Treatment of vasospasm with a 480-nm pulsed-dye laser

R. Macfarlane, A. Teramura, C. J. Owen, S. Chase, R. De La Torre, K. W. Gregory, J. W. Peterson, R. Birngruber, J. A. Parrish, N. T. Zervas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Laser energy at a wavelength of 480 nm was applied in 1-μsec pulses of 3 to 10 mJ to two models of vasospasm. Rabbit common carotid arteries (CCA's) were constricted chronically by the application of human blood within a silicone sheath. Peak vasospasm developed 24 to 48 hours later, and persisted for up to 6 days. Endovascular laser treatment was delivered to 40 CCA's via a 200-μm diameter silica quartz fiber introduced through the femoral artery. The CCA caliber increased from 60% of the pre-vasospasm control diameter to a minimum post-laser diameter of 83% of control. No instances of laser-induced perforation or of arterial thrombosis were observed for up to 60 days after treatment. Prophylactic laser application to nine normal vessels was able to attenuate the development of vasospasm if blood was applied immediately thereafter (88% vs. 59% of control diameter, p < 0.02), but not if blood was applied 7 days later. Studies in 16 normal CCA's established that there was a considerable margin between the laser energy required to induce dilatation and that which caused perforation, providing that the fiber remained relatively central within the artery. Morphological examination demonstrated focal loss of endothelial cells immediately after laser application, followed approximately 7 days later by the development of areas of intimal hyperplasia. Only minimal changes were observed in the medial or adventitial layers. In a second study, the basilar artery of seven dogs was constricted chronically by two intracisternal injections of autologous blood 3 days apart. Five dogs received endovascular laser treatment 7 or 10 days after the first injection, when basilar artery diameter was reduced to a mean of 61% and 77% of control, respectively. Immediately following treatment, basilar artery diameter increased to 104% and 102% of resting diameter, respectively. Both untreated and laser-treated arteries were smaller than the control diameter at 30 days (80% and 82%, respectively), but in each group the vasodilatory response to hypercapnia was preserved. These findings indicate that 1-μsec laser pulses are well tolerated by systemic and cerebral arteries in two different animal models, and suggest that the 480-nm pulsed-dye laser may have an application for the treatment or prophylaxis of cerebral vasospasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-622
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • basilar artery
  • common carotid artery
  • dog
  • pulsed-dye laser
  • rabbit
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • vasospasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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