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Kimon Bekelis, Daniel J. Gottlieb, Yin Su, A. James O'Malley, Nicos Labropoulos, Philip Goodney, Michael T. Lawton and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The comparative effectiveness of the 2 treatment options—surgical clipping and endovascular coiling—for unruptured cerebral aneurysms remains an issue of debate and has not been studied in clinical trials. The authors investigated the association between treatment method for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and outcomes in elderly patients.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who had treatment for unruptured cerebral aneurysms between 2007 and 2012. To control for measured confounding, the authors used propensity score conditioning and inverse probability weighting with mixed effects to account for clustering at the level of the hospital referral region (HRR). An instrumental variable (regional rates of coiling) analysis was used to control for unmeasured confounding and to create pseudo-randomization on the treatment method.

RESULTS

During the study period, 8705 patients underwent treatment for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the study inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 2585 (29.7%) had surgical clipping and 6120 (70.3%) had endovascular coiling. Instrumental variable analysis demonstrated no difference between coiling and clipping in 1-year postoperative mortality (OR 1.25, 95% CI 0.68–2.31) or 90-day readmission rate (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.66–1.62). However, clipping was associated with a greater likelihood of discharge to rehabilitation (OR 6.39, 95% CI 3.85–10.59) and 3.6 days longer length of stay (LOS; 95% CI 2.90–4.71). The same associations were present in propensity score–adjusted and inverse probability–weighted models.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients, there was no difference in mortality and the readmission rate between clipping and coiling of unruptured cerebral aneurysms. Clipping was associated with a higher rate of discharge to a rehabilitation facility and a longer LOS.

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Kimon Bekelis, Daniel J. Gottlieb, Yin Su, Giuseppe Lanzino, Michael T. Lawton and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The impact of treatment method—surgical clipping or endovascular coiling—on the cost of care for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is debated. Here, the authors investigated the association between treatment method and long-term Medicare expenditures in elderly patients with aneurysmal SAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of the Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who had undergone treatment for ruptured cerebral aneurysms in the period from 2007 to 2012. To control for measured confounding, the authors used propensity score–adjusted multivariable regression analysis with mixed effects to account for clustering at the hospital referral region (HRR) level. An instrumental variable (regional rates of coiling) analysis was used to control for unmeasured confounding by creating pseudo-randomization on the treatment method.

RESULTS

During the study period, 3210 patients underwent treatment for ruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 1206 (37.6%) had surgical clipping and 2004 (62.4%) had endovascular coiling. The median total Medicare expenditures in the 1st year after admission for SAH were $113,000 (IQR $77,500–$182,000) for surgical clipping and $103,000 (IQR $72,900–$159,000) for endovascular coiling. When the authors adjusted for unmeasured confounders by using an instrumental variable analysis, clipping was associated with increased 1-year Medicare expenditures by $19,577 (95% CI $4492–$34,663).

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients with aneurysmal SAH, after controlling for unmeasured confounding, surgical clipping was associated with increased 1-year expenditures in comparison with endovascular coiling.

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Kimon Bekelis, Dan Gottlieb, Nicos Labropoulos, Yin Su, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Pascal Jabbour and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The impact of combined practices on the outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysm coiling remains an issue of debate. The authors investigated the association of combined open and endovascular expertise with the outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysm coiling.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who underwent endovascular coiling for unruptured cerebral aneurysms between 2007 and 2012. To control for confounding, the authors used propensity score conditioning, with mixed effects to account for clustering at the hospital referral region level.

RESULTS

During the study period, there were 11,716 patients who underwent endovascular coiling for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 1186 (10.1%) underwent treatment performed by hybrid neurosurgeons, and 10,530 (89.9%) by proceduralists who performed only endovascular coiling. Multivariable regression analysis with propensity score adjustment demonstrated a lack of association of combined practice with 1-year postoperative mortality (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.58–1.23), discharge to rehabilitation (OR 1.0; 95% CI 0.66–1.51), 30-day readmission rate (OR 1.07; 95% CI 0.83–1.38), and length of stay (adjusted difference, 0.41; 95% CI −0.26 to 1.09). Higher procedural volume was independently associated with improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients, the authors did not demonstrate a difference in mortality, discharge to rehabilitation, readmission rate, and LOS between hybrid neurosurgeons and proceduralists performing only endovascular coiling.