Impact of randomized controlled trials on neurosurgical practice in decompressive craniectomy for ischemic stroke
Neurosurgical review 42 (1), 133-137, 2019
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are gold standard for comparing treatment modalities. Recently, RCTs transformed ischemic stroke care by first proving benefit of decompressive craniectomy (DC) and later of interventional mechanical thrombectomy. Aim of this study was to explore the impact of RCTs on neurosurgical practice. RCTs investigating DC and thrombectomy were identified. Annual numbers of DCs for ischemic stroke between 2000 and 2017 were determined and correlated with publication dates of RCTs. The initial RCTs demonstrating efficacy of DC were published in 2007, followed by an increase in DC numbers between 2008 and 2009. The first RCTs on mechanical thrombectomy were published in 2014 and 2015, with a decline in DCs observed between 2015 and 2016. There is a close temporal relationship between publication of these RCTs and changes in neurosurgical practice. Dynamics of annual DCs appear to correlate with the publication of RCTs. Significantly positive results of surgical and interventional RCTs were translated into clinical practice with a latency of 1 year, as reflected by shifts in annual DC numbers.