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Microelectrode recording and hemorrhage in functional neurosurgery: a comparative analysis in a consecutive series of 645 procedures

Joachim Runge, Johanna M. Nagel, Christoph Schrader, Christian Blahak, Ralf E. Weigel, Marc E. Wolf, Hans E. Heissler, Assel Saryyeva, and Joachim K. Krauss

OBJECTIVE

Functional stereotactic neurosurgery including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and radiofrequency lesioning is well established and widely used for treatment of movement disorders and various other neurological and psychiatric diseases. Although functional stereotactic neurosurgery procedures are considered relatively safe, intracranial hemorrhage resulting in permanent neurological deficits may occur in 1%–3% of patients. Microelectrode recording (MER) has been recognized as a valuable tool for refining the final target in functional stereotactic neurosurgery. Moreover, MER provides insight into the underlying neurophysiological pathomechanisms of movement disorders and other diseases. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing controversy on whether MER increases the risk for hemorrhage. The authors aimed to compare the risk of hemorrhage in functional stereotactic neurosurgical procedures with regard to the use of MER.

METHODS

The authors performed a comparative analysis on a consecutive series of 645 functional neurosurgery procedures, including 624 DBS surgeries and 21 radiofrequency lesionings, to evaluate whether the use of MER would increase the risk for hemorrhage. MER was performed in 396 procedures, while no MER was used in 249 cases. The MER technique involved the use of a guiding cannula and a single trajectory when feasible. Postoperative CT scans were obtained within 24 hours after surgery in all patients and screened for the presence of hemorrhage.

RESULTS

Twenty-one intracranial hemorrhages were detected on the postoperative CT scans (3.2%). Of the 21 intracranial hemorrhages, 14 were asymptomatic and 7 were symptomatic. Symptoms were transient except in 1 case. There was no statistically significant correlation between hemorrhage and the use of MER at any site (subdural, ventricle, trajectory, target, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic). There were 4 cases of symptomatic hemorrhage in the MER group (1%) and 3 cases in those without MER (1.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative MER did not increase the overall risk of hemorrhage in the authors’ experience using primarily a single MER trajectory and a guiding cannula.

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Analysis of risk factors for venous air embolism in the semisitting position and its impact on outcome in a consecutive series of 740 patients

Shadi Al-Afif, Hesham Elkayekh, Mazin Omer, Hans E. Heissler, Dirk Scheinichen, Thomas Palmaers, Makoto Nakamura, Elvis J. Hermann, Madjid Samii, and Joachim K. Krauss

OBJECTIVE

Routine use of the semisitting position, which offers several advantages, remains a matter of debate. Venous air embolism (VAE) is a potentially serious complication associated with the semisitting position. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the safety of the semisitting position by analyzing data over a 20-year period.

METHODS

The incidence of VAE and its perioperative management were analyzed retrospectively in a consecutive series of 740 patients who underwent surgery between 1996 and 2016. The occurrence of VAE was defined by detection of bubbles on transthoracic Doppler echocardiography (TTDE) or transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) studies, a decrease of end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) by 4 mm Hg or more, and/or an unexplained drop in systolic arterial blood pressure (≥ 10 mm Hg). From 1996 until 2013 TTDE was used, and from 2013 on TEE was used. The possible risk factors for VAE and its impact on surgical performance were analyzed.

RESULTS

There were 404 women and 336 men with a mean age at surgery of 49 years (range 1–87 years). Surgery was performed for infratentorial lesions in 709 patients (95.8%), supratentorial lesions in 17 (2.3%), and cervical lesions in 14 (1.9%). The most frequent pathology was vestibular schwannoma. TEE had a higher sensitivity than TTDE. While TEE detected VAE in 40.5% of patients, TTDE had a detection rate of 11.8%. Overall, VAE was detected in 119 patients (16.1%) intraoperatively. In all of these patients, VAE was apparent on TTDE or TEE. Of those, 23 patients also had a decrease of ETCO2, 18 had a drop in blood pressure, and 23 had combined decreases in ETCO2 and blood pressure. VAE was detected in 24% of patients during craniotomy before opening the dura mater, in 67% during tumor resection, and in 9% during wound closure. No risk factors were identified for the occurrence of VAE. Two patients had serious complications due to VAE. Surgical performance in vestibular schwannoma surgery was not affected by the presence of VAE.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows that the semisitting position is overall safe and that VAE can be managed effectively. Persistent morbidity is very rare. The authors suggest that the semisitting position should continue to have a place in the standard armamentarium of neurological surgery.

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Age and Outcome

Kathrin König, Hans E. Heissler, and E. Rickels

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Artificial elevation of brain tissue glycerol by administration of a glycerol-containing agent

Case report

Kathrin König, Eckhard Rickels, Hans E. Heissler, Matthias Zumkeller, and Madjid Samii

✓ In recent years the development of secondary brain damage and derangement of neurochemical parameters after severe head injury has been monitored using microdialysis. Provided the blood—brain barrier is intact, glycerol is regarded as a potential marker for membrane phospholipid degradation. The authors report a case in which marked elevation of interstitial glycerol was induced after exogenous administration of a glycerol-containing agent.

A 25-year-old man was injured in a motorcycle accident and was admitted to the authors' institution with a unilateral dilated and fixed pupil and a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3. Computerized tomography scans revealed a large subdural hematoma on the left side, subsequent midline shift, and generalized edema. Emergency craniotomy was performed for evacuation of the hematoma. The patient was prepared for multisensory monitoring and a microdialysis catheter was inserted into his left frontal lobe. After a routine enema containing 85% glycerol had been administered, the authors measured a marked increase in glycerol in the dialysate. This occurred while the patient was in as stable a condition as could be expected given the circumstances. The increase in interstitial glycerol in the injured tissue was most likely due to an impaired blood—brain barrier. Thus, the interstitial glycerol concentration had been corrupted by exogenous glycerol, and the marker properties of glycerol in this case became questionable. Consequently, administration of glycerol, which is frequently found in various infusions and emulsions, can promote secondary brain damage by adversely shifting osmotic gradients.