Object. This study was conducted to define neuropsychological changes following operation for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) caused by rupture of an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and to assess the influence of the timing of surgery to clip the aneurysm.
Methods. Cognitive outcome was evaluated using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery in patients with an ACoA aneurysm that had caused an SAH. Adult patients younger than 70 years of age who had achieved a favorable neurological outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale scores of 4 or 5) were studied 6 to 24 months postsurgery. Patients were divided into early (Days 0–3) and late surgery groups (after Day 3) according to the timing of surgery after the ictus. Neuropsychological analysis was performed by reviewers who were blinded to the timing of surgery.
Forty-seven patients whose mean age was 51.5 years were tested. They were compared with age- and intelligence quotient (IQ)—matched controls by using premorbid IQ as estimated on the National Adult Reading Test. Patients showed deficiencies in several tasks of verbal fluency, pattern recognition, and spatial working memory; this profile of deficits was similar to that seen in patients who underwent temporal lobe excisions. However, there was no significant difference in cognitive performance between the early and late surgery groups.
Conclusions. After open surgery for ruptured ACoA aneurysms, patients who have achieved a favorable neurological outcome still exhibit significant cognitive deficits, primarily in tests sensitive to temporal lobe dysfunction. However, early surgery does not carry a higher risk of neuropsychological disability.