Surgery for spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage

Crit Care. 2020 Feb 7;24(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13054-020-2749-2.


Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage is a devastating disease, accounting for 10 to 15% of all types of stroke; however, it is associated with disproportionally higher rates of mortality and disability. Despite significant progress in the acute management of these patients, the ideal surgical management is still to be determined. Surgical hematoma drainage has many theoretical benefits, such as the prevention of mass effect and cerebral herniation, reduction in intracranial pressure, and the decrease of excitotoxicity and neurotoxicity of blood products.Several surgical techniques have been considered, such as open craniotomy, decompressive craniectomy, neuroendoscopy, and minimally invasive catheter evacuation followed by thrombolysis. Open craniotomy is the most studied approach in this clinical scenario, the first randomized controlled trial dating from the early 1960s. Since then, a large number of studies have been published, which included two large, well-designed, well-powered, multicenter, multinational, randomized clinical trials. These studies, The International Surgical Trial in Intracerebral Hemorrhage (STICH), and the STICH II have shown no clinical benefit for early surgical evacuation of intraparenchymal hematoma in patients with spontaneous supratentorial hemorrhage when compared with best medical management plus delayed surgery if necessary. However, the results of STICH trials may not be generalizable, because of the high rates of patients' crossover from medical management to the surgical group. Without these high crossover percentages, the rates of unfavorable outcome and death with conservative management would have been higher. Additionally, comatose patients and patients at risk of cerebral herniation were not included. In these cases, surgery may be lifesaving, which prevented those patients of being enrolled in such trials. This article reviews the clinical evidence of surgical hematoma evacuation, and its role to decrease mortality and improve long-term functional outcome after spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage.

Keywords: Glasgow outcome scale; Hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage; Intracerebral hemorrhage; MISTIE; Neurosurgical procedures; STICH; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Craniotomy*
  • Hematoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome