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Alexander Micko, Arthur Hosmann, Aygül Wurzer, Svenja Maschke, Wolfgang Marik, Engelbert Knosp and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

The transsphenoidal route to pituitary adenomas challenges surgeons because of the highly variable sinunasal anatomy. Orientation may be improved if the appropriate information is provided intraoperatively by image guidance. The authors developed an advanced image guidance protocol dedicated to sinunasal surgery that extracts information from multiple modalities and forms it into a single image that includes fine sinunasal structures and arteries.

The aim of this study was to compare the advantages of this novel image guidance protocol with the authors’ previous series, with emphasis on anatomical structures visualized and complication rate.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis comprised 200 patients who underwent surgery for pituitary adenoma via a transnasal transsphenoidal endoscopic approach. The authors’ standard image guidance protocol consisting of CT for solid bone, T1CEMRI for soft tissues, and MRA for the carotid artery was applied in 100 consecutive cases. The advanced image guidance protocol added a first-hit ray casting of the CT scan for visualization of fine sinunasal structures, and adjustments to the MRA to visualize the sphenopalatine artery (SPA) were applied in a subsequent 100 consecutive cases.

RESULTS

A patent sphenoid ostium—i.e., an ostium not covered by a mucosal layer—was visualized significantly more often by the advanced protocol than the standard protocol (89% vs 40%, p < 0.001) in primary surgeries. The SPA and its branches were only visualized by the advanced protocol (87% and 91% of cases in primary surgeries and reoperations, respectively) and not once by the standard protocol. The number of visualized complete and incomplete sphenoid septations matched significantly more commonly with the surgical view when using the advanced protocol than the standard protocol at primary operation (mean 1.9 vs 1.6, p < 0.001). However, in 25% of all cases a complex and not a simple sinus anatomy was present. In comparison with the intraoperative results, a complex sphenoid sinus anatomy was always detected by the advanced but not by the standard protocol (25% vs 8.5%, p = 0.001).

Furthermore, application of the advanced protocol reduced the cumulative rate of complications (25% vs 18% [standard vs advanced group]). Although an overall significant difference could not be determined (p = 0.228), a subgroup analysis of reoperations (35/200) revealed a significantly lower rate of complications in the advanced group (5% vs 30%, p = 0.028).

CONCLUSIONS

The data show that the advanced image guidance protocol could intraoperatively visualize the fine sinunasal sinus structures and small arteries with a high degree of detail. By improving intraoperative orientation, this may help to reduce the rate of complications in endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery, especially in reoperations.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Adam E. Flanders, Robert M. Starke, Michael P. Baldassari, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Michael Reid Gooch, Syed Omar Shah, David Hasan, Nabeel Herial, Robin D’Ambrosio, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

MRI and MRA studies are routinely obtained to identify the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA in the setting of an acute ICH, however, remains unclear. The authors’ goal was to determine the utility of early MRI/MRA in detecting underlying structural lesions in ICH and to identify patients in whom additional imaging during hospitalization could safely be foregone.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data obtained in 400 patients with spontaneous ICH diagnosed on noncontrast head CT scans who underwent MRI/MRA between 2015 and 2017 at their institution. MRI/MRA studies were reviewed to identify underlying lesions, such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, tumors, sinus thrombosis, moyamoya disease, and abscesses.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 65 ± 15.8 years. Hypertension was the most common (72%) comorbidity. Structural abnormalities were detected on MRI/MRA in 12.5% of patients. Structural lesions were seen in 5.7% of patients with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH, 14.1% of those with lobar ICH, 20.4% of those with cerebellar ICH, and 27.8% of those with brainstem ICH. Notably, the diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA was 0% in patients > 65 years with a basal ganglia/thalamic hemorrhage and 0% in those > 85 years with any ICH location, whereas it was 37% in patients < 50 years and 23% in those < 65 years. Multivariate analysis showed that decreasing age, absence of hypertension, and non–basal ganglia/thalamic location were predictors of finding an underlying lesion.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of MRI/MRA in ICH is highly variable, depending on patient age and hemorrhage location. The findings of this study do not support obtaining early MRI/MRA studies in patients ≥ 65 years with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH or in any ICH patients ≥ 85 years. In all other situations, early MRI/MRA remains valuable in ruling out underlying lesions.

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Ashwin G. Ramayya, H. Isaac Chen, Paul J. Marcotte, Steven Brem, Eric L. Zager, Benjamin Osiemo, Matthew Piazza, Nikhil Sharma, Scott D. McClintock, James M. Schuster, Zarina S. Ali, Patrick Connolly, Gregory G. Heuer, M. Sean Grady, David K. Kung, Ali K. Ozturk, Donald M. O’Rourke and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Although it is known that intersurgeon variability in offering elective surgery can have major consequences for patient morbidity and healthcare spending, data addressing variability within neurosurgery are scarce. The authors performed a prospective peer review study of randomly selected neurosurgery cases in order to assess the extent of consensus regarding the decision to offer elective surgery among attending neurosurgeons across one large academic institution.

METHODS

All consecutive patients who had undergone standard inpatient surgical interventions of 1 of 4 types (craniotomy for tumor [CFT], nonacute redo CFT, first-time spine surgery with/without instrumentation, and nonacute redo spine surgery with/without instrumentation) during the period 2015–2017 were retrospectively enrolled (n = 9156 patient surgeries, n = 80 randomly selected individual cases, n = 20 index cases of each type randomly selected for review). The selected cases were scored by attending neurosurgeons using a need for surgery (NFS) score based on clinical data (patient demographics, preoperative notes, radiology reports, and operative notes; n = 616 independent case reviews). Attending neurosurgeon reviewers were blinded as to performing provider and surgical outcome. Aggregate NFS scores across various categories were measured. The authors employed a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA model with autoregressive variance structure to compute omnibus statistical tests across the various surgery types. Interrater reliability (IRR) was measured using Cohen’s kappa based on binary NFS scores.

RESULTS

Overall, the authors found that most of the neurosurgical procedures studied were rated as “indicated” by blinded attending neurosurgeons (mean NFS = 88.3, all p values < 0.001) with greater agreement among neurosurgeon raters than expected by chance (IRR = 81.78%, p = 0.016). Redo surgery had lower NFS scores and IRR scores than first-time surgery, both for craniotomy and spine surgery (ANOVA, all p values < 0.01). Spine surgeries with fusion had lower NFS scores than spine surgeries without fusion procedures (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

There was general agreement among neurosurgeons in terms of indication for surgery; however, revision surgery of all types and spine surgery with fusion procedures had the lowest amount of decision consensus. These results should guide efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary variability in surgical practice with the goal of effective allocation of healthcare resources to advance the value paradigm in neurosurgery.

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Alexander A. Aabedi, EunSeon Ahn, Sofia Kakaizada, Claudia Valdivia, Jacob S. Young, Heather Hervey-Jumper, Eric Zhang, Oren Sagher, Daniel H. Weissman, David Brang and Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper

OBJECTIVE

Maximal safe tumor resection in language areas of the brain relies on a patient’s ability to perform intraoperative language tasks. Assessing the performance of these tasks during awake craniotomies allows the neurosurgeon to identify and preserve brain regions that are critical for language processing. However, receiving sedation and analgesia just prior to experiencing an awake craniotomy may reduce a patient’s wakefulness, leading to transient language and/or cognitive impairments that do not completely subside before language testing begins. At present, the degree to which wakefulness influences intraoperative language task performance is unclear. Therefore, the authors sought to determine whether any of 5 brief measures of wakefulness predicts such performance during awake craniotomies for glioma resection.

METHODS

The authors recruited 21 patients with dominant hemisphere low- and high-grade gliomas. Each patient performed baseline wakefulness measures in addition to picture-naming and text-reading language tasks 24 hours before undergoing an awake craniotomy. The patients performed these same tasks again in the operating room following the cessation of anesthesia medications. The authors then conducted statistical analyses to investigate potential relationships between wakefulness measures and language task performance.

RESULTS

Relative to baseline, performance on 3 of the 4 objective wakefulness measures (rapid counting, button pressing, and vigilance) declined in the operating room. Moreover, these declines appeared in the complete absence of self-reported changes in arousal. Performance on language tasks similarly declined in the intraoperative setting, with patients experiencing greater declines in picture naming than in text reading. Finally, performance declines on rapid counting and vigilance wakefulness tasks predicted performance declines on the picture-naming task.

CONCLUSIONS

Current subjective methods for assessing wakefulness during awake craniotomies may be insufficient. The administration of objective measures of wakefulness just prior to language task administration may help to ensure that patients are ready for testing. It may also allow neurosurgeons to identify patients who are at risk for poor intraoperative performance.

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Hussain Jafri, Michael N. Diringer, Michelle Allen, Allyson R. Zazulia, Gregory J. Zipfel and Rajat Dhar

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may result in focal neurological deficits and cerebral infarction, believed to result from critical regional rather than global impairments in cerebral blood flow (CBF). However, the burden of such regional hypoperfusion has not been evaluated by gold-standard voxel-by-voxel CBF measurements. Specifically, the authors sought to determine whether the proportion of brain affected by hypoperfusion was greater in patients with DCI than in SAH controls without DCI and whether the symptomatic hemisphere (in those with lateralizing deficits) exhibited a greater cerebral hypoperfusion burden.

METHODS

Sixty-one patients with aneurysmal SAH underwent 15O PET to measure regional CBF during the period of risk for DCI (median 8 days after SAH, IQR 7–10 days). Regions of visibly abnormal brain on head CT studies, including areas of hemorrhage and infarction, were excluded. Burden of hypoperfusion was defined as the proportion of PET voxels in normal-appearing brain with CBF < 25 ml/100 g/min. Global CBF and hypoperfusion burden were compared between patients with and those without DCI at the time of PET. For patients with focal impairments from DCI, the authors also compared average CBF and hypoperfusion burden in symptomatic versus asymptomatic hemispheres.

RESULTS

Twenty-three patients (38%) had clinical DCI at the time of PET. Those with DCI had higher mean arterial pressure (MAP; 126 ± 14 vs 106 ± 12 mm Hg, p < 0.001) and 18 (78%) were on vasopressor therapy at the time of PET study. While global CBF was not significantly lower in patients with DCI (mean 39.4 ± 11.2 vs 43.0 ± 8.3 ml/100 g/min, p = 0.16), the burden of hypoperfusion was greater (20%, IQR 12%–23%, vs 12%, 9%–16%, p = 0.006). Burden of hypoperfusion performed better than global CBF as a predictor of DCI (area under the curve 0.71 vs 0.65, p = 0.044). Neither global CBF nor hypoperfusion burden differed in patients who responded to therapy compared to those who had not improved by the time of PET. Although hemispheric CBF was not lower in the symptomatic versus contralateral hemisphere in the 13 patients with focal deficits, there was a trend toward greater burden of hypoperfusion in the symptomatic hemisphere (21% vs 18%, p = 0.049).

CONCLUSIONS

The burden of hypoperfusion was greater in patients with DCI, despite hemodynamic therapies, higher MAP, and equivalent global CBF. Similarly, hypoperfusion burden was greater in the symptomatic hemisphere of DCI patients with focal deficits even though the average CBF was similar to that in the contralateral hemisphere. Evaluating the proportion of the brain with critical hypoperfusion after SAH may better capture the extent of DCI than averaging CBF across heterogenous brain regions.

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Alexander Micko, Johannes Oberndorfer, Wolfgang J. Weninger, Greisa Vila, Romana Höftberger, Stefan Wolfsberger and Engelbert Knosp

OBJECTIVE

Parasellar growth is one of the most important prognostic variables of pituitary adenoma surgery, with adenomas regarded as not completely resectable if they invade the cavernous sinus (CS) but potentially curable if they displace CS structures. This study was conducted to correlate surgical treatment options and outcomes to the different biological behaviors (invasion vs displacement) of adenomas with parasellar extension into the superior or inferior CS compartments or completely encasing the carotid artery (Knosp high grades 3A, 3B, and 4).

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort analysis of 106 consecutive patients with Knosp high-grade pituitary adenomas with parasellar extension who underwent surgery via a primary endoscopic transsphenoidal approach between 2003 and 2017. Biological tumor characteristics (surgical status of invasiveness and tumor texture, 2017 WHO classification, proliferation rate), extent of resection, and complication rate were correlated with parasellar extension grades 3A, 3B, and 4 on preoperative MRI studies.

RESULTS

Invasiveness was significantly less common in grade 3A (44%) than in grade 3B (72%, p = 0.037) and grade 4 (100%, p < 0.001) adenomas. Fibrous tumor texture was significantly more common in grade 4 (52%) compared to grade 3A (20%, p = 0.002), but not compared to grade 3B (28%) adenomas. Functioning macroadenomas had a significantly higher rate of invasiveness than nonfunctioning adenomas (91% vs 55%, p = 0.002). Mean proliferation rate assessed by MIB-1 was > 3% in all groups but without significant difference between the groups (grade 3A, 3.2%; 3B, 3.9%; 4, 3.7%). Rates of endocrine remission/gross-total resection were significantly higher in grade 3A (64%) than in grade 3B (33%, p = 0.021) and grade 4 (0%, p < 0.001) adenomas. In terms of complication rates, no significant difference was observed between grades.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the authors’ data, the biological behavior of pituitary adenomas varies significantly between parasellar extension patterns. Adenomas with extension into the superior CS compartment have a lower rate of invasive growth than adenomas extending into the inferior CS compartment or encasing the carotid artery. Consequently, a significantly higher rate of remission can be achieved in grade 3A than in grade 3B and grade 4 adenomas. Therefore, the distinction into grades 3A, 3B, and 4 is of importance for prediction of adenoma invasion and surgical treatment considerations.

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Campbell Liles, Jonathan Dallas, Andrew T. Hale, Stephen Gannon, E. Haley Vance, Christopher M. Bonfield and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Open and endoscope-assisted repair are surgical options for sagittal craniosynostosis, with limited research evaluating each technique’s immediate and long-term costs. This study investigates the cost-effectiveness of open and endoscope-assisted repair for single, sagittal suture craniosynostosis.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing single, sagittal suture craniosynostosis repair (open in 17 cases, endoscope-assisted in 16) at less than 1 year of age at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt (MCJCHV) between August 2015 and August 2017. Follow-up data were collected/analyzed for 1 year after discharge. Surgical and follow-up costs were derived by merging MCJCHV financial data with each patient’s electronic medical record (EMR) and were adjusted for inflation using the healthcare Producer Price Index. Proxy helmet costs were derived from third-party out-of-pocket helmet prices. To account for variable costs and probabilities, overall costs were calculated using TreeAge tree diagram software.

RESULTS

Open repair occurred in older patients (mean age 5.69 vs 2.96 months, p < 0.001) and required more operating room time (median 203 vs 145 minutes, p < 0.001), more ICU days (median 3 vs 1 day, p < 0.001), more hospital days (median 4 vs 1 day, p < 0.001), and more frequently required transfusion (88% vs 6% of cases). Compared to patients who underwent open surgery, patients who underwent endoscopically assisted surgery more often required postoperative orthotic helmets (100% vs 6%), had a similar number of follow-up clinic visits (median 3 vs 3 visits, p = 0.487) and CT scans (median 3 vs 2 scans), and fewer emergency department visits (median 1 vs 3 visits). The TreeAge diagram showed that, overall, open repair was 73% more expensive than endoscope-assisted repair ($31,314.10 vs $18,081.47). Sensitivity analysis identified surgical/hospital costs for open repair (mean $30,475, SEM $547) versus endoscope-assisted repair (mean $13,746, SEM $833) (p < 0.001) as the most important determinants of overall cost. Two-way sensitivity analysis comparing initial surgical/hospital costs confirmed that open repair remains significantly more expensive under even worst-case initial repair scenarios ($3254.81 minimum difference). No major surgical complications or surgical revisions occurred in either cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest that endoscope-assisted craniosynostosis repair is significantly more cost-effective than open repair, based on markedly lower costs and similar outcomes, and that the difference in initial surgical/hospital costs far outweighs the difference in subsequent costs associated with helmet therapy and outpatient management, although independent replication in a multicenter study is needed for confirmation due to practice and cost variation across institutions. Longer-term results will also be needed to examine whether cost differences are maintained.

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Nobutaka Horie, Yoichi Morofuji, Yusuke Iki, Eisaku Sadakata, Tadashi Kanamoto, Yohei Tateishi, Tsuyoshi Izumo, Takeo Anda, Minoru Morikawa, Akira Tsujino and Takayuki Matsuo

OBJECTIVE

Regional ischemic vulnerability of the brain reportedly differs between the cortex and basal ganglia and has been poorly assessed in the setting of endovascular mechanical thrombectomy. This study was conducted to determine the fate of an ischemic basal ganglia and its contribution to the clinical outcome after successful endovascular recanalization for acute ischemic stroke with large vessel occlusion involving the lenticulostriate arteries.

METHODS

Clinical and radiological findings were retrospectively analyzed in consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke characterized by large vessel occlusion involving the lenticulostriate arteries. Mechanical thrombectomy was performed in all patients using a stent retriever. The fate of ischemic basal ganglia based on location (lentiform nucleus, caudate nucleus, and internal capsule) and insular cortex was assessed according to the Alberta Stroke Programme Early CT Score (ASPECTS).

RESULTS

Of 170 patients with large intracranial vessel occlusion who achieved successful endovascular recanalization, defined as a thrombolysis in cerebral infarction grade of ≥ 2B, involvement of the lenticulostriate arteries was seen in 55 patients (internal carotid artery, n = 35; proximal middle cerebral artery, n = 20). Preoperative infarction was detected in the lentiform nucleus (66.7%), internal capsule (11.1%), and caudate nucleus (33.3%), all of which showed secondary advancement despite successful recanalization (85.4%, 27.3%, and 54.5%, respectively; p < 0.05). Lenticulostriate arteries with a lateral proximal and/or medial proximal origin significantly affected the development of mature infarction in the lentiform nucleus. Postoperative hemorrhagic transformation was detected in 25 of 55 patients, mostly in the lentiform nucleus. Involvement of insular ribbon infarction was significantly high in patients with hemorrhagic transformation in the basal ganglia. Age, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, initial ASPECTS, postoperative ASPECTS, postoperative infarction in the insular ribbon, and lesions in the middle cerebral artery area (M1–M6) were significantly different between patients with good and poor modified Rankin Scale scores. Interestingly, no differences were detected in postoperative infarction or hemorrhagic transformation in the basal ganglia. Multivariate analysis showed that only age (p = 0.02, OR 0.88) and the initial NIHSS score (p = 0.01, OR 0.86) independently affected favorable clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The basal ganglia are vulnerable and readily develop secondary infarction and hemorrhagic transformation despite successful recanalization. However, this does not have a significant impact on the clinical outcome of acute ischemic stroke with large vessel occlusion involving the lenticulostriate arteries.

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Gabriel A. Smith, Steven Chirieleison, Jay Levin, Karam Atli, Robert Winkelman, Joseph E. Tanenbaum, Thomas Mroz and Michael Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, completed by patients following an inpatient stay, are utilized to assess patient satisfaction and quality of the patient experience. HCAHPS results directly impact hospital and provider reimbursements. While recent work has demonstrated that pre- and postoperative factors can affect HCAHPS results following lumbar spine surgery, little is known about how these results are influenced by hospital length of stay (LOS). Here, the authors examined HCAHPS results in patients with LOSs greater or less than expected following lumbar spine surgery to determine whether LOS influences survey scores after these procedures.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of HCAHPS surveys, patient demographics, and outcomes following lumbar spine surgery at a single institution. A total of 391 patients who had undergone lumbar spine surgery and had completed an HCAHPS survey in the period between 2013 and 2015 were included in this analysis. Patients were divided into those with a hospital LOS equal to or less than the expected (LTE-LOS) and those with a hospital LOS longer than expected (GTE-LOS). Expected LOS was based on the University HealthSystem Consortium benchmarks. Nineteen questions from the HCAHPS survey were examined in relation to patient LOS. The primary outcome measure was a comparison of “top-box” (“9–10” or “always or usually”) versus “low-box” (“1–8” and “somewhat or never”) scores on the HCAHPS questions. Secondary outcomes of interest were whether the comorbid conditions of cancer, chronic renal failure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, stroke, or depression occurred differently with respect to LOS. Statistical analysis was performed using Fisher’s exact test for the 2 × 2 contingency tables and the chi-square test for categorical variables.

RESULTS

Two hundred fifty-seven patients had an LTE-LOS, whereas 134 patients had a GTE-LOS. The only statistically significant difference in preoperative characteristics between the patient groups was hypertension, which correlated to a shorter LOS. A GTE-LOS was associated with a decreased likelihood of a top-box score for the HCAHPS survey items on doctor listening and pain control.

CONCLUSIONS

Here, the authors report a decreased likelihood of top-box responses for some HCAHPS questions following lumbar spine surgery if LOS is prolonged. This study highlights the need to further examine the factors impacting LOS, identify patients at risk for long hospital stays, and improve mechanisms to increase the quality and efficiency of care delivered to this patient population.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Natasha Ironside, Thomas J. Buell, Andrew M. Southerland, Fernando D. Testai, Daniel Woo, Bradford B. Worrall and for the ERICH Investigators

OBJECTIVE

The utility of ICP monitoring and its benefit with respect to outcomes after ICH is unknown. The aim of this study was to compare intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) outcomes in patients who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring to those who were managed by care-guided imaging and/or clinical examination alone.

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of data from the Ethnic/Racial variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) study between 2010 and 2015. ICH patients who underwent ICP monitoring were propensity-score matched, in a 1:1 ratio, to those who did not undergo ICP monitoring. The primary outcome was 90-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality, hyperosmolar therapy use, ICH evacuation, length of hospital stay, and 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score, excellent outcome (mRS score 0–1), good outcome (mRS score 0–2), Barthel Index, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL; measured by EQ-5D and EQ-5D visual analog scale [VAS] scores). A secondary analysis for patients without intraventricular hemorrhage was performed.

RESULTS

The ICP and no ICP monitoring cohorts comprised 566 and 2434 patients, respectively. The matched cohorts comprised 420 patients each. The 90-day and in-hospital mortality rates were similar between the matched cohorts. Shift analysis of 90-day mRS favored no ICP monitoring (p < 0.001). The rates of excellent (p < 0.001) and good (p < 0.001) outcome, Barthel Index (p < 0.001), EQ-5D score (p = 0.026), and EQ-5D VAS score (p = 0.004) at 90 days were lower in the matched ICP monitoring cohort. Rates of mannitol use (p < 0.001), hypertonic saline use (p < 0.001), ICH evacuation (p < 0.001), and infection (p = 0.001) were higher, and length of hospital stay (p < 0.001) was longer in the matched ICP monitoring cohort. In the secondary analysis, the matched cohorts comprised 111 patients each. ICP monitoring had a lower rate of 90-day mortality (p = 0.041). Shift analysis of 90-day mRS, Barthel Index, and HRQoL metrics were comparable between the matched cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of this study do not support the routine utilization of ICP monitoring in patients with ICH.