INTRODUCTION: Unruptured intracranial aneurysm patients are frequently eligible for both open surgery (“clipping”) and endovascular repair (“coiling”). We compared short-term end points (mortality, discharge disposition, complications, length of stay, and charges) for clipping and coiling in a nationally representative discharge database.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using Nationwide Inpatient Sample data from 1996 to 2000. Multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, race, payer status, geographic region, presenting signs and symptoms, admission type and source, procedure timing, hospital caseload, and possible clustering of outcomes within hospitals. The results were confirmed by performing propensity score analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 3498 patients had clipping, and 421 underwent coiling. Clipped patients were slightly younger (P < 0.001). Medical comorbidity was similar between the groups. More clipped patients had urgent or emergency admissions (P = 0.02). More coiling procedures were performed on hospital Day 1 (P = 0.007). When only death and discharge to long-term care were counted as adverse outcomes, there was no significant difference between clipping and coiling. On the basis of a four-level discharge status outcome scale (dead, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, or discharge to home), coiled patients had a significantly better discharge disposition (odds ratio, 2.1; P < 0.001). With regard to patient age, most of the difference in discharge disposition was in patients older than 65 years of age. The degree of difference between treatments increased from 1996 to 2000. Neurological complications were coded twice as frequently in clipped patients as in coiled patients (P = 0.002). Length of stay was longer (5 d versus 2 d, P < 0.001) and charges were higher ($21,800 versus $13,200, P = 0.007) for clipped patients than for coiled patients.
CONCLUSION: There was no significant difference in mortality rates or discharge to long-term facilities after clipping or coiling of unruptured aneurysms. When discharge to short-term rehabilitation was counted as an adverse event, coiled patients had significantly better outcomes than clipped patients at the time of hospital discharge, but most of the coiling advantage was concentrated in patients older than 65 years of age. Even in older patients, long-term end points—including long-term functional status in patients discharged to rehabilitation and efficacy in preventing hemorrhage—will be critical in determining the best treatment option for patients with unruptured aneurysms.