Treatment of unruptured cerebral aneurysms in California

S. Claiborne Johnston, S. Zhao, R. Adams Dudley, M. F. Berman, D. R. Gress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - The impact of endovascular therapy on treatment outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysms has not been studied in a defined geographic area. Methods - All primary diagnoses of unruptured aneurysms were retrieved from a statewide database of hospital discharges in California from January 1990 through December 1998. Admissions for initial treatment and all follow-up care were combined to reflect the entire course of therapy. An adverse outcome was defined as an in-hospital death or discharge to nursing home or rehabilitation hospital at any point during the treatment course. Multivariable analyses were performed with generalized estimating equations with adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, source of admission, year of treatment, hospital volume, and clustering of observations at institutions. Results - A total of 2069 patients were treated for unruptured aneurysms. Adverse outcomes were more frequent in the 1699 patients treated with surgery (25%) than in those treated with endovascular therapy (10% P<0.001). The difference persisted after multivariable adjustment (surgery versus endovascular therapy: odds ratio for adverse outcomes, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.5 to 4.0; P<0.001). Adverse outcomes declined from 1991 to 1998 in patients treated with endovascular therapy (P<0.005) but not for surgery. In-hospital deaths occurred in 3.5% of surgical cases and 0.5% of endovascular cases (P=0.003), and the difference remained significant after adjustment (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% CI, 3.5 to 11.4; P<0.001). Total length of stay and hospital charges were greater in surgical cases (both P<0.001). Results were similar in a confirmatory analysis focusing on treatment differences between institutions. Institutional treatment volume was also associated with outcome but did not account for the differences between surgery and endovascular therapy. Conclusions - In California, endovascular therapy of unruptured aneurysms is associated with less risk of adverse outcomes and in-hospital death, lower hospital charges, and shorter hospital stays compared with surgery. Differences between therapies became more distinct through the years. Uncontrolled differences in prognosis of patients receiving endovascular therapy and surgery cannot be ruled out in this study of discharge abstracts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)[d]597-603
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Endovascular therapy
  • Surgical treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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