Outcome after subarachnoid hemorrhage from a very small aneurysm: a case-control series.
A case-control analysis of patients with SAH was performed to compare risk factors and outcomes at 6 months posthemorrhage in patients with a very small aneurysm compared with those with a larger aneurysm. All patients with SAH who were treated between January 1998 and December 1999 were studied. A very small aneurysm was defined as "equal to or less than 5 mm in diameter." Clinical data and treatment summaries were maintained in an electronic database. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score was determined by an independent registrar. One hundred twenty-seven patients were treated. A very small aneurysm was the cause of SAH in 42 patients (33%), whereas 85 (67%) had aneurysms larger than 5 mm (mean diameter 11 mm). There were no differences in demographic variables or medical comorbidities between the two groups. Thick SAH (Fisher Grade 3 or 4) was more common in patients with a very small aneurysm than in those with a larger aneurysm (p = 0.028). One hundred eight patients underwent microsurgery (85%), 15 underwent coil embolization (12%), and four (3%) required both procedures. Vasospasm occurred in nine patients (21%) with very small aneurysms compared with 14 (16%) with larger aneurysms (p = 0.62). Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus occurred in nine patients (21%) with very small aneurysms and in 19 (22%) with larger aneurysms (p = 1). The mean GOS score for both groups was 4 (moderately disabled) at 6 months. Small aneurysms produce thick SAH more often than larger aneurysms. There is no difference in outcome after SAH between patients with a very small aneurysm and those with a larger aneurysm.