BACKGROUND: Long-term administration of the antifibrinolytic agent epsilon aminocaproic acid (EACA) reduces the rate of rehemorrhage in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), but is associated with cerebral ischemia. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate short-term administration of EACA before early surgery in patients with SAH. METHODS: Retrospective review of 356 patients admitted between June 2002 and December 2007 with a diagnosis of aneurysmal SAH. Medical records were reviewed to determine SAH risk factors, clinical grade at the time of admission, and incidence of rehemorrhage, permanent new-onset focal neurological deficits, computed tomography evidence of cerebral infarction, symptomatic vasospasm, and hydrocephalus. RESULTS: Patients underwent treatment of the ruptured aneurysm an average of 47.4 hours after admission and received an average total dose of 40.6 g of EACA. The mean length of time of administration of EACA was 35.6 hours. There was a total of 5 rehemorrhages, for an overall rebleeding rate of 1.4% and a rate of rehemorrhage per 24-hour period of 0.71%. Overall, the rates of symptomatic vasospasm and permanent neurological deficits attributable to ischemic stroke were 11.5% and 7.2%, respectively, and the incidence of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was 42.3%. Patients who were treated with coiling had higher rates of symptomatic vasospasm and ischemic complications than patients who had surgery. CONCLUSION: Short-term administration of EACA is associated with rates of rehemorrhage, ischemic stroke, and symptomatic vasospasm that compare favorably with historical controls. The rate of hydrocephalus is relatively high and may be attributable to EACA treatment. Copyright © 2010 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.