International practice variation in postoperative imaging of chronic subdural hematoma patients

Alexander F. C. Hulsbergen, Sandra C. Yan, Brittany M. Stopa, Aislyn DiRisio, Joeky T. Senders, Max J. van Essen, Stéphanie M. E. van der Burgt, Timothy R. Smith, William B. Gormley, Marike L. D. Broekman

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OBJECTIVE The value of CT scanning after burr hole surgery in chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) patients is unclear, and practice differs between countries. At the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts, neurosurgeons frequently order routine postoperative CT scans, while the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU) in the Netherlands does not have this policy. The aim of this study was to compare the use of postoperative CT scans in CSDH patients between these hospitals and to evaluate whether there are differences in clinical outcomes. METHODS The authors collected data from both centers for 391 age- and sex-matched CSDH patients treated with burr hole surgery between January 1, 2002, and July 1, 2016, and compared the number of postoperative scans up to 6 weeks after surgery, the need for re-intervention, and postoperative neurological condition. RESULTS BWH patients were postoperatively scanned a median of 4 times (interquartile range [IQR] 2–5), whereas UMCU patients underwent a median of 0 scans (IQR 0–1, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the number of re-operations (20 in the BWH vs 27 in the UMCU, p = 0.34). All re-interventions were preceded by clinical decline and no recurrences were detected on scans performed on asymptomatic patients. Patients’ neurological condition was not worse in the UMCU than in the BWH (p = 0.43). CONCLUSIONS While BWH patients underwent more scans than UMCU patients, there were no differences in clinical outcomes. The results of this study suggest that there is little benefit to routine scanning in asymptomatic patients who have undergone surgical treatment of uncomplicated CSDH and highlight opportunities to make practice more efficient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1912-1919
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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