out ruptured aneurysm in patients with suspected subarachnoid hemorrhage but negative head CT findings". AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 26 (4): 820–4. PMID 15814927.
  4. UK National External Quality Assessment Scheme for Immunochemistry Working Group (2003). "National guidelines for analysis of cerebrospinal fluid for bilirubin in suspected subarachnoid haemorrhage". Ann Clin Biochem. 40 (Pt 5): 481–8. doi:10.1258/000456303322326399. PMID 14503985.
  5. Vermeulen M, Hasan D, Blijenberg BG, Hijdra A, van Gijn J (1989). "Xanthochromia after subarachnoid haemorrhage needs no revisitation". J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 52 (7): 826–8. PMC 1031927. PMID 2769274.
  6. Broderick J, Connolly S, Feldmann E, Hanley D, Kase C, Krieger D; et al. (2007). "Guidelines for the management of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage in adults: 2007 update: a guideline from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke Council, High Blood Pressure Research Council, and the Quality of Care and Outcomes in Research Interdisciplinary Working Group". Stroke. 38 (6): 2001–23. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.107.183689. PMID 17478736.
  7. Morgenstern LB, Luna-Gonzales H, Huber JC, Wong SS, Uthman MO, Gurian JH; et al. (1998). "Worst headache and subarachnoid hemorrhage: prospective, modern computed tomography and spinal fluid analysis". Ann Emerg Med. 32 (3 Pt 1): 297–304. PMID 9737490.
  8. Cucchiara B, Messe S, Sansing L, Kasner S, Lyden P, CHANT Investigators (2008). "Hematoma growth in oral anticoagulant related intracerebral hemorrhage". Stroke. 39 (11): 2993–6. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.520668. PMID 18703803.
  9. Broderick JP, Diringer MN, Hill MD, Brun NC, Mayer SA, Steiner T; et al. (2007). "Determinants of intracerebral hemorrhage growth: an exploratory analysis". Stroke. 38 (3): 1072–5. doi:10.1161/01.STR.0000258078.35316.30. PMID 17290026.
  10. Flaherty ML, Tao H, Haverbusch M, Sekar P, Kleindorfer D, Kissela B; et al. (2008). "Warfarin use leads to larger intracerebral hematomas". Neurology. 71 (14): 1084–9. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000326895.58992.27. PMC 2668872. PMID 18824672.
  11. Miller CM, Vespa PM, McArthur DL, Hirt D, Etchepare M (2007). "Frameless stereotactic aspiration and thrombolysis of deep intracerebral hemorrhage is associated with reduced levels of extracellular cerebral glutamate and unchanged lactate pyruvate ratios". Neurocrit Care. 6 (1): 22–9. doi:10.1385/NCC:6:1:22. PMID 17356187.