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Cameron G. McDougall, Robert F. Spetzler, Joseph M. Zabramski, Shahram Partovi, Nancy K. Hills, Peter Nakaji and Felipe C. Albuquerque

Object

The purpose of this ongoing study is to compare the safety and efficacy of microsurgical clipping and endovascular coil embolization for the treatment of acutely ruptured cerebral aneurysms and to determine if one treatment is superior to the other by examining clinical and angiographic outcomes. The authors examined the null hypothesis that no difference exists between the 2 treatment modalities in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The current report is limited to the clinical results at 1 year after treatment.

Methods

The authors screened 725 patients with SAH, resulting in 500 eligible patients who were enrolled prospectively in the study after giving their informed consent. Patients were assigned in an alternating fashion to surgical aneurysm clipping or endovascular coil therapy. Intake evaluations and outcome measurements were collected by nurse practitioners independent of the treating surgeons. Ultimately, 238 patients were assigned to aneurysm clipping and 233 to coil embolization. The 2 treatment groups were well matched. There were no anatomical exclusions. Crossing over was allowed, but primary outcome analysis was based on the initial treatment modality assignment. Posttreatment care was standardized for both groups. Patient outcomes at 1 year were independently assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). A poor outcome was defined as an mRS score > 2 at 1 year. The primary outcome was based on the assigned group; that is, by intent to treat.

Results

One year after treatment, 403 patients were available for evaluation. Of these, 358 patients had actually undergone treatment. The remainder either died before treatment or had no identifiable source of SAH. A poor outcome (mRS score > 2) was observed in 33.7% of the patients assigned to aneurysm clipping and in 23.2% of the patients assigned to coil embolization (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.08–2.61; p = 0.02). Of treated patients assigned to the coil group, 124 (62.3%) of the 199 who were eligible for any treatment actually received endovascular coil embolization. Patients who crossed over from coil to clip treatment fared worse than patients assigned to coil embolization, but no worse than patients assigned to clip occlusion. No patient treated by coil embolization suffered a recurrent hemorrhage.

Conclusions

One year after treatment, a policy of intent to treat favoring coil embolization resulted in fewer poor outcomes than clip occlusion. Although most aneurysms assigned to the coil treatment group were treated by coil embolization, a substantial number crossed over to surgical clipping. Although a policy of intent to treat favoring coil embolization resulted in fewer poor outcomes at 1 year, it remains important that high-quality surgical clipping be available as an alternative treatment modality.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Joseph M. Zabramski, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nancy K. Hills, Robert C. Wallace and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) is a prospective, randomized trial in which treatment with clipping was compared to treatment with coil embolization. Patients were randomized to treatment on presentation with any nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Because all other randomized trials comparing these 2 types of treatments have been limited to saccular aneurysms, the authors analyzed the current BRAT data for this subgroup of lesions.

METHODS

The primary BRAT analysis included all sources of SAH: nonaneurysmal lesions; saccular, blister, fusiform, and dissecting aneurysms; and SAHs from an aneurysm associated with either an arteriovenous malformation or a fistula. In this post hoc review, the outcomes for the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms were further analyzed by type of treatment. The extent of aneurysm obliteration was adjudicated by an independent neuroradiologist not involved in treatment.

RESULTS

Of the 471 patients enrolled in the BRAT, 362 (77%) had an SAH from a saccular aneurysm. Patients with saccular aneurysms were assigned equally to the clipping and the coiling cohorts (181 each). In each cohort, 3 patients died before treatment and 178 were treated. Of the 178 clip-assigned patients with saccular aneurysms, 1 (1%) was crossed over to coiling, and 64 (36%) of the 178 coil-assigned patients were crossed over to clipping. There was no statistically significant difference in poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) between these 2 treatment arms at any recorded time point during 6 years of follow-up. After the initial hospitalization, 1 of 241 (0.4%) clipped saccular aneurysms and 21 of 115 (18%) coiled saccular aneurysms required retreatment (p < 0.001). At the 6-year follow-up, 95% (95/100) of the clipped aneurysms were completely obliterated, compared with 40% (16/40) of the coiled aneurysms (p < 0.001). There was no difference in morbidity between the 2 treatment groups (p = 0.10).

CONCLUSIONS

In the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms enrolled in the BRAT, there was no significant difference between modified Rankin Scale outcomes at any follow-up time in patients with saccular aneurysms assigned to clipping compared with those assigned to coiling (intent-to-treat analysis). At the 6-year follow-up evaluation, rates of retreatment and complete aneurysm obliteration significantly favored patients who underwent clipping compared with those who underwent coiling.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Robert F. Spetzler, Cameron G. McDougall, Joseph M. Zabramski, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nancy K. Hills, Peter Nakaji, John P. Karis and Robert C. Wallace

OBJECTIVE

The authors present the 10-year results of the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) for saccular aneurysms. The 1-, 3-, and 6-year results of the trial have been previously reported, as have the 6-year results with respect to saccular aneurysms. This final report comparing the safety and efficacy of clipping versus coiling is limited to an analysis of those patients presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from a ruptured saccular aneurysm.

METHODS

In the study, 362 patients had saccular aneurysms and were randomized equally to the clipping and the coiling cohorts (181 each). The primary outcome analysis was based on the assigned treatment group; poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 and was independently adjudicated. The extent of aneurysm obliteration was adjudicated by a nontreating neuroradiologist.

RESULTS

There was no statistically significant difference in poor outcome (mRS score > 2) or deaths between these 2 treatment arms during the 10 years of follow-up. Of 178 clip-assigned patients with saccular aneurysms, 1 (< 1%) was crossed over to coiling, and 64 (36%) of the 178 coil-assigned patients were crossed over to clipping. After the initial hospitalization, 2 of 241 (0.8%) clipped saccular aneurysms and 23 of 115 (20%) coiled saccular aneurysms required retreatment (p < 0.001). At the 10-year follow-up, 93% (50/54) of the clipped aneurysms were completely obliterated, compared with only 22% (5/23) of the coiled aneurysms (p < 0.001). Two patients had documented rebleeding, both died, and both were in the assigned and treated coiled cohort (2/83); no patient in the clipped cohort (0/175) died (p = 0.04). In 1 of these 2 patients, the hemorrhage was not from the target aneurysm but from an incidental basilar artery aneurysm, which was coiled at the same time.

CONCLUSIONS

There was no significant difference in clinical outcomes between the 2 assigned treatment groups as measured by mRS outcomes or deaths. Clinical outcomes in the patients with posterior circulation aneurysms were better in the coiling group at 1 year, but after 1 year this difference was no longer statistically significant. Rates of complete aneurysm obliteration and rates of retreatment favored patients who actually underwent clipping compared with those who underwent coiling.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Robert F. Spetzler, Cameron G. McDougall, Joseph M. Zabramski, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nancy K. Hills, Jonathan J. Russin, Shahram Partovi, Peter Nakaji and Robert C. Wallace

OBJECT

The authors report the 6-year results of the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT). This ongoing randomized trial, with the final goal of a 10-year follow-up, compares the safety and efficacy of surgical clip occlusion and endovascular coil embolization in patients presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from a ruptured aneurysm. The 1- and 3-year results of this trial have been previously reported.

METHODS

In total, 500 patients with an SAH met the entry criteria and were enrolled in the study. Of these patients, 471 were randomly assigned to the treatments: 238 to surgical clipping and 233 to endovascular coiling. Six patients who died before treatment and 57 patients with nonaneurysmal SAHs were excluded, leaving a total of 408 patients who underwent clipping (209 assigned) or coiling (199 assigned). Whether to treat patients within the assigned group or to cross over patients to the other group was at the discretion of the treating physician; 38% (75/199) of the patients assigned to coiling were crossed over to clipping and 1.9% (4/209) assigned to clipping were crossed over to coiling. The outcome data were collected by a dedicated nurse practitioner. The primary outcome analysis was based on the assigned treatment group; poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 and was independently adjudicated. Six years after randomization, 336 (82%) of 408 patients who had been treated were available for examination.

RESULTS

On the basis of an mRS score of > 2, and similar to the results at the 3-year follow-up, no significant difference in outcomes (p = 0.24) was detected between the 2 treatment groups. Complete aneurysm obliteration at 6 years was achieved in 96% (111/116) of the clipping group and in 48% (23/48) of the coiling group (p < 0.0001). In the period between the 3- and 6-year follow-ups, 3 additional patients assigned to coiling and none assigned to clipping received retreatment, for overall retreatment rates of 4.6% (13/280) for clipping and 16.4% (21/128) for coiling (p < 0.0001).

When aneurysm location was considered, the 6-year results continued to match the previously reported results, with no difference in outcome for anterior circulation aneurysms at most time points. Of the anterior circulation aneurysms assigned to coiling treatment, 42% (70/168) were crossed over to clipping treatment. The outcomes for posterior circulation aneurysms continued to favor coiling. The randomization process was unexpectedly skewed, with 18 of 21 treated aneurysms of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) being assigned to clipping, but even when PICA aneurysms were removed from the analysis, outcomes for the posterior circulation aneurysms still favored coiling.

CONCLUSIONS

Although BRAT was statistically underpowered to detect small differences, these results suggest little difference in outcome between the 2 treatments for anterior circulation aneurysms. This was not the case for the posterior circulation aneurysms, where coil embolization appeared to provide a sustained advantage over clipping. Aneurysm obliteration rates in BRAT were significantly lower and retreatment rates significantly higher in the patients undergoing coiling than in those undergoing clipping. However, despite the fact that retreatment rates were higher after coiling, no recurrent hemorrhages were known to have occurred in patients undergoing coiling in BRAT who were followed up for 6 years. Sufficient questions remain about the relative benefits of the 2 treatment modalities to warrant further well-designed randomized trials.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Joseph M. Zabramski, Nancy K. Hills, Shahram Partovi, Peter Nakaji and Robert C. Wallace

Object

The authors report the 3-year results of the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT). The objective of this ongoing randomized trial is to compare the safety and efficacy of microsurgical clip occlusion and endovascular coil embolization for the treatment of acutely ruptured cerebral aneurysms and to compare functional outcomes based on clinical and angiographic data. The 1-year results have been previously reported.

Methods

Two-hundred thirty-eight patients were assigned to clip occlusion and 233 to coil embolization. There were no anatomical exclusions. Crossovers were allowed based on the treating physician's determination, but primary outcome analysis was based on the initial assignment to treatment modality. Patient outcomes were assessed independently using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). A poor outcome was defined as an mRS score > 2. At 3 years' follow-up 349 patients who had actually undergone treatment were available for evaluation. Of the 170 patients who had been originally assigned to coiling, 64 (38%) crossed over to clipping, whereas 4 (2%) of 179 patients assigned to surgery crossed over to coiling.

Results

The risk of a poor outcome in patients assigned to clipping compared with those assigned to coiling (35.8% vs 30%) had decreased from that observed at 1 year and was no longer significant (OR 1.30, 95% CI 0.83–2.04, p = 0.25). In addition, the degree of aneurysm obliteration (p = 0.0001), rate of aneurysm recurrence (p = 0.01), and rate of retreatment (p = 0.01) were significantly better in the group treated with clipping compared with the group treated with coiling.

When outcomes were analyzed based on aneurysm location (anterior circulation, n = 339; posterior circulation, n = 69), there was no significant difference in the outcomes of anterior circulation aneurysms between the 2 assigned groups across time points (at discharge, 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years after treatment). The outcomes of posterior circulation aneurysms were significantly better in the coil group than in the clip group after the 1st year of follow-up, and this difference persisted after 3 years of follow-up. However, while aneurysms in the anterior circulation were well matched in their anatomical location between the 2 treatment arms, this was not the case in the posterior circulation where, for example, 18 of 21 posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysms were in the clip group.

Conclusions

Based on mRS scores at 3 years, the outcomes of all patients assigned to coil embolization showed a favorable 5.8% absolute difference compared with outcomes of those assigned to clip occlusion, although this difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.25). Patients in the clip group had a significantly higher degree of aneurysm obliteration and a significantly lower rate of recurrence and retreatment. In post hoc analysis examining only anterior circulation aneurysms, no outcome difference between the 2 treatment cohorts was observed at any recorded time point. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Andrew Molyneux, Richard Kerr and Jacqueline Birks