OBJECTIVE Although heterogeneity in patient outcomes following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has been observed across different centers, the relative merits of clipping and coiling for SAH remain unknown. The authors sought to compare the patient outcomes between these therapeutic modalities using a large nationwide discharge database encompassing hospitals with different comprehensive stroke center (CSC) capabilities. METHODS They analyzed data from 5214 patients with SAH (clipping 3624, coiling 1590) who had been urgently hospitalized at 393 institutions in Japan in the period from April 2012 to March 2013. In-hospital mortality, modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score, cerebral infarction, complications, hospital length of stay, and medical costs were compared between the clipping and coiling groups after adjustment for patient-level and hospital-level characteristics by using mixed-model analysis. RESULTS Patients who had undergone coiling had significantly higher in-hospital mortality (12.4% vs 8.7%, OR 1.3) and a shorter median hospital stay (32.0 vs 37.0 days, p < 0.001) than those who had undergone clipping. The respective proportions of patients discharged with mRS scores of 3-6 (46.4% and 42.9%) and median medical costs (thousands US$, 35.7 and 36.7) were not significantly different between the groups. These results remained robust after further adjustment for CSC capabilities as a hospital-related covariate. CONCLUSIONS Despite the increasing use of coiling, clipping remains the mainstay treatment for SAH. Regardless of CSC capabilities, clipping was associated with reduced in-hospital mortality, similar unfavorable functional outcomes and medical costs, and a longer hospital stay as compared with coiling in 2012 in Japan. Further study is required to determine the influence of unmeasured confounders.
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