Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) carries significant mortality and morbidity, with nearly half of SAH survivors having major cognitive dysfunction that impairs their functional status, emotional health, and quality of life. Apart from the initial hemorrhage severity, secondary brain injury due to early brain injury and delayed cerebral ischemia plays a leading role in patient outcome after SAH. While many strategies to combat secondary brain injury have been developed in preclinical studies and tested in late phase clinical trials, only one (nimodipine) has proven efficacious for improving long-term functional outcome. The causes of these failures are likely multitude, but include use of therapies targeting only one element of what has proven to be multifactorial brain injury process. Conditioning is a therapeutic strategy that leverages endogenous protective mechanisms to exert powerful and remarkably pleiotropic protective effects against injury to all major cell types of the CNS. The aim of this article is to review the current body of evidence for the use of conditioning agents in SAH, summarize the underlying neuroprotective mechanisms, and identify gaps in the current literature to guide future investigation with the long-term goal of identifying a conditioning-based therapeutic that significantly improves functional and cognitive outcomes for SAH patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-332
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Conditioning strategies
  • delayed cerebral ischemia
  • early brain injury
  • neurologic outcomes
  • neurovascular protection
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage


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