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BACKGROUND: Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and surgical clipping of intracranial aneurysms are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. OBJECTIVE: To compare cognitive outcome and structural damage in patients with aneurysmal SAH treated with surgical clipping or endovascular coiling. METHODS: Forty case-matched pairs of patients with aneurysmal SAH treated by surgical clipping or endovascular coiling were prospectively assessed by use of a battery of cognitive tests. Twenty-three case-matched pairs underwent MRI 1 year after the procedure. Matching was based on grade of SAH on admission, location of aneurysm, age, and premorbid IQ. RESULTS: Both groups were impaired in all cognitive domains when compared with age-matched healthy control subjects. Comparison of cognitive outcome between the two groups indicated an overall trend toward a poorer cognitive outcome in the surgical group, which achieved significance in four tests. MRI showed focal encephalomalacia exclusively in the surgical group. This group also had a significantly higher incidence of single or multiple small infarcts within the vascular territory of the aneurysm, but both groups had similar incidence of large infarcts and global ischemic damage. CONCLUSION: Endovascular treatment may cause less structural brain damage than surgery and have a more favorable cognitive outcome. However, cognitive outcome appears to be dictated primarily by the complications of SAH.


Journal article



Publication Date





1672 - 1677


Cognition, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, Surgical Instruments