Morbidity and mortality of patients with endovascularly treated intracerebral aneurysms: Does physician specialty matter?

Vernard S. Fennell, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Sheri K. Palejwala, Gerald M Lemole, Travis M Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Endovascular treatment of cerebrovascular pathology, particularly aneurysms, is becoming more prevalent. There is a wide variety in clinical background and training of physicians who treat cerebrovascular pathology through endovascular means. The impact of clinical training background on patient outcomes is not well documented. Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of a large national database, the University HealthSystem Consortium, that was queried in the years 2009-2013. Cases of both unruptured cerebral aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhage treated by endovascular obliteration were studied. Outcome measures of morbidity and mortality were evaluated according to the specialty of the treating physician. Results: Elective embolization of an unruptured aneurysm was the procedure code and primary diagnosis, respectively, for 12,400 cases. Patients with at least 1 complication were reported in 799 cases (6.4%). Deaths were reported in 193 cases (1.6%). Complications and deaths were varied by specialty; the highest incidence of complications (11.1%) and deaths (3.0%) were reported by neurologists. The fewest complications were reported by neurosurgeons (5.4%; 1.4% deaths), with a higher incidence of complications reported in cases performed by neurologists (p <0.0001 for both complications and deaths) and to a lesser degree interventional radiologists (p = 0.0093 for complications). Subarachnoid hemorrhage was the primary diagnosis and procedure for 8197 cases. At least 1 complication was reported in 2385 cases (29%) and deaths in 983 cases (12%). The number of complications and deaths varied among specialties. The highest incidence of complications (34%) and deaths (13.5%) in subarachnoid hemorrhage was in cases performed by neurologists. The fewest complications were in cases by neurosurgeons (27%), with a higher incidence of complications in cases performed by neurologists (34%, p <0.0001), and a trend of increased complications with interventional radiologists (30%, p <0.0676). The lowest incidence of mortality was in cases performed by neurosurgeons (11.5%), with a significantly higher incidence of mortality in cases performed by neurologists (13.5%, p = 0.0372). Mortality rates did not reach statistical significance with respect to interventional radiologists (12.1%, p = 0.4884). Conclusions: Physicians of varied training types and backgrounds use endovascular treatment of ruptured and unruptured intracerebral aneurysms. In this study there was a statistically significant finding that neurosurgically trained physicians may demonstrate improved outcomes with respect to endovascular treatment of unruptured aneurysms in this cohort. This finding warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Volume124
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Aneurysm
  • Cerebral
  • Coil embolization
  • Endovascular
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)

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