Optimal management of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) remains one of the highly debated areas in the field of neurosurgery. Earlier studies comparing open surgical intervention with best medical management failed to show a clear benefit. More recent experience with minimally invasive techniques has shown greater promise. Well-designed phase II trials have confirmed the safety and preliminary treatment effect of thrombolytic aspiration and clearance of spontaneous ICH and associated intraventricular obstructive hemorrhage. Those trials are reviewed, including respective protocols and technical nuances, and lessons learned regarding patient selection, the concept of hemorrhage stabilization, optimization of the surgical procedure, and thrombolytic dosing decisions. These concepts have been incorporated in the design of ongoing definite phase III randomized trials (MISTIE and CLEAR) funded by the National Institutes of Health. These are presented including the role of surgical leadership in the training and monitoring of the surgical task and quality assurance. The impact of these techniques on neurosurgical practice is discussed.
Advances and Innovations in Vascular Neurosurgery is online and full-text access is free.