Background and purpose: Decompressive craniectomy (DC) lowers intracranial pressure and improves outcome in patients with malignant middle cerebral artery stroke. Its usefulness in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is unclear. The aim of this study was to analyze feasibility and safety of DC without clot evacuation in ICH.
Methods: We compared consecutive patients (November 2010-January 2012) with supratentorial ICH treated with DC without hematoma evacuation and matched controls treated by best medical treatment. DC measured at least 150 mm and included opening of the dura. We analyzed clinical (age, sex, pathogenesis, Glasgow Coma Scale, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale), radiological (signs of herniation, side and size of hematoma, midline shift, hematoma expansion, distance to surface), and surgical (time to and indication for surgery) characteristics. Outcome at 6 months was dichotomized into good (modified Rankin Scale 0-4) and poor (modified Rankin Scale 5-6).
Results: Twelve patients (median age 48 years; interquartile range 35-58) with ICH were treated by DC. Median hematoma volume was 61.3 mL (interquartile range 37-83.5 mL) and median preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale was 8 (interquartile range 4.3-10). Four patients showed signs of herniation. Nine patients had good and 3 had poor outcomes. Three patients (25%) of the treatment group died versus 8 of 15 (53%) of the control group. There were 3 manageable complications related to DC.
Conclusions: DC is feasible in patients with ICH. Based on this small cohort, DC may reduce mortality. Larger prospective cohorts are warranted to assess safety and efficacy.