Decompressive hemicraniectomy in malignant middle cerebral artery infarction: An analysis of long-term outcome and factors in patient selection

Ashok Pillai, Sajesh K. Menon, Satyendra Kumar, Kariyattil Rajeev, Anand Kumar, Dilip Panikar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Object. Middle cerebral artery infarction often occurs at a younger age than other strokes and is associated with significant rates of mortality and morbidity. After a period of pessimism regarding decompressive hemicraniectomy in the management of acute stroke, the method has reemerged in the past decade. The present study was undertaken to assess the immediate and long-term outcome of this intervention and to help better define the selection criteria for surgery. Methods. The authors conducted a nonrandomized prospective study using decompressive hemicraniectomy with duraplasty in patients at various stages of clinical deterioration due to a space-occupying middle cerebral artery infarct. Patients were assessed at 6 and 12 months postinfarction by using functional scales. Subjective reconsideration was assessed using a questionnaire. Twenty-six patients were included in the study. The mean age was 48.4 ± 11.2 years, and the mean preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale score was 9.9 ± 3.2. The median time from ictus to surgery was 54 hours (range 13-288 hours). The rate of survival at 1 year postsurgery was 73%. Among survivors, 33.3% were independent (Barthel Index [BI] > 95) and 55.6% were partially dependent (BI 60-95) at 1 year postsurgery, with 72% attaining the ability to walk independently by 1 year postsurgery. No patient remained in a vegetative state. The 1-year BI score was inversely related to patient age (r = 20.47, p = 0.048). Conclusions. Survival after decompressive hemicraniectomy was better than previously reported using medical management alone. A vegetative state was avoided and functional independence was possible, especially in younger patients. Increasing age was a statistically significant predictor of disability and long-term functional dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Decompressive hemicraniectomy
  • Hypertension
  • Infarction
  • Middle cerebral artery
  • Mortality rate
  • Outcome
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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