Early surgery of multiple versus single aneurysms after subarachnoid hemorrhage: an increased risk for cerebral vasospasm?

Clinical article

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery, Georg-August-University Göttingen, and
  • 2 University Hospital RWTH, Aachen, Germany
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Object

As many as 33% of patients suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) present with multiple intracranial aneurysms (MIAs). It is believed that aneurysm surgery has the potential to increase the risk of cerebral vasospasm due to surgical manipulations of the parent vessels and brain tissue. Consequently, 1-stage surgery of MIAs, which usually takes longer and requires more manipulation, could even further increase the risk of vasospasm. The aim of this study is to define the correlation between vasospasm and the operative treatment of single intracranial aneurysms versus MIAs in a 1-stage operation.

Methods

The authors analyzed a database including 1016 patients with SAH, identified retrospectively between 1989 and 1996 and prospectively collected between 1997 and 2004. Exclusion criteria were endovascular treatment, surgery after SAH Day 3, and, in patients with MIAs, undergoing more than 1 operation. Cerebral vasospasm was diagnosed by transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography and was defined as a maximum mean blood flow velocity > 120 cm/second. The diagnosis of symptomatic vasospasm was made if a new neurological deficit occurred that could not be explained by concomitant complications.

Results

A total of 643 patients who experienced 810 aneurysms were included. Four hundred twenty-four patients were female (65.9%) and 219 were male (34.1%) with an average age of 53.1 years. One hundred twenty-one patients (18.8%) were diagnosed with MIAs. Maximum mean flow velocities measured by TCD were 131 cm/second in patients with MIAs and 129.5 cm/second in patients with single intracranial aneurysms. The incidence of TCD vasospasm (p = 0.561) as well as of symptomatic vasospasm (p = 0.241) was not significantly different in the 2 groups.

Conclusions

Clipping of more than 1 aneurysm in a 1-stage operation within 72 hours after SAH can be performed without increasing the risk of cerebral (TCD) vasospasm and symptomatic vasospasm.

Abbreviations used in this paper: ACA = anterior cerebral artery; ACoA = anterior communicating artery; CBF = cerebral blood flow; DIND = delayed ischemic neurological deficit; GOS = Glasgow Outcome Scale; HHH = hypertension, hypervolemia, hemodilution; ICA = internal carotid artery; MCA = middle cerebral artery; MIA = multiple intracranial aneurysm; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage; SIA = single intracranial aneurysm; TCD = transcranial Doppler.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Dorothee Wachter, M.D., Neurochirurgische Klinik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, Göttingen, Germany D-37075. email: dorothee.wachter@gmx.de.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online December 17, 2010; DOI: 10.3171/2010.10.JNS10186.

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