Hemicraniectomy for Malignant Middle Cerebral Artery Syndrome: A Review of Functional Outcomes in Two High-Volume Stroke Centers

Abhi Pandhi, Georgios Tsivgoulis, Nitin Goyal, Muhammad F. Ishfaq, Shailesh Male, Efstathios Boviatsis, Jason J. Chang, Ramin Zand, Konstantinos Voumvourakis, Lucas Elijovich, Anne W. Alexandrov, Marc D. Malkoff, Daniel Hoit, Adam S. Arthur, Andrei V. Alexandrov

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2 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Despite recent landmark randomized controlled trials showing significant benefits for hemicraniectomy (HCT) compared with medical therapy (MT) in patients with malignant middle cerebral artery infarction (MMCAI), HCT rates have not substantially increased in the United States. We sought to evaluate early outcomes in patients with MMCAI who were treated with HCT (cases) in comparison to patients treated with MT due to the perception of procedural futility by families (controls). Methods: We retrospectively evaluated consecutive patients with acute MMCAI treated in 2 tertiary care centers during a 7-year period. Pretreatment National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at 3 months were documented. Functional independence (FI) and survival without severe disability (SWSD) were defined as mRS of 0-2 and 0-4, respectively. Results: A total of 66 patients (37 cases and 29 controls) fulfilled the study inclusion criteria (mean age 59 ± 15 years, 52% men, median admission NIHSS score: 19 points [interquartile range {IQR}: 16-22]). Cases were younger (51 ± 11 versus 68 ± 13 years; P < .001) and tended to have lower median admission NIHSS than controls (18 [IQR:16-20] versus 20 [IQR:18-23]; P = .072). The rates of FI and SWSD at 3 months were higher in cases than controls (16% versus 0% [P = .031] and 62% versus 0% [P < .001]), while 3-month mortality was lower (24% versus 77%; P < .001). Multivariable Cox regression analyses adjusting for potential confounders identified HCT as the most important predictor of lower risk of 3-month mortality (hazard ratio: .02, 95% confidence interval: .01-0.10; P < .001). Conclusions: HCT is a critical and effective therapy for patients with MMCAI but cannot provide a guarantee of functional recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2405-2410
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Malignant ischemic stroke
  • functional independence
  • hemicraniectomy
  • large vessel occlusion
  • mortality
  • survival without severe disability


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