Decompressive Hemicraniectomy for the Treatment of Intractable Intracranial Hypertension After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

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Background and Purpose—Decompressive hemicraniectomy and duroplasty (DHCD) can improve survival in patients with severe cerebral edema. We present our clinical experience with DHCD for the treatment of refractory elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).Methods—DHCD was performed in 16 patients (11 female; median age, 49.5 years) with aSAH (11 Hunt-Hess grade 4 to 5) for sustained ICP >250 mm H2O refractory to maximal medical treatment and cerebrospinal fluid drainage at a median of 2 days from admission. Half of the patients were treated with endovascular coiling and the other half with surgical clipping.Results—DHCD (mean flap size, 8536 mm2) reduced ICP from 350±157 to 147±124 mm H2O. Eleven patients survived (69%), and at latest follow-up (median, 450 days), 7 (64%) had a modified Rankin score of 0 to 3 and 4 (36%) a score of 4 to 5. Peak herniated brain volume was inversely associated with good outcome (P<0.005). Early craniectomy performed within 48 hours after the aSAH was associated with better outcome: 6 of 8 patients had good outcomes (75%) compared with 1 of 8 patients in whom late decompression was performed (P<0.01). Midline shift, Hunt-Hess grade, presence of hemorrhage, hematoma volume, craniectomy area, peak ICP, and relative ICP reduction were not associated with outcome in this patient population.Conclusions—DHCD is a useful adjunct modality for management of refractory intracranial hypertension in patients with high-grade aSAH, even in the absence of large intraparenchymal hemorrhage. In our series, long-term outcome was better in patients who underwent early intervention.

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