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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2020 February;64(1):97-106

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.18.04527-7


language: English

Early and late clinical outcomes after decompressive craniectomy for traumatic refractory intracranial hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of current evidence

Georgia G. TSAOUSI 1 , Lorenzo MAROCCHI 2, Paola G. SERGI 2, Chryssa POURZITAKI 1, Antonio SANTORO 3, Federico BILOTTA 2

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece; 2 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 3 Department of Neurosurgery, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

INTRODUCTION: Decompressive craniectomy (DC) to control refractory intracranial hypertension in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), has been listed as possible but controversial therapeutic approach in the latest version of TBI management guidelines. This study aimed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis on efficacy and safety of DC compared to standard care in TBI patients.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A database search from 2011 to 2017 was conducted to identify studies pertinent to DC compared to standard care after TBI. The primary outcomes were mortality and functional outcome upon hospital discharge and at 6 and 12 months after intervention, whereas secondary outcomes were intracranial pressure (ICP) control, hospitalization data and occurrence of adverse events.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Three randomized controlled trials and two observational studies enrolling 3451 patients were selected for qualitative analysis, among which four were included in the meta-analysis. DC-treated patients showed a significant reduction of overall mortality (RR, 0.57; 95% CI: 0.5-0.66; P<0.001; I2=17%) with no profound beneficial effect on functional outcome (RR, 0.89; 95% CI: 0.78-1.02; P=0.09; I2=58%) compared to those receiving standard care. A more efficient ICP reduction and a tendency towards shorter duration of hospitalization were recorded in DC versus standard care group. Adverse events are more common in DC-treated patients.
CONCLUSIONS: It seems that, in TBI patients with intracranial hypertension, the use of DC is associated with survival benefit when compared to medical therapy alone, but with no clear improvement of functional outcome. Yet no definite conclusion can be drawn due to limited quantity and considerable heterogeneity of available data.

KEY WORDS: Decompressive craniectomy; Intracranial hypertension; Mortality; Brain injuries, traumatic

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