Adverse events after clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysms: the NSQIP unruptured aneurysm scale

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  • Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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The complex decision analysis of unruptured intracranial aneurysms entails weighing the benefits of aneurysm repair against operative risk. The goal of the present analysis was to build and validate a predictive scale that identifies patients with the greatest odds of a postsurgical adverse event.


Data on patients who underwent surgical clipping of an unruptured aneurysm were extracted from the prospective National Surgical Quality Improvement Program registry (NSQIP; 2007–2014); NSQIP does not systematically collect data on patients undergoing intracranial endovascular intervention. Multivariable logistic regression evaluated predictors of any 30-day adverse event; variables screened included patient demographics, comorbidities, functional status, preoperative laboratory values, aneurysm location/complexity, and operative time. A predictive scale was constructed based on statistically significant independent predictors, which was validated using both NSQIP (2015–2016) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS; 2002–2011).


The NSQIP unruptured aneurysm scale was proposed: 1 point was assigned for a bleeding disorder; 2 points for age 51–60 years, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus, morbid obesity, anemia (hematocrit < 36%), operative time 240–330 minutes; 3 points for leukocytosis (white blood cell count > 12,000/μL) and operative time > 330 minutes; and 4 points for age > 60 years. An increased score was predictive of postoperative stroke or coma (NSQIP: p = 0.002, C-statistic = 0.70; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.61), a medical complication (NSQIP: p = 0.01, C-statistic = 0.71; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.64), and a nonroutine discharge (NSQIP: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.75; NIS: p < 0.001, C-statistic = 0.66) in both validation populations. Greater score was also predictive of increased odds of any adverse event, a major complication, and an extended hospitalization in both validation populations (p ≤ 0.03).


The NSQIP unruptured aneurysm scale may augment the risk stratification of patients undergoing microsurgical clipping of unruptured cerebral aneurysms.


CPT = Current Procedural Terminology; ICD-9-CM = International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification; ISUIA = International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms; NIS = Nationwide Inpatient Sample; NSQIP = National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

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Illustration from Duan et al. (pp 1174–1181).

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Rose Du: Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online March 15, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.12.JNS182873.

Disclosures Dr. Gormley: proctor for Codman. Dr. Aziz-Sultan: proctor for Medtronic, Covidien, and Codman.


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