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Stroke. 2011 Oct;42(10):2825-31. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.615393. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Decompressive surgery in cerebrovenous thrombosis: a multicenter registry and a systematic review of individual patient data.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, Hospital Santa Maria, University of Lisbon, 1649-035 Lisbon, Portugal.



Herniation attributable to unilateral mass effect is the major cause of death in cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). Decompressive surgery may be lifesaving in these patients.


Retrospective registry of cases of acute CVT treated with decompressive surgery (craniectomy or hematoma evacuation) in 22 centers and systematic review of all published cases of CVT treated with decompressive surgery. The primary outcome was the score on the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at last follow-up, dichotomized between favorable (mRS score, 0-4) and unfavorable outcome (mRS score, 5 or death). Secondary outcomes were complete recovery (mRS score 0-1), independence (mRS score, 0-2), severe dependence (mRS score, 4-5), and death at last available follow-up.


Sixty-nine patients were included and 38 were from the registry. Decompressive craniectomy was performed in 45 patients, hematoma evacuation was performed in 7, and both interventions were performed in 17 patients. At last follow-up (median, 12 months) only 12 (17.4%) had un unfavorable outcome. Twenty-six (37.7%) had mRS score 0 to 1, 39 (56.5%) had mRS score 0 to 2, 4 (5.8%) were alive with mRS score 4 to 5, and 11 (15.9%) patients died. Three of the 9 patients with bilateral fixed pupils recovered completely. Comatose patients were less likely to be independent (mRS score 0-2) than noncomatose patients (45% versus 84%; P=0.003). Patients with bilateral lesions were more likely to have unfavorable outcomes (50% versus 11%; P=0.004) and to die (42% versus 11%; P=0.025).


In CVT patients with large parenchymal lesions causing herniation, decompressive surgery was lifesaving and often resulted in good functional outcome, even in patients with severe clinical conditions.

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