Background: A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a hemorrhage in the subarachnoid space that is often caused by the rupture of an aneurysm. Patients who survive a subarachnoid hemorrhage have a high risk of complications and a negative long-term outcome.
Objective: The aim of the Imaging, Cognition and Outcome of Neuropsychological functioning after Subarachnoid hemorrhage (ICONS) study is to investigate whether and to what extent deficits exist in multiple domains after subarachnoid hemorrhage, including cognition, emotion and behavior, and to investigate whether brain damage can be detected in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage. We aim to determine which early measures of cognition, emotion and behavior, and brain damage in the subacute stage play a role in long-term recovery after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Recovery is defined as functioning at a societal participation level, with a focus on resuming and maintaining work, leisure activities, and social relationships over the long term.
Methods: The ICONS study is an observational, prospective, single-center cohort study. The study includes patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage admitted to the Neurosurgery Unit of the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands. The inclusion criteria include diagnosis of an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage or an angiographically negative subarachnoid hemorrhage, sufficient ability in the Dutch language, and age older than 18 years. Patients will undergo neuropsychological assessment and magnetic resonance imaging 6 months after the subarachnoid hemorrhage. Furthermore, patients will be asked to fill in questionnaires on multiple psychosocial measures and undergo a structured interview at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after the subarachnoid hemorrhage. The primary outcome measure of the ICONS study is societal participation 1 year after the subarachnoid hemorrhage, measured with the Dutch version of the Impact on Participation and Autonomy questionnaire.
Results: The study was launched in December 2019 and recruitment is expected to continue until June 2023. At the time of the acceptance of this paper, 76 patients and 69 healthy controls have been included. The first results are expected in early 2023.
Conclusions: The ICONS study is the first to collect and combine data after subarachnoid hemorrhage in a variety of domains, including cognition, emotion and behavior, and brain damage. The results will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the consequences of both aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and angiographically negative subarachnoid hemorrhage, which may ultimately optimize timely treatment for this patient group by setting realistic and attainable goals to improve daily functioning.