Background and purpose: Decompression craniectomy in acute malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) ischemic stroke (IS) reduces mortality. However, its role in reducing disability in this group of patients is often questioned in the stroke community since previous studies have employed variable time intervals for surgical decompression as well as criteria for defining severe disability. We evaluated our Asian cohort of acute IS patients for determining the factors associated with favorable functional outcome.
Methods: Data for all acute IS patients hospitalized to our tertiary center were entered into a prospectively maintained registry. In this retrospective analysis, data for all malignant MCA IS patients who underwent decompressive hemicraniectomy were extracted. Various demographic, clinical and neuroimaging factors were analyzed for identifying independent predictors of favorable functional outcome at 6 months, which was defined as modified Rankin Scale of 0-3.
Results: From January 2005 to December 2014, a total of 75 patients with anterior circulation IS underwent decompressive hemicraniectomy. Median age was 55 years (IQR 44-64) with male preponderance (66%) and median NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score 21 points (IQR 18-24). Considerable proportion of them (60%) received intravenous thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA). Majority (70%) of patients suffered from acute right MCA IS and median time from symptom-onset to surgery was 31 hours (range18-51). Decompressive surgery was performed within 48 hours of symptom-onset in 50 (67%) of the patients. Favorable functional outcome was achieved by 25 (33.3%) patients at 6 months. Right sided stroke (OR 5.333; 95% CI 1.359- 20.927, p=0.016 ) and early decompression surgery (performed within 48 hours from symptom-onset (OR 3.636; 95% CI 1.032- 12.809, p=0.045 ) were independent predictors of favorable functional outcome at 6 months.
Conclusion: Early decompression craniectomy, especially in right MCA ischemic stroke is associated with better favorable functional outcome at 6 months.