Isolated cases of transient pupillary changes after local intracisternal papaverine administration during aneurysm surgery have been reported. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with this phenomenon. We assessed a total of 103 consecutive patients who underwent craniotomy for cerebral aneurysm clipping for the presence of postoperative pupillary dilation (mydriasis) after intracisternal papaverine administration. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were conducted to evaluate the association of mydriasis with patient age, sex, duration of surgery, and aneurysm location. We observed either ipsilateral or bilateral pupillary dilation in the immediate postoperative period in nine out of 103 patients (8.7%). This phenomenon was not associated with patient age or sex. There was a trend towards positive correlation with aneurysms located at the anterior communicating artery (odds ratio 3.76, p = 0.10), and a negative correlation with the duration of surgery (odds ratio 0.57, p = 0.08). All pupillary dilation resolved within several hours, and the onset and resolution were consistent with the half-life of papaverine. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of posteropative pupillary changes due to papaverine. The current findings are consistent with the small number of prior case reports of transient pupillary changes after papaverine administration and appear to reflect the local anesthetic action of papaverine on the oculomotor nerve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-679
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Drug effects
  • Intracranial aneurysm
  • Mydriasis
  • Papaverine
  • Pupil dilation


Dive into the research topics of 'Transient pupillary dilation following local papaverine application in intracranial aneurysm surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this