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Dantrolene for Treatment of Hyperthermia in Subarachnoidal Hemorrhage (SAH)

Information source: Medical University of Vienna
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 20, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Hyperthermia

Intervention: Dantrolene (Drug); Placebo (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2/Phase 3

Status: Terminated

Sponsored by: Medical University of Vienna

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Andrea Holzer, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Medical University Vienna, Department of Anesthesiology and General Intensive Care Medicine


Dantrolene is used to prevent hyperthermia in intensive care patients suffering from subarachnoidal hemorrhage.

Clinical Details

Official title: Dantrolene as a Treatment for Hyperthermia in Patients After Subarachnoidal Hemorrhage

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Magnitude and Duration of Hyperthermia

Detailed description: Background: Fever episodes occur in more than 50% of patients admitted to the ICU for subarachnoidal hemorrhage, central nervous system infection, seizure control, hemorrhagic stroke, and closed head injury despite antibiotic and antipyretic therapy. The exact mechanism of hyperthermia-induced brain injury is not known; however, various processes may be involved. For example, hyperthermia might increase the release of excitatory neurotransmitter or trigger an abundant amount of oxygen free radicals. Hyperthermia may also aggravate blood-brain barrier disruption, impair cytoskeletal proteolysis, and/or enhance inhibition of enzymatic protein kinases, which, in turn, would impair recovery of energy metabolism. Antipyretics are effective for conventional fever, but less useful for various central hyperthermia syndromes, especially those resulting from strokes, SAH, and head injuries. Even aggressive cooling is usually insufficient in patients with fever because it is unable to overcome the high metabolic rate in these patients. Likewise, physical cooling is counteracted by the thermoregulatory defenses being activated to maintain hyperthermia. In non-sedated individuals, active cooling increases metabolic stress without decreasing core temperature at all. To date, treatment of centrally mediated hyperthermia remains unsatisfying. Dantrolene has been available since 1975 as a specific treatment for acute malignant hyperthermia crises. However, dantrolene is increasingly being used for emergency treatment of life-threatening hyperthermia that is unresponsive to conventional treatments. For example, the drug has been used with some success for acute treatment of life-threatening hyperthermia resulting from neuroleptic malignant syndrome and hyperthermia associated with overdoses of various drugs. It has also been used for treatment of various other types of hyperthermia. Efficacy in these cases appears to be based on a non-specific action of the drug; but to the extent dantrolene is effective, its action must conform to the laws of thermodynamics. Dantrolene must, therefore, reduce metabolic heat production, augment systemic heat loss, or alter the normal distribution of heat within the body. In other words, dantrolene must reverse the abnormal (or ineffective) thermoregulatory control that initiates the hyperthermic crises. Item: We propose to test the hypothesis that dantrolene will reduce centrally mediated fever in patients after subarachnoidal hemorrhage. Specifically, we will test the hypothesis that dantrolene decreases the magnitude and duration of hyperthermia. The study will be restricted to neurosurgical patients with sustained fever (≥38ºC for more than an hour) without an identifiable infectious cause after subarachnoidal hemorrhage aged from 18 to 80 years. There will be no limitation of enrollment as to patients breathing spontaneously or being ventilator dependant.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 80 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- neurosurgical patients after subarachnoidal hemorrhage

- breathing spontaneously or being ventilator dependant

- sustained fever (≥38ºC for more than an hour) without an identifiable infectious

cause. Exclusion Criteria:

- infection

- pregnancy

- arrhythmia

- muscular dystrophia

- acute liver disease

Locations and Contacts

Medical University Vienna, Vienna 1090, Austria
Additional Information

Starting date: May 2008
Last updated: May 11, 2011

Page last updated: August 20, 2015

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