Object: The most appropriate treatment for cerebral aneurysms, both ruptured and unruptured, is currently under debate, and updated guidelines have yet to be defined. The authors attempted to identify trends in therapy for cerebral aneurysms in the US as well as outcomes.
Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample hospital discharge database (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) for the period 1993-2003. Multiple variables were categorized and subjected to statistical analysis for International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification codes related to subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), unruptured aneurysm, and clipping and endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysm.
Results: During the study period, the numbers of discharges remained stable for SAH but doubled for unruptured aneurysms. Concomitantly, the number of aneurysms treated with clip placement remained stable, and the number treated by means of endovascular procedures doubled. By the study's end, the mortality rates had decreased 20% for SAH and 50% for unruptured aneurysms. Increasing age was associated with increased mortality rates, mean length of hospital stay (LOS), and mean charges (p < 0.01). Endovascular treatment was used more often in older patients (p < 0.01). Teaching status and larger hospital size were associated with higher charges and longer hospital stays (although the association was not statistically significant) and with better outcomes (p < 0.05) and lower mortality rates (p < 0.05), especially in patients who underwent aneurysm clipping (p < 0.01). Endovascular treatment was associated with significantly higher mortality rates in small hospitals (p < 0.001) and steadily increasing morbidity rates (45%). Morbidity rates, mean LOS, and mean charges were higher for aneurysm clipping (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: From 1993 to 2003, endovascular techniques for aneurysm occlusion have been increasingly used, while the use of surgical clipping procedures has remained stable. Toward the end of the study period, better overall outcomes were observed in the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, both ruptured and unruptured. Large academic centers were associated with better results, particularly for surgical clip placement.