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Surgery for primary intracerebral hemorrhage: is it safe and effective? A systematic review of case series and randomized trials.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The surgical treatment of primary intracerebral hemorrhage (PICH) varies throughout the world, mainly because of the lack of evidence of its safety and effectiveness. This study compares the outcome of patients with PICH who are treated surgically with those who are not.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic overview (meta-analysis) of all studies of the outcome of surgery for PICH by means of a Medline search of relevant randomized trials and case series published since 1966. Cited references and presentations were also reviewed.

RESULTS: The 15 case series of surgery for PICH involving a total of 1524 patients (654 treated surgically) are potentially confounded and the results inconclusive. The pooled results of the three randomized controlled trials of open craniotomy and one trial of endoscopic evacuation for supratentorial PICH in a total of 349 patients (173 treated surgically) indicate a nonsignificant increase in odds of death and dependency at 6 months for patients treated surgically (odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 1.98). The odds of death or dependency at 6 months were 2.1 (1.1 to 4.1) for patients undergoing craniotomy and 0.45 (0.2 to 1.0) for endoscopic evacuation.

CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence of the risks and benefits of surgery for PICH. Further randomized trials are needed to identify whether there is a favorable treatment effect of surgery, the types of PICH and patients who are likely to benefit and not benefit, and the safety and effectiveness of the different surgical interventions.

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