Author(s): Huttner HB, Schwab S
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Abstract Space-occupying, malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarctions are still one of the most devastating forms of ischaemic stroke, with a mortality of up to 80\% in untreated patients. An early diagnosis is essential and depends on CT and MRI to aid the prediction of a malignant course. Several pharmacological strategies have been proposed but the efficacy of these approaches has not been supported by adequate evidence from clinical trials and, until recently, treatment of malignant MCA infarctions has been a major unmet need. Over the past 3 years, results from randomised controlled trials and their pooled analyses have provided evidence that an early hemicraniectomy leads to a substantial decrease in mortality at 6 and 12 months and is likely to improve functional outcome. Hemicraniectomy is now in routine use for the clinical management of malignant MCA infarction in patients younger than 60 years of age. However, there are still important questions about the individual indication for decompressive surgery, particularly with regard to the ideal timing of hemicraniectomy, a potential cut-off age for the procedure, the hemisphere affected, and ethical considerations about functional outcome in surviving patients.
This article was published in Lancet Neurol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy