Malignant Cerebral Venous Infarction: Decompressive Craniectomy versus Medical Treatment.


Department of Radiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is a common type of stroke in young adults and associated with 8% mortality. High intracranial pressure (ICP) and brain herniation are the most common causes of death in these patients. In contrast with malignant arterial middle cerebral infarction, there are few studies reporting the efficacy of decompressive craniectomy (DC) for treatment of high ICP in patients with CVT. In this study, we assess the clinical outcome of patients with CVT with impending brain herniation treated with DC versus medical management.
METHODS : In this retrospective study, medical records of all patients with CVT admitted to our hospital were reviewed. Patients with the following inclusion criteria were entered into the study: 1) CVT proven by contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance venogram and/or computed tomography venogram, 2) malignant CVT (impending brain herniation according to imaging and clinical finding), and 3) age between 16 and 80 years. Patients with deep venous system thrombosis, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3, and bilateral nonreactive midposition pupils or mydriasis on admission were excluded. Patients were classified into 2 groups: surgical group (DC group) including patients who received medical treatment and DC and medical group (MG) including patients who received only medical treatment. Outcomes and complications were assessed and compared between the 2 groups.
RESULTS : Of 357 patients with CVT hospitalized in our center, 48 patients entered into the study. Twenty-three patients were managed medically, and 25 patients were managed surgically. There was no significant difference between the groups concerning age, sex, presenting symptoms, transient and permanent risk factors of CVT, GCS score on admission, and pupils' reactivity on admission. All patients in the MG died during hospitalization in comparison with 8 patients in the DC group (100% vs. 32%, P < 0.001). Favorable outcome (modified Rankin scale score 0-2) was achieved in 52% of the DC group and 0% of the MG group (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : The results of our study confirmed that in contrast with DC, medical treatment could not prevent transtentorial herniation. DC is not only lifesaving for patients with CVT with impending brain herniation but also results in favorable outcome in most patients.


Cerebral venous infarction,Decompressive craniectomy,Medical treatment,