OBJECTIVE Recent observational data suggest that ultra-early treatment of ruptured aneurysms prevents rebleeding, thus improving clinical outcomes. However, advances in critical care management of patients with ruptured aneurysms may reduce the rate of rebleeding in comparison with earlier trials, such as the International Cooperative Study on the Timing of Aneurysm Surgery. The objective of the present study was to determine if an ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol will or will not significantly reduce the number of incidents of rebleeding following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). METHODS A retrospective analysis of data from a prospectively collected cohort of patients with SAH was performed. Rebleeding was diagnosed as new or expanded hemorrhage on CT, which was determined by independent review conducted by multiple physicians. Preventability of rebleeding by ultra-early aneurysm clipping or coiling was also independently reviewed. Standard statistics were used to determine statistically significant differences between the demographic characteristics of those with rebleeding compared with those without. RESULTS Of 317 patients with aneurysmal SAH, 24 (7.6%, 95% CI 4.7-10.5) experienced rebleeding at any time point following initial aneurysm rupture. Only 1/24 (4.2%, 95% CI -3.8 to 12.2) incidents of rebleeding could have been prevented by a 24-hour ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol. The other 23 incidents could not have been prevented for the following reasons: rebleeding prior to admission to the authors' institution (14/23, 60.9%); initial diagnostic angiography negative for aneurysm (4/23, 17.4%); postoperative rebleeding (2/23, 8.7%); patient unable to undergo operation due to medical instability (2/23, 8.7%); intraoperative rebleeding (1/23, 4.3%). CONCLUSIONS At a single tertiary academic center, the overall rebleeding rate was 7.6% (95% CI 4.7-10.5) for those presenting with ruptured aneurysms. Implementation of a 24-hour ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol would only result in, at most, a 0.3% (95% CI -0.3 to 0.9) reduction in the incidence of rebleeding.
Keywords: CTA = CT angiography; MRA = MR angiography; NICU = neurological intensive care unit; OR = operating room; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage; WFNS = World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies; cerebral aneurysm; rebleeding; ruptured aneurysm; subarachnoid hemorrhage; vascular disorders.