The aim of this study was to analyze the treatment results and prognostic factors in patients with massive cerebral infarction who underwent decompressive craniectomy.
From January 2000 to December 2005, we performed decompressive craniectomy in 24 patients with massive cerebral infarction. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records, radiological findings, initial clinical assessment using the Glasgow Coma Scale, serial computerized tomography (CT) with measurement of midline and septum pellucidum shift, and cerebral infarction territories. Patients were evaluated based on the following factors : the pre- and post-operative midline shifting on CT scan, infarction area or its dominancy, consciousness level, pupillary light reflex and Glasgow Outcome Scale.
All 24 patients (11 men, 13 women; mean age, 63 years; right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory, 17 patients; left MCA territory, 7 patients) were treated with large decompressive craniectomy and duroplasty. The average time interval between the onset of symptoms and surgical decompression was 2.5 days. The mean Glasgow Coma Scale was 12.4 on admission and 8.3 preoperatively. Of the 24 surgically treated patients, the good outcome group (Group 2 : GOS 4-5) comprised 9 cases and the poor outcome group (Group1 : GOS 1-3) comprised 15 cases.
We consider decompressive craniectomy for large hemispheric infarction as a life-saving procedure. Good preoperative GCS, late clinical deterioration, small size of the infarction area, absence of anisocoria, and preoperative midline shift less than 11mm were considered to be positive predictors of good outcome. Careful patient selection based on the above-mentioned factors and early operation may improve the functional outcome of surgical management for large hemispheric infarction.
Acute cerebral infarction; Brain edema; Brain herniation; Decompressive craniectomy; Intracranial pressure
Objective: Malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarction is characterized by mortality rate of up to 80%. The aim of this study was to determine the value of decompressive craniectomy in patients presenting malignant MCA infarction compared with those receiving medical treatment alone. Methods: Patients with malignant MCA infarction treated in our hospital between January 1996 and March 2004 were included in this retrospective analysis. The National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) was used to assess neurological status on admission and at one week after surgery. All patients were followed up for assessment of functional outcome by the Barthel index (BI) and modified Rankin Scale (RS) at 3 months after infarction. Results: Ten out of 24 patients underwent decompressive craniectomy. The mean interval between stroke onset and surgery was 62.10 h. The mortality was 10.0% compared with 64.2% in patients who received medical treatment alone (P<0.001). The mean NIHSS score before surgery was 26.0 and 15.4 after surgery (P<0.001). At follow up, patients who underwent surgery had significantly better outcome with mean BI of 53.3, RS of 3.3 as compared to only 16.0 and 4.60 in medically treated patients. Speech function also improved in patients with dominant hemispherical infarction. Conclusion: Decompressive craniectomy in patients with malignant MCA infarction improves both survival rates and functional outcomes compared with medical treatment alone. A randomized controlled trial is required to substantiate those findings.
Decompressive craniectomy; Cerebral infarction; Middle cerebral artery (MCA)
Malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarction occurs in 10% of all ischemic strokes and these severe strokes are associated with high mortality rates. Recent clinical trials demonstrated that early decompressive craniectomy reduce mortality rates and improves functional outcomes in healthy young patients (less than 61 years of age) with a malignant infarction. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of decompressive craniectomy in elderly patients (older than 70 years of age) with a malignant MCA infarction.
Between February 2008 and October 2011, 131 patients were diagnosed with malignant MCA infarctions. We divided these patients into two groups: patients who underwent decompressive craniectomy (n = 58) and those who underwent conservative care (n = 73). A cut-off point of 70 years of age was set, and the study population was segregated into those who fell above or below this point. Mortality rates and functional outcome scores were assessed, and a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of > 3 was considered to represent a poor outcome.
Mortality rates were significantly lower at 29.3% (one-month mortality rate) and 48.3% (six-month mortality rate) in the craniectomy group as compared to 58.9% and 71.2%, respectively, in the conservative care group (p < 0.001, p = 0.007). Age (≥70 years vs. < 70 years) did not statistically differ between groups for the six-month mortality rate (p = 0.137). However, the pre-operative National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score did contribute to the six-month mortality rate (p = 0.047).
Decompressive craniectomy is effective for patients with a malignant MCA infarction regardless of their age. Therefore, factors other than age should be considered and the treatment should be individualized in elderly patients with malignant infarctions.
Age; Mortality; Middle cerebral artery; Cerebral infarction; Decompressive craniectomy
Background. Decompressive craniectomy can be proposed in the management of severe traumatic brain injury. Current studies report mixed results, preventing any clear conclusions on the place of decompressive craniectomy in traumatology. Methods. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the results of all decompressive craniectomies performed between 2005 and 2011 for refractory intracranial hypertension after severe traumatic brain injury. Sixty patients were included. Clinical parameters (Glasgow scale, pupillary examination) and radiological findings (Marshall CT scale) were analysed. Complications, clinical outcome, and early and long-term Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) were evaluated after surgery. Finally, the predictive value of preoperative parameters to guide the clinician's decision to perform craniectomy was studied. Results. Craniectomy was unilateral in 58 cases and the mean bone flap area was 100 cm2. Surgical complications were observed in 6.7% of cases. Mean followup was 30 months and a favourable outcome was obtained in 50% of cases. The initial Glasgow Scale was the only statistically significant predictive factor for long-term outcome. Conclusion. Despite the discordant results in the literature, this study demonstrates that decompressive craniectomy is useful for the management of refractory intracranial hypertension after severe traumatic brain injury.
Objective: To determine long term functional outcome and length of survival of patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy for space occupying infarction of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), and to identify risk factors associated with death and unfavourable outcomes
Methods: Databases of patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy for space occupying MCA infarction compiled at eight neurosurgical departments (1996–2001) were merged, and 188 patients were evaluated. Mortality was calculated by the Kaplan–Meier method. Clinical outcome was rated using the Glasgow outcome scale (GOS). The prognostic impact of patient related covariates on length of survival and the GOS was analysed multivariately.
Results: The unadjusted 3, 6, and 12 month mortality rates were 7.9%, 37.6%, and 43.8%, respectively (median follow up, 26 weeks). In the "best" multivariate model, age >50 years (p<0.02) and the involvement of two or more additional vascular territories (p<0.01) had an unfavourable impact on length of survival. The adjusted six month mortality was as low as 20.0% (no risk factor) and as high as 59.7% (two risk factors). A GOS score of ⩽3 was significantly associated with age >50 years (p<0.0003): 34.9% of the patients ⩽50 years of age achieved a GOS score of >3, as compared with 12.0% of the elderly subpopulation. The side of the infarct did not have prognostic relevance.
Conclusions: Results of surgical treatment in patients <50 years of age undergoing decompressive craniectomy are encouraging. The effectiveness of decompressive craniectomy for patients >50 years remains questionable and should be analysed in the framework of a prospective randomised study.
Decompressive craniectomy (DC) has increasing support with current studies suggesting an improvement in both survival rates and outcomes with this intervention. However, questions surround this procedure; specifically, no evidence has indicated the optimal craniectomy size. Larger craniectomy is thought to better decrease intracranial pressure, but with a possible increase in complication rates. Our hypothesis is that a larger craniectomy may improve mortality and outcome, but may increase complication rates.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective observational therapeutic study was undertaken to determine if craniectomy size is related to complication rates, mortality, or outcome. Our institution's Trauma Registry was searched for patients undergoing DC. Craniectomy size was measured by antero-posterior (AP) diameter. Mortality, outcome (through admission and discharge Glasgow Coma Score and Glasgow Outcome Scale), and complications (such as re-bleeding, re-operation, hygroma, hydrocephalus, infection, and syndrome of the trephined) were noted. Complications, mortality, and outcome were then compared to craniectomy size, to determine if any relation existed to support our hypothesis.
20 patients met criteria for inclusion in this study. Craniectomy size as measured by AP diameter was correlated with a statistically significant improvement in mortality within the group. All patients with a craniectomy size less than 10 cm died. However, outcome was not significantly related to craniectomy size in the group. Similarly, complication rates did not differ significantly compared to craniectomy size.
This study provides Level 3 evidence that craniectomy size may be significantly related to improved mortality within our group, supporting our initial hypothesis; however, no significant improvement in outcome was seen. Similarly, in contrast to our hypothesis, complication rates did not significantly correlate with craniectomy size.
Craniectomy; neurotrauma; traumatic brain injury
An effective intervention has not yet been established for patients with acute occlusion of the internal carotid artery (ICA). The aim of our study was to investigate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of emergent stent placement of carotid artery to improve neurologic symptoms and clinical outcome.
Of 84 consecutive patients with severe ICA stenosis who were admitted to our institution from March 2006 to May 2009, 10 patients with acute ICA occlusion (11.9%) underwent emergency carotid artery stent placement. We reviewed their records for neurologic outcome using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, before and at 7 days after stent placement; clinical outcome using the modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS); frequency of procedure-related complications; and recurrence rate of ipsilateral ischemic stroke within 90 days.
Carotid lesions were dilated completely in all patients. Median NIHSS scores before emergency stent placement and at 7 days were 16.6 and 6, respectively, showing significant improvement. Eight patients (80%) had favorable outcomes (mRS score 0-2 and GOS 4-5). Complications occurred in two patients (20%): stent insertion failed in one and an intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in the other. Ipsilateral ischemic stroke did not recur within 3 months.
Emergency carotid artery stent placement can improve the 7-day neurologic outcome and the 90-day clinical outcome in selected patients with acute cerebral infarction.
Cerebral infarction; Carotid stenosis; Stent
Acute post-traumatic brain swelling (BS) is one of the pathological forms that need emergent treatment following traumatic brain injury. There is controversy about the effects of craniotomy on acute post-traumatic BS. The aim of the present clinical study was to assess the efficacy of unilateral decompressive craniectomy (DC) or unilateral routine temporoparietal craniectomy on patients with unilateral acute post-traumatic BS.
Seventy-four patients of unilateral acute post-traumatic BS with midline shifting more than 5 mm were divided randomly into two groups: unilateral DC group (n = 37) and unilateral routine temporoparietal craniectomy group (control group, n = 37). The vital signs, the intracranial pressure (ICP), the Glasgow outcome scale (GOS), the mortality rate and the complications were prospectively analysed.
The mean ICP values of patients in the unilateral DC group at hour 24, hour 48, hour 72 and hour 96 after injury were much lower than those of the control group (15.19 +/- 2.18 mmHg, 16.53 +/- 1.53 mmHg, 15.98 +/- 2.24 mmHg and 13.518 +/- 2.33 mmHg versus 19.95 +/- 2.24 mmHg, 18.32 +/- 1.77 mmHg, 21.05 +/- 2.23 mmHg and 17.68 +/- 1.40 mmHg, respectively). The mortality rates at 1 month after treatment were 27% in the unilateral DC group and 57% in the control group (p = 0.010). Good neurological outcome (GOS Score of 4 to 5) rates 1 year after injury for the groups were 56.8% and 32.4%, respectively (p = 0.035). The incidences of delayed intracranial hematoma and subdural effusion were 21.6% and 10.8% versus 5.4% and 0, respectively (p = 0.041 and 0.040).
Our data suggest that unilateral DC has superiority in lowering ICP, reducing the mortality rate and improving neurological outcomes over unilateral routine temporoparietal craniectomy. However, it increases the incidence of delayed intracranial hematomas and subdural effusion, some of which need secondary surgical intervention. These results provide information important for further large and multicenter clinical trials on the effects of DC in patients with acute post-traumatic BS.
Malignant cerebral infarction is a well-recognized disease, comprising 10-15% of all cases with cerebral infarction and causing herniation and death in 80% of cases. In this study, we compare the effects of decompressive craniectomy versus conventional medical treatment on mortality rate and functional and neurological outcome in patients with malignant MCA infarction.
We performed a prospective case–control study on 60 patients younger than 80years of age suffering malignant MCA cerebral infarction. The case group underwent decompressive craniectomy in addition to routine aggressive medical care; while the control group received routine medical treatment. Patient outcome was assessed using Glasgow outcome scale and modified Rankin scale within three months of follow-up. The data were analyzed by SPSS version 16.0 software using Chi Square, One-way ANOVA and Mann–Whitney tests.
There were 27 male and 33 female patients with a mean age of 60.6 years (SD = 12.3). Glasgow outcome scale score averaged 2.93 in the surgical versus 1.53 in the medical group; this difference was significant (p = 0.001). Outcome in modified Rankin scale was also significantly lower in the surgical (3.27) versus medical (5.27) group (p < 0.001). Surgery could decrease the mortality rate about 47%.
In this study, decompressive craniectomy could decrease mortality rate, and improve neurological and functional outcome, and decrease long-term disability in patients with malignant MCA infarction.
Cerebral infarction; Decompressive craniectomy; Middle cerebral artery
Vertebrobasilar junction entrapment due to a clivus fracture is a rare clinical observation. The present case report describes a 54-yr-old man who sustained a major craniofacial injury. The patient displayed a stuporous mental state (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS]=8) and left hemiparesis (Grade 3). The initial computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a right subdural hemorrhage in the frontotemporal region, with a midline shift and longitudinal clival fracture. A decompressive craniectomy with removal of the hematoma was performed. Two days after surgery, a follow-up CT scan showed cerebellar and brain stem infarction, and a CT angiogram revealed occlusion of the left vertebral artery and entrapment of vertebrobasilar junction by the clival fracture. A decompressive suboccipital craniectomy was performed and the patient gradually recovered. This appears to be a rare case of traumatic vertebrobasilar junction entrapment due to a longitudinal clival fracture, including a cerebellar infarction caused by a left vertebral artery occlusion. A literature review is provided.
Cranial Fossa, Posterior; Skull Fracture, Basilar; Vertebral artery; Brain Infarction
Life-threatening, space occupying, infarction develops in 10-15% of patients after middle cerebral artery infarction (MCAI). Though decompressive craniectomy (DC) is now standard of care in patients with non-dominant stroke, its role in dominant MCAI (DMCAI) is largely undefined. This may reflect the ethical dilemma of saving life of a patient who may then remain hemiplegic and dysphasic. This study specifically addresses this issue.
Materials and Methods:
This retrospective analysis studied patients with DMCAI undergoing DC. Patient records, operation notes, radiology, and out-patient files were scrutinized to collate data. Glasgow outcome scale (GOS), Barthel index (BI) and improvement in language and motor function were evaluated to determine functional outcome.
Eighteen patients between 22 years and 72 years of age were included. 6 week, 3 month, 6 month and overall survival rates were 66.6% (12/18), 64% (11/17), 62.5% (10/16) and 62.5% (10/16) respectively. Amongst ten surviving patients with long-term follow-up, 60% showed improvement in GOS, 70% achieved BI score >60 while 30% achieved full functional independence. In this group, motor power and language function improved in 9 and 8 patients respectively. At last follow-up, 8 of 10 surviving patients were ambulatory with (3/8) or without (5/8) support. Age <50 years corresponded with better functional outcome amongst survivors (P value –0.0068).
Language and motor outcomes after DC in patients with DMCAI are not as dismal as commonly perceived. Perhaps young patients (<50 years) with DMCAI should be treated with the same aggressiveness that non-DMCAI is currently dealt with.
Craniectomy; dominant; middle cerebral artery; outcome; stroke
Adequate management of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) is critical in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), and decompressive craniectomy is widely used to treat refractory increased ICP. The authors reviewed and analyzed complications following decompressive craniectomy for the management of TBI.
A total of 89 consecutive patients who underwent decompressive craniectomy for TBI between February 2004 and February 2009 were reviewed retrospectively. Incidence rates of complications secondary to decompressive craniectomy were determined, and analyses were performed to identify clinical factors associated with the development of complications and the poor outcome.
Complications secondary to decompressive craniectomy occurred in 48 of the 89 (53.9%) patients. Furthermore, these complications occurred in a sequential fashion at specific times after surgical intervention; cerebral contusion expansion (2.2 ± 1.2 days), newly appearing subdural or epidural hematoma contralateral to the craniectomy defect (1.5 ± 0.9 days), epilepsy (2.7 ± 1.5 days), cerebrospinal fluid leakage through the scalp incision (7.0 ± 4.2 days), and external cerebral herniation (5.5 ± 3.3 days). Subdural effusion (10.8 ± 5.2 days) and postoperative infection (9.8 ± 3.1 days) developed between one and four weeks postoperatively. Trephined and post-traumatic hydrocephalus syndromes developed after one month postoperatively (at 79.5 ± 23.6 and 49.2 ± 14.1 days, respectively).
A poor GCS score (≤ 8) and an age of ≥ 65 were found to be related to the occurrence of one of the above-mentioned complications. These results should help neurosurgeons anticipate these complications, to adopt management strategies that reduce the risks of complications, and to improve clinical outcomes.
Decompressive craniectomy; Traumatic brain injury; Complication
Decompressive Craniectomy is an effective option in the management of intractable intracranial hypertension.
Aim and objectives
Neuronal conservation can be achieved by aggressive decompression (hemicraniectomy).
Material and methods
In this series 12 patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or <8 with increased intracranial pressure underwent decompressive hemicraniectomy.
The outcomes were prospectively evaluated. Eight patients were victims of traumatic brain injury. There were two patients who had suffered malignant Middle Cerebral Artery Infarctions, one patient had a cerebral venous thrombosis and one, an intracerebral hematoma. Four patients in this cohort died, while five had good outcomes.
The rationale and role of this relatively easy but underutilised procedure are discussed.
Intracranial hypertension; Decompressive hemicraniectomy
A prospective cohort study was done to evaluate the role of surgery in patients with spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haemorrhage (SICH) and to identify predictors of outcome including the use of invasive regional cortical cerebral blood flow (rCoBF) and microdialysis. Surgery consisted of craniotomy or decompressive craniectomy. The ventriculostomy for intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring and drainage and regional cortical cerebral blood flow (rCoBF) and microdialysis were performed in all subjects. Pre and post operative information on subjects were collected. The study end points was functional outcome at 6 months based on a dichotomised Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS).The selected clinical, radiological, biochemical and treatment factors that may influence the functional outcome were analysed for their significance. A total of 36 patients were recruited with 27(75%) patients had Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) between 5 to 8 on admission and 9(25%) were admitted with GCS of 9. At 6 months, 86 % had a poor or unfavourable outcome (GOS I–III) and 14% had good or favourable outcome (GOS IV–V). The mortality rate at 6 months was 55%. Univariate analysis for the functional outcome identified 2 significant variables, the midline shift (p=0.013) and mean lactate:pyruvate ratio (p=0.038). Multivariate analysis identified midline shift as the single significant independent predictor of functional outcome (p=0.013).Despite aggressive regional cortical cerebral blood flow (rCoBF) and microdialysis study for detection of early ischemia, surgical treatment for spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage only benefited a small number of patients in terms of favourable outcome (14%) and in the majority of patients (86%), the outcome was unfavourable. Patients with midline shift > 5mm has almost 21 times higher chances (adj) OR 20.8 of being associated with poor outcome (GOS I–III).
intracerebral haemorrhage; regional cortical cerebral blood flow (rCoBF); surgery; Glasgow Outcome Scale
Decompressive craniectomy has been traditionally used as a lifesaving rescue treatment in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study assessed whether objective information on long-term prognosis would influence healthcare workers' opinion about using decompressive craniectomy as a lifesaving procedure for patients with severe TBI.
A two-part structured interview was used to assess the participants' opinion to perform decompressive craniectomy for three patients who had very severe TBI. Their opinion was assessed before and after knowing the predicted and observed risks of an unfavourable long-term neurological outcome in various scenarios.
Five hundred healthcare workers with a wide variety of clinical backgrounds participated. The participants were significantly more likely to recommend decompressive craniectomy for their patients than for themselves (mean difference in visual analogue scale [VAS] −1.5, 95% confidence interval −1.3 to −1.6), especially when the next of kin of the patients requested intervention. Patients' preferences were more similar to patients who had advance directives. The participants' preferences to perform the procedure for themselves and their patients both significantly reduced after knowing the predicted risks of unfavourable outcomes, and the changes in attitude were consistent across different specialties, amount of experience in caring for similar patients, religious backgrounds, and positions in the specialty of the participants.
Access to objective information on risk of an unfavourable long-term outcome influenced healthcare workers' decision to recommend decompressive craniectomy, considered as a lifesaving procedure, for patients with very severe TBI.
Posttraumatic cerebral infarction (PTCI), an infarction in well-defined arterial distributions after head trauma, is a known complication in patients with severe head trauma. The primary aims of this study were to evaluate the clinical and radiographic characteristics of PTCI, and to assess the effect on outcome of decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) in patients with PTCI.
We present a retrospective analysis of 20 patients with PTCI who were treated between January 2003 and August 2005. Twelve patients among them showed malignant PTCI, which is defined as PTCI including the territory of Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA). Medical records and radiologic imaging studies of patients were reviewed.
Infarction of posterior cerebral artery distribution was the most common site of PTCI. Fourteen patients underwent DHC an average of 16 hours after trauma. The overall mortality rate was 75%. Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) of survivors showed that one patient was remained in a persistent vegetative state, two patients were severely disabled and only two patients were moderately disabled at the time of discharge. Despite aggressive treatments, all patients with malignant PTCI had died. Malignant PTCI was the indicator of poor clinical outcome. Furthermore, Glasgow coma scale (GCS) at the admission was the most valuable prognostic factor. Significant correlation was observed between a GCS less than 5 on admission and high mortality (p<0.05).
In patients who developed non-malignant PTCI and GCS higher than 5 after head injury, early DHC and duroplasty should be considered, before occurrence of irreversible ischemic brain damage. High mortality rate was observed in patients with malignant PTCI or PTCI with a GCS of 3-5 at the admission. A large prospective randomized controlled study will be required to justify for aggressive treatments including DHC and medical treatment in these patients.
Brain trauma; Cerebral infarction; Decompressive craniectomy
Massive ischemic cerebellar infarct (MICI) is a main source of stroke, which can lead to severe morbidity and mortality. There is no consensus in medical literature for the management of MICI. The choice is made between placing an external ventricular drainage, suboccipital decompressive craniectomy, and removal of necrotic tissue or conservative treatment. There are not many prospective studies, done on this subject.
We retrospectively analyzed the clinical features, and imaging studies of 53 patients with MICI who had been treated by surgery or conservative treatment between January 2000 and December 2008 at the Department of Neurosurgery of the general hospital of Fort de France in Martinique. A total of 25 patients underwent surgery and 28 were treated medically.
The results show significantly better outcomes in the operated patients compared with the patients treated medically; Operated comatose patients demonstrated significant improvement in their Glasgow coma score (GCS) score with only two deaths. Whereas, nonoperated comatose patients lost points in their GCS with four deaths.
The results of our study suggest that surgery may be an effective procedure and quite helpful for MICI in majority of cases.
Cerebellar infarct; external ventricular derivation; neurovascular; suboccipital craniotomy
The choice of optimal treatment in traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients is a challenge. The aim of this study was to verify the neurological outcome of severe TBI patients treated with decompressive craniectomy (early < 24 h, late > 24 h), compared to conservative treatment, in hospital and after 6-months.
A total of 186 TBI patients admitted to the ICU of the Emergency Department of a tertiary referral center (Careggi Teaching Hospital, Florence, Italy) from 2005 through 2009 were retrospectively studied. Patients treated with decompressive craniectomy were divided into 2 groups: “early craniectomy group” (patients who underwent to craniectomy within the first 24 hours); and “late craniectomy group” (patients who underwent to craniectomy later than the first 24 hours). As a control group, patients whose intracranial hypertension was successfully controlled by medical treatment were included in the “no craniectomy group”.
Groups included 41 patients who required early decompressive craniectomy, 21 patients treated with late craniectomy (7.7 days after trauma, on average), and 124 patients for whom intracranial hypertension was successfully controlled through conservative treatment. Groups were comparable in age and trauma/critical illness scores, except for a significantly higher Marshall score in early craniectomized patients. The Glasgow Outcome Scale was comparable between groups at ICU, at the time of hospital discharge and at 6 months.
In our sample, a late craniectomy in patients with refractory intracranial hypertension produced a comparable 6-months neurological outcome if compared to patients responder to standard treatment. This data must be reproduced and confirmed before considering as goal-treatment in refractory intracranial hypertension.
Refractory intracranial hypertension is a leading cause of poor neurological outcomes in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. Decompressive craniectomy has been used in the management of refractory intracranial hypertension for about a century, and is presently one of the most important methods for its control. However, there is still a lack of conclusive evidence for its efficacy in terms of patient outcome. In this article, we focus on the technical aspects of decompressive craniectomy and review different methods for this procedure. Moreover, we review technical improvements in large decompressive craniectomy, which is currently recommended by most authors and is aimed at increasing the decompressive effect, avoiding surgical complications, and facilitating subsequent management. At present, in the absence of prospective randomized controlled trials to prove the role of decompressive craniectomy in the treatment of traumatic brain injury, these technical improvements are valuable.
Decompressive Craniectomy; Traumatic Brain Injury
Stroke is the most prevalent disease involving the central nervous system. Since medical modalities are sometimes ineffective for the acute edema following massive infarction, surgical decompression may be an effective option when medical treatments fail. The present study was undertaken to assess the outcome and prognostic factors of decompressive surgery in life threatening acute, severe, brain infarction.
We retrospectively analyzed twenty-six patients (17 males and 9 females; average age, 49.7yrs) who underwent decompressive surgery for severe cerebral or cerebellar infarction from January 2003 to December 2006. Surgical indication was based on the clinical signs such as neurological deterioration, pupillary reflex, and radiological findings. Clinical outcome was assessed by Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS).
Of the 26 patients, 5 (19.2%) showed good recovery, 5 (19.2%) showed moderate disability, 2 (7.7%) severe disability, 6 (23.1%) persistent experienced vegetative state, and 8 (30.8%) death. In this study, the surgical decompression improved outcome for cerebellar infarction, but decompressive surgery did not show a good result for MCA infarction (30.8% overall mortality vs 100% mortality). The dominant-hemisphere infarcts showed worse prognosis, compared with nondominant-hemisphere infarcts (54.5% vs 70%). Poor prognostic factors were diabetes mellitus, dominant-hemisphere infarcts and low preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score.
The patients who exhibit clinical deterioration despite aggressive medical management following severe cerebral infarction should be considered for decompressive surgery. For better outcome, prompt surgical treatment is mandatory. We recommend that patients with severe cerebral infarction should be referred to neurosurgical department primarily in emergency setting or as early as possible for such prompt surgical treatment.
Cerebral infarct; Brain edema; Decompression; Surgery; Craniectomy
Concurrent abuse of alcohol and cocaine results in the formation of cocaethylene, a powerful cocaine metabolite. Cocaethylene potentiates the direct cardiotoxic and indirect neurotoxic effects of cocaine or alcohol alone.
A 44-year-old female with history of cocaine and alcohol abuse presented with massive stroke in the emergency department. CT scan revealed extensive left internal carotid artery dissection extending into the left middle and anterior cerebral arteries resulting in a massive left hemispheric infarct, requiring urgent decompressive craniectomy. The patient had a stormy hospital course with multiple episodes of torsades de pointes in the first 4 days requiring aggressive management. She survived all events and was discharged to a nursing home with residual right hemiplegia and aphasia.
The combination of ethanol and cocaine has been associated with a significant increase in the incidence of neurological and cardiac emergencies including cerebral infarction, intracranial hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac arrhythmias. The alteration of cocaine pharmacokinetics and the formation of cocaethylene have been implicated, at least partially, in the increased toxicity of this drug combination.
cocaine; alcohol; cocaethylene; neurotoxicity; cardiotoxicity
Decompressive hemicraniectomy not only reduces the intracranial pressure but has been demonstrated to increase survival and decrease the morbidity in patients with supratentorial malignant brain infarcts (STMBI). The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of surgical decompression to decrease the mortality and morbidity in patients with STMBI refractory to medical therapy and to compare the results with those of the medically managed patients.
All the 24 consecutive patients with clinical and radiological diagnosis of STMBI, refractory to medical management in 2 years, were included. Option of surgical decompression after explaining the outcome, risk and benefits of the procedure was given to the attendants/relatives of all patients who were fulfilling the inclusion criteria. The patient group, whose attendants/relatives were not willing to undergo surgery, were subjected to the same medical therapy and they were taken as the “control group.”
Supratentorial malignant infarcts were more common in the age group of 41–60 years. Mean age of presentation was 42.16 ± 16.2 years and the mean GCS on admission was 7.83 ± 2.1. Mortality was 16.7% in the surgically and 25.0% in the medically managed group. Patients operated early (<48 h), age ≤60 years, midline shift <5 mm and size of infarct less than 2/3rd of the vascular territory involved showed good prognosis. The functional outcome revealed by modified Rankin Score (mRS) and Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) was better in surgically managed patients. Results of the Zung Self-Rating Depression Score were better in surgically managed patients at 1 year. Barthal Index in the surgically managed group showed statistically significant results.
Decompressive hemicraniectomy with duroplasty if performed early in STMBI not only decreases the mortality but also increases the functional outcome when compared with patients who were managed conservatively with medical therapy only.
Brain infarct; decompressive hemicraniectomy; mortality; outcome
The objective of this study was to compare the periprocedural and clinical outcomes after carotid artery stenting (CAS) with proximal protection devices versus with distal protection devices.
Material and methods
Patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis undergoing CAS with cerebral embolic protection were randomly assigned to proximal balloon occlusion or distal filter protection. Adverse events were defined as death, major stroke, minor stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA) and myocardial infarction (MI). Periprocedural and 30-day adverse events and ICA vasospasm rates were compared between the two embolic protection groups.
Eighty-eight consecutive patients were randomized: 48 patients with proximal protection (mean age 68.8 ±13.6, 66% male) and 40 patients with a distal protection device (mean age 65.4 ±12.3; 70% male). There was no significant difference in periprocedural or 30-day adverse event rates between the two groups (p > 0.05). However, there was a higher periprocedural ICA vasospasm rate in the distal filter protection group (9 patients, 23%) compared with the proximal balloon occlusion group (1 patient, 2%) (p = 0.019).
There was no difference between the clinical periprocedural and 30-day adverse event rates of distal filter and proximal balloon protection systems. However, distal filter protection systems showed higher rates of periprocedural ICA vasospasm.
carotid artery stenosis; protection devices; stenting
We report a 33-year-old Malay woman presented with acute left dense hemiparesis and an NIHSS score of 11/15. Computed tomography (CT) scan brain showed a massive right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory infarct. The right internal carotid artery (ICA) and right proximal MCA were shown occluded from digital substraction angiography (DSA). Carotid dissection, carotid canal anomaly, and intercavernous communication were systematically ruled out. She had no risk factors for atherosclerosis. The connective tissue screening and thrombophilic markers were negative. However, she was anaemic on admission and subsequent investigations revealed that she had alpha-thalassemia and iron deficiency anaemia. The right ICA remained occluded from a repeat CT cerebral angiogram after one year, but otherwise she was neurologically stable. This case illustrates an unusual association between intracranial vessel occlusion with iron deficiency anaemia and alpha-thalassemia trait.
Neurotrauma centers have developed management protocols on the basis of evidence obtained from literature analysis and institutional experience. This article reviews our institutional experience in the management of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Simòn Bolivar Hospital, the district trauma center for Bogotá's north zone.
This is a case control study comparing a group of patients (n: 16) operated for severe TBI between January 2002 and July 2004 according to an institutional management protocol characterized by an early decompressive craniectomy (DC) approach versus a historical control group (n: 20) managed before the implementation of such protocol. Mortality and Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) at 6 months were used as the main outcome variables.
An early DC protocol implemented within 12 hours from injury in 16 patients with severe isolated TBI and a Marshall score between III or IV was associated with a lesser mortality than the conventional approach with ventriculostomy and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) management alone. The GOS was significantly better in the DC group (p=0.0002) than in the control group.
The use of an early DC protocol for severe TBI patients (Glasgow Coma Scale <9) had a significantly improved outcome compared with the conventional approach with ventriculostomy and ICU management in Simòn Bolivar Hospital in Bogotá, Colombia.
Decompressive craniectomy; neurotrauma; severe head trauma; traumatic brain injury