Malignant middle cerebral artery (MMCA) infarction is associated with a mortality rate of 80% under conservative treatment. Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DH) reduces mortality and improves the functional outcome of surviving patients. The purpose of this study was to examine quality of life (QoL) and neurobehavioral deficits in patients with space-occupying infarctions of the right- or left-sided hemisphere at 6 months after stroke. The Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) was used to assess QoL in 19 out of 29 consecutive patients that underwent DH after a malignant MCA infarction (14 on the right and 5 on the left hemisphere). Behavioral changes were evaluated with the Frontal Behavioral Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory. Patients and relatives were also asked if, knowing the present outcome, they would agree again, in retrospect, to a DH. Barthel Index >60 was seen in 37% of our patients. Functional outcome was related to age. We found a higher reduction in the SIP's physical domain than in the psychosocial domain. Depressive symptoms were present in 50% of the patients. We didn't find significant differences in QoL or functional outcome between patients with right or left-sided infarctions. The most frequent neurobehavioral symptoms were decreased speech output, apathy, reduced spontaneity and irritability. Most patients and their relatives would again give consent to hemicraniectomy. The results show that younger patients had a significantly better outcome. QoL seems to be acceptable in both left- and right-sided infarctions, and retrospective agreement to hemicraniectomy is high in both patients and their relatives. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.
- Decompressive hemicraniectomy
- Malignant middle cerebral artery infarction
- Neurobehavioral outcome
- Quality of life