December 1993

An Aggressive Approach to Massive Middle Cerebral Artery Infarction

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh (Pa).

Arch Neurol. 1993;50(12):1293-1297. doi:10.1001/archneur.1993.00540120010005

Objective:  We report favorable outcome after surgical decompression, or strokectomy, guided by xenonenhanced computed tomographic studies of cerebral blood flow in the setting of potentially fatal swelling from massive cerebral infarction.

Design:  Retrospective analysis with 3 months to 3 years of follow-up.

Setting:  University of Pittsburgh (Pa) Medical Center, a tertiary care university referral center.

Patients:  Four patients, aged 14 to 46 years, presented with focal neurologic deficits appropriate for a massive middle cerebral artery infarction (two dominant and two nondominant). In spite of medical therapy, all patients deteriorated to at least a decreased level of consciousness.

Intervention:  Using xenon-enhanced computed tomographic studies of cerebral blood flow in three patients, areas of severely ischemic (blood flow, <5 mL/100 g per minute), nonviable brain were identified and resected.

Outcome Measure:  Outcome was measured by survival and ability to perform activities of daily living.

Results:  Postoperatively, all patients recovered rapidly (<6 hours) to the level of function at admission and were able to perform the activities of daily living with minimal or no assistance.

Conclusion:  Despite deficits appropriate to the area of infarction, prompt management of life-threatening postinfarction swelling by surgical decompression can yield favorable outcome.