The role of aggressive surgical manipulation with clot evacuation, arachnoid dissection, and papaverine-guided adventitial dissection of large vessels during ruptured aneurysm surgery in reducing vasospasm is controversial. Here we describe a single-institution experience in aneurysm surgery outcomes with and without aggressive surgery.
We performed retrospective analysis of all patients >18 years of age with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from anterior circulation aneurysms between 2008 and 2013 at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Vasospasm was characterized on days 3 through 14 after SAH based on: (1) angiography, (2) vasospasm requiring angiographic intervention, (3) development of delayed ischemic neurologic deficit (DIND), and (4) radiological appearance of new strokes.
Of 159 patients, 114 (71.6%) had “aggressive” and 45 (28.3%) had standard microsurgery. More than 60% of patients presented with a Hunt and Hess score of ≥3 and a Fisher grade (FG) of 4. Compared with standard surgery, there was a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of DIND in patients undergoing aggressive surgery (18.4% vs 37.8%, p=0.01). Moreover, there was a reduction in the number of new strokes by 30% in the aggressive surgery group with moderate or higher degrees of vasospasm (46.0% vs 76.5%, p=0.06). In the same group with FG 4 SAH, however, this difference was more than 50% (30% vs 64.7%, p=0.02).
We conclude that aggressive surgical manipulation during aneurysm surgery results in lower incidence of DIND and new strokes. This effect is most pronounced in patients with FG 4 SAH.