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Michael A. Mooney, Elias D. Simon, Scott Brigeman, Peter Nakaji, Joseph M. Zabramski, Michael T. Lawton and Robert F. Spetzler

In Brief

Microsurgical clipping has withstood the test of time as a safe, effective, and durable treatment for ruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms. With continued advances in endovascular techniques, reports of endovascular treatment of ruptured MCA aneurysms are increasing. The authors report detailed outcomes of microsurgical clipping of MCA aneurysms from the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial. These results should serve as a benchmark for future studies examining endovascular management of these patients.

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Michael A. Mooney, Scott Brigeman, Michael A. Bohl, Elias D. Simon, John P. Sheehy, Steve W. Chang and Robert F. Spetzler


Overlapping surgery is a controversial subject in medicine today; however, few studies have examined the outcomes of this practice. The authors analyzed outcomes of patients with acutely ruptured saccular aneurysms who were treated with microsurgical clipping in a prospectively collected database from the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial. Acute and long-term outcomes for overlapping versus nonoverlapping cases were compared.


During the study period, 241 patients with ruptured saccular aneurysms underwent microsurgical clipping. Patients were separated into overlapping (n = 123) and nonoverlapping (n = 118) groups based on surgical start/stop times. Outcomes at discharge and at 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 6 years after surgery were analyzed.


Patient variables (e.g., age, smoking status, cardiovascular history, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, and aneurysm size) were similar between the 2 groups. Aneurysm locations were similar, with the exception of the overlapping group having more posterior circulation aneurysms (18/123 [15%]) than the nonoverlapping group (8/118 [7%]) (p = 0.0495). Confirmed aneurysm obliteration at discharge was significantly higher for the overlapping group (109/119 [91.6%]) than for the nonoverlapping group (95/116 [81.9%]) (p = 0.03). Hospital length of stay, discharge location, and proportions of patients with a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 at discharge and up to 6 years postoperatively were similar. The mean and median mRS, Glasgow Outcome Scale, Mini–Mental State Examination, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and Barthel Index scores at all time points were not statistically different between the groups.


Compared with nonoverlapping surgery, overlapping surgery was not associated with worse outcomes for any variable at any time point, despite the complexity of the surgical management in this patient population. These findings should be considered during the discussion of future guidelines on the practice of overlapping surgery.