Few Brain Aneurysm Patients Receive Specialized Care Despite Proven Benefits

Medical News Today

The Neurocritical Care Society is releasing a comprehensive set of guidelines this week to guide physicians and hospitals on how to optimally care for patients’ ruptured brain aneurysms. One of the strongest recommendations is that all patients receive specialized care at high-volume stroke centers that treat at least 60 cases per year.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage strikes without warning and results from rupture of an artery supplying the brain. Thirty percent do not survive, and half of those who do are permanently disabled.

The recommendation that patients receive care at high-volume centers is based on a comprehensive analysis of medical outcomes research conducted by an international panel of experts. The report found that relatively fewer patients are treated at high-volume centers, despite overwhelming evidence that care in more experienced centers will most likely result in definitive repair of the aneurysm and a good recovery.

"One important reason for better outcomes in large volume centers is that care is provided by specialized neurocritical care teams," said Dr. Paul Vespa, Director of Neurocritical Care at UCLA Medical Center and lead author of the report. "Once bleeding from the aneurysm is controlled, highly-specialized ICU care is required to detect and treat secondary complications. These complications are often just as deadly, if not more so, than the bleeding event."

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