Transoceanic Management and Treatment of Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A 10-Year Experience

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Background and Purpose—

Because of the small number of yearly cases of ruptured cerebral aneurysms, endovascular treatment is not performed in Martinique. Therefore, patients from Martinique are sent 7000 km to Paris on commercial flights as soon as possible, where treatment is performed. Nontransportable patients are treated locally with either surgery or symptomatic care. The objective of our study was to assess patient outcomes and safety of this treatment strategy.


We retrospectively examined all cases of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in Martinique diagnosed during 2004 to 2013. Medical case records were searched for the type and location of treatment, clinical status, and transfer duration.


A total of 119 patients had an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage during the 10-year period. Of these, 91 were transferred to Paris, 12 were surgically treated locally, and 16 received symptomatic treatment. None of the transferred patients experienced any hemorrhagic recurrence, and none suffered a significant complication related to the air transportation. The median time between aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage diagnosis and arrival at the referral center was 32 hours. The 30-day case fatality rate for treated cases was 14.6% (8.8% for those treated in Paris and 58.3% for those treated locally).


Our treatment strategy for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage resulted in a 30-day case fatality rate similar to those observed elsewhere, despite an 8-hour flight and a median treatment delay of 32 hours. This strategy therefore seems to be safe and reliable for isolated regions with small populations.

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