BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
To evaluate the outcome of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) developing intractable intracranial hypertension and treated by decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC).
Of 193 patients with aSAH 38 patients were treated with DHC after early aneurysm clipping. Indications for DHC were 1. Signs of brain swelling during aneurysm surgery (group 1: primary DHC). 2. Intracranial pressure- (ICP)-elevation and epidural, subdural or intracerebral hematoma after aneurysm surgery (group 2: secondary DHC due to hematoma) 3. Brain edema and elevated ICP without radiological signs of infarction (group 3: secondary DHC without infarction). 4. Brain edema and elevated ICP with radiological signs of infarction (group 4: secondary DHC with infarction).
Thirty-one patients (81.6%) suffered from high grade aSAH Hunt & Hess 4-5. 21 belonged to group 1, five to group 2, six to group 3 and six to group 4. Of a total of 38 patients a good functional outcome according to Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS 4 & 5) could be reached in 52.6% of the cases. 26.3% survived severely disabled (GOS 3), no case suffered from a vegetative state (GOS 2) but 21.1% died (GOS 1). After 12 months good functional outcome could be achieved in 52.4% of the cases in group 1, in 60% in group 2, in 83.3% in group 3 and in 16.7% in group 4.
In more than half of the patients with intractable intracranial hypertension after aSAH a good functional outcome could be achieved after DHC. Patients with progressive brain edema without radiological signs of infarction and those with hematoma may benefit most. The indication for DHC should be set restrictively if secondary infarcts are manifest.