Background: The recent occurrence of a spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage in Israel’s Prime Minister placed the scrutiny of local and international media on neurosurgeons as they made therapeutic decisions. In the ensuing public debate, it was suggested that extraordinary measures (surgical treatment) were undertaken only because of the celebrity of the patient.
Objectives: To evaluate the criteria used to select surgical versus medical management for SICH.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the files of 149 consecutive patients admitted with SICH from January 2004 through January 2006 to our medical center. Their mean age was 66 (range 3–92 years), and 62% were male. SICH localization was lobar in 50% of patients, thalamus in 23%, basal ganglia in 15%, cerebellum in 13%, intraventricular in 6%, and pontine in 1%. Mean admission Glasgow Coma Score was 9 (range 3–15). Risk factors included hypertension in (74%), diabetes mellitus (34%), smoking (14%) and amyloid angiopathy (4%). Fifty percent of patients were on anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy, including enoxaparin (3%), warfarin (7%), warfarin and aspirin (9%), or aspirin alone (34%).
Results: Craniotomy was performed in 30% of patients, and ventriculostomy alone in 3%. Rebleed occurred in 9% of patients. Six months after the treatment 36% of operated patients were independent, 42% dependent, and 13% had died. At 6 months, 37% of non-operated patients were independent, 15% dependent, and 47% had died.
Conclusions: One-third of the SICH patients, notably those who were experiencing ongoing neurologic deterioration and had accessible hemorrhage, underwent craniotomy. The results are good, considering the inherent mortality and morbidity of SICH.