The Volume of Ischemic Brain Predicts Poor Outcome in Patients with Surgically Treated Malignant Stroke

World Neurosurg. 2019 Mar;123:e515-e519. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.11.197. Epub 2018 Nov 29.


Background: Malignant middle cerebral artery stroke is a life-threatening condition. The outcomes of surgical treatments have presented strong evidence in favor of decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC). A significant subpopulation of patients still experience very poor outcomes. In particular, indication for DHC is based on few objective parameters to facilitate decision making. We hypothesized that larger ischemic brain volume would have a large impact on the outcome.

Methods: A cohort study of 34 patients undergoing DHC was performed using a volumetric analysis of infarction volume (measured preoperatively and again on postoperative day [POD] 1 and POD 3). Outcomes were assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and a favorable outcome was defined as modified Rankin Scale score ≤3.

Results: Median age of patients was 53.5 years (range, 25-72 years), the median time from onset of first symptoms to surgical intervention was 38 hours (range, 10-150 hours), and male-to-female ratio was 2:1. The median ischemic volume was 250 cm3 preoperatively, 315 cm3 on POD1, and 349 cm3 on POD3. Modified Rankin Scale score ≤3 after 6 months was attained in 7 (20%) patients. Within the first 24 hours after DHC, ischemic volume increased significantly (P = 0.0003) and was associated with a worse outcome (P < 0.0001) after exceeding a cutoff volume of 300 cm3.

Conclusions: Volumetric analysis of infarction can predict the outcome of patients. DHC should be reserved for patients with prognosticated good outcome, which was observed only in patients with a volume <301 cm3.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Decompressive hemicraniectomy; Outcome; Stroke; Volumetry.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Craniotomy / methods
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / pathology
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome