(when diastolic BP >130 mm Hg)

Other Drugs: Mannitol (osmotic diuretic) may be ordered to decrease cerebral edema; stool softeners; sedatives may be used to induce rest; anticonvulsants; analgesics (acetaminophen or codeine) to control headache.


Accurate, detailed, and serial assessments are essential. Frequently, the first signs of rebleeding and vasospasm are evidenced through subtle changes in the neurological examination. At any time during the course of SAH, maintenance of airway, breathing, and circulation is the top priority. In the postoperative period, unless otherwise indicated, maintain the bed at an elevation of 30 to 40 degrees. Prevent flexion of the head, and maintain proper alignment of the head and neck with towel rolls or sandbags. Avoid hip flexion greater than 90 degrees. Suction the patient as needed to keep the airway open. If deep endotracheal suctioning is indicated, hyperventilate and hyperoxygenate the patient before suctioning and limit suctioning to less than 30 seconds.

To prevent complications from postoperative immobility, turn the patient often and provide skin care. Perform active or passive range-of-motion exercises, and encourage deep-breathing exercises when the patient is able. Space all nursing care activities to maintain ICP less than 15 mm Hg. Allow ICP to drop between all activities. Encourage other departments to space x-rays, therapies, and interviews to allow adequate rest and to avoid ICP elevations. Avoid conversations at the bedside that might be disturbing to the patient. Explain all procedures even if the patient does not appear to respond. Use soft restraints only when absolutely necessary; fighting restraints raises ICPs and thereby impedes venous outflow from the brain.

After surgery, monitor the dressing for bleeding or CSF leakage. If either occurs, notify the physician and reinforce the dressing. Inspect the surgical site with all dressing changes for redness, drainage, poor wound healing, and swelling.

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Headache Happiness

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