The aim of this study was to clarify the surgical indications, risks, and long-term clinical outcomes associated with the use of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest for the surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms.
The authors retrospectively reviewed 105 deep hypothermic circulatory arrest procedures performed in 103 patients (64 females and 39 males, with a mean age of 44.8 years) to treat 104 separate aneurysms. Patients' clinical histories, radiographs, and operative reports were evaluated. There were 97 posterior circulation aneurysms: at the basilar apex in 60 patients, midbasilar artery in 21, vertebrobasilar junction in 11, superior cerebellar artery in 4, and posterior cerebral artery in 1. Seven patients harbored anterior circulation aneurysms. Two additional patients harbored nonaneurysmal lesions.
Perioperatively, 14 patients (14%) died. Five patients (5%) were lost to late follow-up. At a mean long-term follow-up of 9.7 years, 65 patients (63%) had the same or a better status after surgical intervention, 10 (10%) were worse, and 9 (9%) had died. There were 19 cases (18%) of permanent or severe complications. The combined rate of permanent treatment-related morbidity and mortality was 32%. The mean late follow-up Glasgow Outcome Scale score was 4, and the annual hemorrhage rate after microsurgical clipping during cardiac standstill was 0.5%/year. Ninety-two percent of patients required no further treatment of their aneurysm at the long-term follow-up.
Cardiac standstill remains an important treatment option for a small subset of complex and giant posterior circulation aneurysms. Compared with the natural history of the disease, the risk associated with this procedure is acceptable.