Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) is a potentially lifesaving procedure in refractory intracranial hypertension, which can prevent death from brainstem herniation but may cause survival in a disabled state. The spectrum of indications is expanding, and we present long-term results in a series of patients suffering from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).
We performed a retrospective analysis of previously registered data including all patients treated for SAH between 2010 and 2018 in a single institution. Patients treated with decompressive hemicraniectomy due to refractory intracranial hypertension were identified. Clinical outcome was assessed by means of the Glasgow outcome scale after 12 months.
Of all 341 SAH cases, a total of 82 (24.0%) developed intracranial hypertension. Of those, 63 (18.5%) patients progressed into refractory ICP elevation and were treated with DHC. Younger age (OR 0.959, 95% CI 0.933 to 0.984; p = 0.002), anterior aneurysm location (OR 0.253, 95% CI 0.080 to 0.799; 0.019; p = 0.019), larger aneurysm size (OR 1.106, 95% CI 1.025 to 1.194; p = 0.010), and higher Hunt and Hess grading (OR 1.944, 95% CI 1.431 to 2.641; p < 0.001) were independently associated with the need for DHC. After 1 year, 10 (15.9%) patients after DHC were categorized as favorable outcome. Only younger age was independently associated with favorable outcome (OR 0.968 95% CI 0.951 to 0.986; p = 0.001).
Decompressive hemicraniectomy, though lifesaving, has only a limited probability of survival in a clinically favorable condition. We identified young age to be the sole independent predictor of favorable outcome after DHC in SAH.

© 2022. The Author(s).