Hemicraniectomy for Massive Middle Cerebral Artery Territory Infarction: A Systematic Review

Rishi Gupta, E. Sander Connolly, Stephan Mayer, Mitchell S.V. Elkind

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Hemicraniectomy and durotomy have been proposed in many small series to relieve intracranial hypertension and tissue shifts in patients with large hemispheric infarcts, thereby preventing death from herniation. Our objective was to review the literature to identify patients most likely to benefit from hemicraniectomy. Methods - All available individual cases from the English literature were reviewed and analyzed to determine whether age, vascular territory of infarction, side of infarction, reported time to surgery, and signs of herniation predict outcome in patients after hemicraniectomy. All studies included were retrospective and uncontrolled; there were no randomized controlled trials. Results - Of 15 studies screened, 12 studies describing 129 patients met the criteria for analysis; 9 patients treated at our institution were added, for a total of 138 patients. After a minimum follow-up of 4 months, 10 patients (7%) were functionally independent, 48 (35%) were mildly to moderately disabled, and 80 (58%) died or were severely disabled. Of 75 patients who were >50 years of age, 80% were dead or severely disabled compared with 32% of 63 patients ≤50 years of age (P<0.00001). The timing of surgery, hemisphere infarcted, presence of signs of herniation before surgery, and involvement of other vascular territories did not significantly affect outcome. Conclusions - Age may be a crucial factor in predicting functional outcome after hemicraniectomy in patients with large middle cerebral artery territory infarction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-543
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Craniectomy
  • Emergency treatment
  • Stroke
  • Surgical treatment


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