Early endovascular treatment of ruptured cerebral aneurysms in patients in very poor neurological condition

Neurosurgery. 2002 Mar;50(3):457-64; discussion 464-5. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200203000-00005.


Objective: In patients in very poor neurological condition (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Grade V) with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, early surgery to prevent rebleeding and to allow appropriate treatment of complications is often difficult. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether early endovascular treatment followed by aggressive proactive treatment of complications (prophylactic hypervolemic hemodilution, hypertensive treatment in the event of systemic hypotension, and appropriate treatment of intracranial hypertension) is an acceptable management strategy for these patients.

Methods: We prospectively studied 11 consecutive patients who presented with acutely ruptured aneurysms and were in very poor neurological condition after resuscitation (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Grade V) but did not have a significant intracerebral hemorrhage. These patients received endovascular treatment with Guglielmi detachable coils (Boston Scientific/Target, Fremont, CA). Follow-up consisted of a clinical evaluation based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale. A control angiogram was obtained after 6 months in patients with favorable outcomes to evaluate the occlusion of the aneurysm.

Results: There were no deaths or complications directly related to the procedure. Two patients died as a consequence of increased intracranial pressure. The mean follow-up of the surviving patients was 12 months. Two patients had early rebleeding after the coiling and required further treatment. Four patients had good outcomes, two patients were moderately disabled, and three patients were severely disabled.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that early endovascular treatment of acutely ruptured cerebral aneurysms in patients evaluated as World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Grade V allows for aggressive treatment of intracranial hypertension and vasospasm. More than half of the patients had favorable outcomes. Therefore, early endovascular treatment seems to be a valuable alternative to early surgery in patients who present with a very poor clinical grade after subarachnoid hemorrhage. The results of this study are promising but must be interpreted with caution, because a small number of patients were studied.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / complications*
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / diagnostic imaging
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / therapy*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / instrumentation
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome