Quality of Life After Brainstem Cavernoma Surgery in 71 Patients
BACKGROUND: Symptomatic patients with a brainstem cavernoma are treated surgically with increasing frequency. Generally, the patient’s benefit from this difficult surgical intervention is quantified by the assessment of neurological symptoms. OBJECTIVE: To document the beneficial effect of surgery in a larger patient population by assessing the postoperative quality of life (QoL). METHODS: In a series of 71 surgically treated patients, a detailed neurological status was assessed by Patzold Rating and Karnofsky Performance Status Scale. Patients rated their QoL with the Short Form 36 Health Survey. To document the effect of surgery on QoL, we devised a supplementary questionnaire. The last 24 patients completed Short Form 36 Health Survey pre- and postoperatively. RESULTS: Karnofsky Performance Status Scale improved in 44 of 71 surgical patients (62%), remained unchanged in 19 (27%), and deteriorated in 8 (11%) individuals. Patzold Rating showed a more detailed picture of the neurological symptoms. It correlated significantly with Karnofsky Performance Status Scale, which underscores its usefulness for patients with brainstem lesions. In the Short Form 36 Health Survey score, the Mental Component Summary improved with surgery (paired test, P = .015). In addition, 58 individuals (82%) declared a clear subjective benefit of surgery. CONCLUSION: The results of this large series support the notion that microsurgical removal of a brainstem cavernoma represents an effective therapy in experienced hands and is generally associated with good clinical outcome, both neurologically and in terms of QoL.