BACKGROUND: Endovascular coil embolization of ruptured aneurysms is performed under general anesthesia at most centers for perceived improved image quality and patient safety.
OBJECTIVE: To report the feasibility of and outcomes associated with endovascular treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients with ruptured cerebral aneurysms performed under conscious sedation with local anesthetics.
METHODS: Between January 2005 and December 2009, 187 patients with aneurysmal SAH were treated with coil embolization at the authors' hospital. For each patient, procedural details, mode of anesthesia, and clinical and radiographic outcomes were reviewed retrospectively (retrospective case series).
RESULTS: A total of 197 coil embolizations were performed: 112 under general anesthesia, 78 under conscious sedation with local anesthetics, and 7 converted from conscious sedation to general anesthesia. None of the patients who presented with Hunt & Hess grade IV or V were treated under conscious sedation. For patients who presented with Hunt & Hess grades I, II, and III, 79.2%, 66.7%, and 32.6% of patients, respectively, underwent successful completion of treatment under conscious sedation. The symptomatic procedural complication rate was 2.5% overall and 2.4% for the conscious sedation group alone. Among the 14 interventions with intraprocedural perforation, 11 were performed under general anesthesia and 3 were performed under conscious sedation.
CONCLUSION: In the authors' experience, conscious sedation with local anesthetics for endovascular treatment of ruptured intracranial aneurysms is feasible and safe in most patients with low-grade SAH. It may allow direct evaluation of the patient's neurological status, potentially leading to earlier detection and response to intraprocedural complications.
ABBREVIATIONS: HH, Hunt & Hess
SAH, subarachnoid hemorrhage