NYMC Faculty Publications

Low Total Cholesterol and High Density Lipoprotein are Independent Predictors of Poor Outcomes Following Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Preliminary Report

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Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery

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INTRODUCTION: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is devastating, with delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) significantly contributing to the high morbidity and mortality rates. Cholesterol has been studied as a measure of nutritional status in other neurological pathologies, but reports examining cholesterol's effects on aSAH outcomes are sparse. This study aimed to elucidate the effect of low total cholesterol (TC) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) on mortality and DCI following aSAH.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study at a quaternary academic medical center between June 2014 and July 2018. All patients had aSAH confirmed by digital subtraction angiography and had TC measured on admission. Primary outcomes were mortality and DCI. Secondary outcome was radiographic vasospasm. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed.

RESULTS: There were 75 aSAH patients, with an average age of 58.7 ± 1.7 (range: 14-89) and Hunt & Hess score of 2.8 ± 0.1, included for analysis. Those with a low TC < 160 mg/dL had 3 times increased odds of DCI (OR = 3.4; 95 %CI: 1.3-9.0; p = 0.0175) and a nearly 5 times increased odds of death (OR = 4.9; 95 %CI: 1.1-18.3; p = 0.0339). Low HDL < 40 mg/dL was associated with 12 times increased odds of DCI (OR = 12.3; 95 %CI: 2.7-56.4; p = 0.0003) but no significant differences in death (p = 0.2205). In multivariate analysis, low TC was an independent risk factor for increased mortality (OR = 5.6; 95 %CI: 1.2-27.6; p = 0.0335) while low HDL was associated with increased risk for DCI (OR = 17.9; 95 %CI: 3.1-104.4; p = 0.0013). There was no effect of TC or HDL on radiographic vasospasm.

CONCLUSIONS: Low TC and HDL are independent predictors of increased mortality and DCI, respectively, following aSAH. Low TC and HDL may be markers of poor overall health, in addition to having some pathophysiological effect on cerebral vasculature. These results may have practical implications for the improvement of aSAH prognostication and management.

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