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Philipp Dammann, Adib A. Abla, Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, Hugo Andrade-Barazarte, Vladimir Benes, Marco Cenzato, E. Sander Connolly Jr., Jan F. Cornelius, William T. Couldwell, Rafael G. Sola, Santiago Gomez-Paz, Erik Hauck, Juha Hernesniemi, Juri Kivelev, Giuseppe Lanzino, R. Loch Macdonald, Jacques J. Morcos, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Hans-Jakob Steiger, Gary K. Steinberg, Alejandro N. Santos, Laurèl Rauschenbach, Marvin Darkwah Oppong, Börge Schmidt, Robert F. Spetzler, Karl Schaller, Michael T. Lawton, and Ulrich Sure

OBJECTIVE

Indication for surgery in brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) is based on many case series, few comparative studies, and no randomized controlled trials. The objective of this study was to seek consensus about surgical management aspects of BSCM.

METHODS

A total of 29 experts were invited to participate in a multistep Delphi consensus process on the surgical treatment of BSCM.

RESULTS

Twenty-two (76%) of 29 experts participated in the consensus. Qualitative analysis (content analysis) of an initial open-ended question survey resulted in 99 statements regarding surgical treatment of BSCM. By using a multistep survey with 100% participation in each round, consensus was reached on 52 (53%) of 99 statements. These were grouped into 4 categories: 1) definitions and reporting standards (7/14, 50%); 2) general and patient-related aspects (11/16, 69%); 3) anatomical-, timing of surgery–, and BSCM-related aspects (22/37, 59%); and 4) clinical situation–based decision-making (12/32, 38%). Among other things, a consensus was reached for surgical timing, handling of associated developmental venous anomalies, handling of postoperative BSCM remnants, assessment of specific anatomical BSCM localizations, and treatment decisions in typical clinical BSCM scenarios.

CONCLUSIONS

A summary of typical clinical scenarios and a catalog of various BSCM- and patient-related aspects that influence the surgical treatment decision have been defined, rated, and interpreted.

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Isaac Josh Abecassis, R. Michael Meyer, Michael R. Levitt, Jason P. Sheehan, Ching-Jen Chen, Bradley A. Gross, Ashley Lockerman, W. Christopher Fox, Waleed Brinjikji, Giuseppe Lanzino, Robert M. Starke, Stephanie H. Chen, Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, J. Marc C. van Dijk, Andrew Durnford, Diederik Bulters, Junichiro Satomi, Yoshiteru Tada, Amanda Kwasnicki, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, Edgar A. Samaniego, Minako Hayakawa, Colin P. Derdeyn, Ethan Winkler, Adib Abla, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Rose Du, Ridhima Guniganti, Akash P. Kansagra, Gregory J. Zipfel, and Louis J. Kim

OBJECTIVE

There is a reported elevated risk of cerebral aneurysms in patients with intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs). However, the natural history, rate of spontaneous regression, and ideal treatment regimen are not well characterized. In this study, the authors aimed to describe the characteristics of patients with dAVFs and intracranial aneurysms and propose a classification system.

METHODS

The Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) database from 12 centers was retrospectively reviewed. Analysis was performed to compare dAVF patients with (dAVF+ cohort) and without (dAVF-only cohort) concomitant aneurysm. Aneurysms were categorized based on location as a dAVF flow-related aneurysm (FRA) or a dAVF non–flow-related aneurysm (NFRA), with further classification as extra- or intradural. Patients with traumatic pseudoaneurysms or aneurysms with associated arteriovenous malformations were excluded from the analysis. Patient demographics, dAVF anatomical information, aneurysm information, and follow-up data were collected.

RESULTS

Of the 1077 patients, 1043 were eligible for inclusion, comprising 978 (93.8%) and 65 (6.2%) in the dAVF-only and dAVF+ cohorts, respectively. There were 96 aneurysms in the dAVF+ cohort; 10 patients (1%) harbored 12 FRAs, and 55 patients (5.3%) harbored 84 NFRAs. Dural AVF+ patients had higher rates of smoking (59.3% vs 35.2%, p < 0.001) and illicit drug use (5.8% vs 1.5%, p = 0.02). Sixteen dAVF+ patients (24.6%) presented with aneurysm rupture, which represented 16.7% of the total aneurysms. One patient (1.5%) had aneurysm rupture during follow-up. Patients with dAVF+ were more likely to have a dAVF located in nonconventional locations, less likely to have arterial supply to the dAVF from external carotid artery branches, and more likely to have supply from pial branches. Rates of cortical venous drainage and Borden type distributions were comparable between cohorts. A minority (12.5%) of aneurysms were FRAs. The majority of the aneurysms underwent treatment via either endovascular (36.5%) or microsurgical (15.6%) technique. A small proportion of aneurysms managed conservatively either with or without dAVF treatment spontaneously regressed (6.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with dAVF have a similar risk of harboring a concomitant intracranial aneurysm unrelated to the dAVF (5.3%) compared with the general population (approximately 2%–5%) and a rare risk (0.9%) of harboring an FRA. Only 50% of FRAs are intradural. Dural AVF+ patients have differences in dAVF angioarchitecture. A subset of dAVF+ patients harbor FRAs that may regress after dAVF treatment.

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Ridhima Guniganti, Enrico Giordan, Ching-Jen Chen, Isaac Josh Abecassis, Michael R. Levitt, Andrew Durnford, Jessica Smith, Edgar A. Samaniego, Colin P. Derdeyn, Amanda Kwasnicki, Ali Alaraj, Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, Samir Sur, Stephanie H. Chen, Yoshiteru Tada, Ethan Winkler, Ryan R. L. Phelps, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Rose Du, Adib Abla, Junichiro Satomi, Robert M. Starke, J. Marc C. van Dijk, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Minako Hayakawa, Bradley A. Gross, W. Christopher Fox, Diederik Bulters, Louis J. Kim, Jason Sheehan, Giuseppe Lanzino, Jay F. Piccirillo, Akash P. Kansagra, and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECTIVE

Cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) are rare lesions, hampering efforts to understand them and improve their care. To address this challenge, investigators with an established record of dAVF investigation formed an international, multicenter consortium aimed at better elucidating dAVF pathophysiology, imaging characteristics, natural history, and patient outcomes. This report describes the design of the Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) and includes characterization of the 1077-patient cohort.

METHODS

Potential collaborators with established interest in the field were identified via systematic review of the literature. To ensure uniformity of data collection, a quality control process was instituted. Data were retrospectively obtained.

RESULTS

CONDOR comprises 14 centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Japan that have pooled their data from 1077 dAVF patients seen between 1990 and 2017. The cohort includes 359 patients (33%) with Borden type I dAVFs, 175 (16%) with Borden type II fistulas, and 529 (49%) with Borden type III fistulas. Overall, 852 patients (79%) presented with fistula-related symptoms: 427 (40%) presented with nonaggressive symptoms such as tinnitus or orbital phenomena, 258 (24%) presented with intracranial hemorrhage, and 167 (16%) presented with nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits. A smaller proportion (224 patients, 21%), whose dAVFs were discovered incidentally, were asymptomatic. Many patients (85%, 911/1077) underwent treatment via endovascular embolization (55%, 587/1077), surgery (10%, 103/1077), radiosurgery (3%, 36/1077), or multimodal therapy (17%, 184/1077). The overall angiographic cure rate was 83% (758/911 treated), and treatment-related permanent neurological morbidity was 2% (27/1467 total procedures). The median time from diagnosis to follow-up was 380 days (IQR 120–1038.5 days).

CONCLUSIONS

With more than 1000 patients, the CONDOR registry represents the largest registry of cranial dAVF patient data in the world. These unique, well-annotated data will enable multiple future analyses to be performed to better understand dAVFs and their management.

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Edgar A. Samaniego, Jorge A. Roa, Minako Hayakawa, Ching-Jen Chen, Jason P. Sheehan, Louis J. Kim, Isaac Josh Abecassis, Michael R. Levitt, Ridhima Guniganti, Akash P. Kansagra, Giuseppe Lanzino, Enrico Giordan, Waleed Brinjikji, Diederik Bulters, Andrew Durnford, W. Christopher Fox, Adam J. Polifka, Bradley A. Gross, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, Amanda Kwasnicki, Robert M. Starke, Samir Sur, J. Marc C. van Dijk, Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, Junichiro Satomi, Yoshiteru Tada, Adib Abla, Ethan Winkler, Rose Du, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Gregory J. Zipfel, and Colin P. Derdeyn

OBJECTIVE

Current evidence suggests that intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) without cortical venous drainage (CVD) have a benign clinical course. However, no large study has evaluated the safety and efficacy of current treatments and their impact over the natural history of dAVFs without CVD.

METHODS

The authors conducted an analysis of the retrospectively collected multicenter Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) database. Patient demographics and presenting symptoms, angiographic features of the dAVFs, and treatment outcomes of patients with Borden type I dAVFs were reviewed. Clinical and radiological follow-up information was assessed to determine rates of new intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit (NHND), worsening of venous hyperdynamic symptoms (VHSs), angiographic recurrence, and progression or spontaneous regression of dAVFs over time.

RESULTS

A total of 342 patients/Borden type I dAVFs were identified. The mean patient age was 58.1 ± 15.6 years, and 62% were women. The mean follow-up time was 37.7 ± 54.3 months. Of 230 (67.3%) treated dAVFs, 178 (77%) underwent mainly endovascular embolization, 11 (4.7%) radiosurgery alone, and 4 (1.7%) open surgery as the primary modality. After the first embolization, most dAVFs (47.2%) achieved only partial reduction in early venous filling. Multiple complementary interventions increased complete obliteration rates from 37.9% after first embolization to 46.7% after two or more embolizations, and 55.2% after combined radiosurgery and open surgery. Immediate postprocedural complications occurred in 35 dAVFs (15.2%) and 6 (2.6%) with permanent sequelae. Of 127 completely obliterated dAVFs by any therapeutic modality, 2 (1.6%) showed angiographic recurrence/recanalization at a mean of 34.2 months after treatment. Progression to Borden-Shucart type II or III was documented in 2.2% of patients and subsequent development of a new dAVF in 1.6%. Partial spontaneous regression was found in 22 (21.4%) of 103 nontreated dAVFs. Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that older age, NHND, or severe venous-hyperdynamic symptoms at presentation and infratentorial location were associated with worse prognosis. Kaplan-Meier curves showed no significant difference for stable/improved symptoms survival probability in treated versus nontreated dAVFs. However, estimated survival times showed better trends for treated dAVFs compared with nontreated dAVFs (288.1 months vs 151.1 months, log-rank p = 0.28). This difference was statistically significant for treated dAVFs with 100% occlusion (394 months, log-rank p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Current therapeutic modalities for management of dAVFs without CVD may provide better symptom control when complete angiographic occlusion is achieved.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Thomas J. Buell, Dale Ding, Ridhima Guniganti, Akash P. Kansagra, Giuseppe Lanzino, Enrico Giordan, Louis J. Kim, Michael R. Levitt, Isaac Josh Abecassis, Diederik Bulters, Andrew Durnford, W. Christopher Fox, Adam J. Polifka, Bradley A. Gross, Minako Hayakawa, Colin P. Derdeyn, Edgar A. Samaniego, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, Amanda Kwasnicki, J. Marc C. van Dijk, Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, Robert M. Starke, Samir Sur, Junichiro Satomi, Yoshiteru Tada, Adib A. Abla, Ethan A. Winkler, Rose Du, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Gregory J. Zipfel, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

The risk-to-benefit profile of treating an unruptured high-grade dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) is not clearly defined. The aim of this multicenter retrospective cohort study was to compare the outcomes of different interventions with observation for unruptured high-grade dAVFs.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed dAVF patients from 12 institutions participating in the Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR). Patients with unruptured high-grade (Borden type II or III) dAVFs were included and categorized into four groups (observation, embolization, surgery, and stereotactic radiosurgery [SRS]) based on the initial management. The primary outcome was defined as the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at final follow-up. Secondary outcomes were good outcome (mRS scores 0–2) at final follow-up, symptomatic improvement, all-cause mortality, and dAVF obliteration. The outcomes of each intervention group were compared against those of the observation group as a reference, with adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics.

RESULTS

The study included 415 dAVF patients, accounting for 29, 324, 43, and 19 in the observation, embolization, surgery, and SRS groups, respectively. The mean radiological and clinical follow-up durations were 21 and 25 months, respectively. Functional outcomes were similar for embolization, surgery, and SRS compared with observation. With observation as a reference, obliteration rates were higher after embolization (adjusted OR [aOR] 7.147, p = 0.010) and surgery (aOR 33.803, p < 0.001) and all-cause mortality was lower after embolization (imputed, aOR 0.171, p = 0.040). Hemorrhage rates per 1000 patient-years were 101 for observation versus 9, 22, and 0 for embolization (p = 0.022), surgery (p = 0.245), and SRS (p = 0.077), respectively. Nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit rates were similar between each intervention group versus observation.

CONCLUSIONS

Embolization and surgery for unruptured high-grade dAVFs afforded a greater likelihood of obliteration than did observation. Embolization also reduced the risk of death and dAVF-associated hemorrhage compared with conservative management over a modest follow-up period. These findings support embolization as the first-line treatment of choice for appropriately selected unruptured Borden type II and III dAVFs.

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Isaac Josh Abecassis, R. Michael Meyer, Michael R. Levitt, Jason P. Sheehan, Ching-Jen Chen, Bradley A. Gross, Jessica Smith, W. Christopher Fox, Enrico Giordan, Giuseppe Lanzino, Robert M. Starke, Samir Sur, Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, J. Marc C. van Dijk, Andrew Durnford, Diederik Bulters, Junichiro Satomi, Yoshiteru Tada, Amanda Kwasnicki, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, Edgar A. Samaniego, Minako Hayakawa, Colin P. Derdeyn, Ethan Winkler, Adib Abla, Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Rose Du, Ridhima Guniganti, Akash P. Kansagra, Gregory J. Zipfel, and Louis J. Kim

OBJECTIVE

Cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) are often treated with endovascular therapy, but occasionally a multimodality approach including surgery and/or radiosurgery is utilized. Recurrence after an initial angiographic cure has been reported, with estimated rates ranging from 2% to 14.3%, but few risk factors have been identified. The objective of this study was to identify risk factors associated with recurrence of dAVF after putative cure.

METHODS

The Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) data were retrospectively reviewed. All patients with angiographic cure after treatment and subsequent angiographic follow-up were included. The primary outcome was recurrence, with risk factor analysis. Secondary outcomes included clinical outcomes, morbidity, and mortality associated with recurrence. Risk factor analysis was performed comparing the group of patients who experienced recurrence with those with durable cure (regardless of multiple recurrences). Time-to-event analysis was performed using all collective recurrence events (multiple per patients in some cases).

RESULTS

Of the 1077 patients included in the primary CONDOR data set, 457 met inclusion criteria. A total of 32 patients (7%) experienced 34 events of recurrence at a mean of 368.7 days (median 192 days). The recurrence rate was 4.5% overall. Kaplan-Meier analysis predicted long-term recurrence rates approaching 11% at 3 years. Grade III dAVFs treated with endovascular therapy were statistically significantly more likely to experience recurrence than those treated surgically (13.3% vs 0%, p = 0.0001). Tentorial location, cortical venous drainage, and deep cerebral venous drainage were all risk factors for recurrence. Endovascular intervention and radiosurgery were associated with recurrence. Six recurrences were symptomatic, including 2 with hemorrhage, 3 with nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit, and 1 with progressive flow-related symptoms (decreased vision).

CONCLUSIONS

Recurrence of dAVFs after putative cure can occur after endovascular treatment. Risk factors include tentorial location, cortical venous drainage, and deep cerebral drainage. Multimodality therapy can be used to achieve cure after recurrence. A delayed long-term angiographic evaluation (at least 1 year from cure) may be warranted, especially in cases with risk factors for recurrence.

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Edward R. Smith, Giuseppe Lanzino, Gary K. Steinberg, and Bin Xu

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Deena M. Nasr, Kelly D. Flemming, Giuseppe Lanzino, and Waleed Brinjikji

OBJECTIVE

Symptomatic nonsaccular vertebrobasilar aneurysms (NSVBAs) are associated with high rates of aneurysm-related death. Anecdotal evidence suggests that brainstem infarction may be a harbinger of aneurysm rupture. The authors aimed to investigate the association between brainstem infarction and subsequent NSVBA rupture.

METHODS

The clinical records and radiographic imaging studies of patients presenting to the authors’ institution between 1996 and 2019 for evaluation and management of an NSVBA were retrospectively reviewed to determine the effect of perforating artery infarction on the natural history of NSVBAs. Kaplan-Meier curves for patients with and patients without perforator infarction were constructed, and predictors of aneurysm rupture were identified using a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS

There were 98 patients with 591.3 person-years of follow-up who met the inclusion criteria for analysis. There were 20 patients who experienced perforator infarction during follow-up. Ten patients (10.2%) experienced aneurysm rupture during follow-up and 26 patients (26.5%) died due to aneurysm-related complications, with annual rates of rupture and aneurysm-related death of 1.7% and 4.4%, respectively. Five patients with a perforator infarction later experienced aneurysm rupture, with a median time between infarction and rupture of 3 months (range 0–35 months). On multivariate analysis, the presence of intraaneurysmal thrombus (risk ratio [RR] 4.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–14.44, p = 0.033) and perforator infarction (RR 6.37, 95% CI 1.07–37.95, p = 0.042) were independently associated with risk of aneurysm rupture.

CONCLUSIONS

NSVBAs continue to be extremely challenging clinical entities with a poor prognosis. These results suggest that brainstem infarction due to perforating artery occlusion may be a harbinger of near-term aneurysm rupture.

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Enrico Giordan, Christopher S. Graffeo, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Robert D. Brown Jr., Walter A. Rocca, Alanna M. Chamberlain, and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

Recent population-based and hospital cohort studies have reported a decreasing incidence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) and declining aSAH-associated case-fatality rates. Principal drivers of these trends are debated, but improvements in smoking cessation and hypertension control may be critical factors.

METHODS

The population-based medical records linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiological Project was used to document aSAH incidence and 30-day case fatality rates during a 20-year study period (1996–2016) in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Incidence rates in the study period were compared with data from a previous Olmsted County study concerning aSAH incidence from 1965 to 1995 and with regional trends in tobacco use.

RESULTS

One hundred nineteen incident cases of aSAH were included. The median age at hemorrhage was 59 years (range 16–94 years), and 74 patients were female (62.2%). The overall average annual aSAH incidence rate was 4.2/100,000 person-years (P-Y). The aSAH incidence rate decreased from 5.7/100,000 in 1996 to 3.5/100,000 P-Y in 2011–2016. The overall aSAH-associated 30-day case-fatality rate was 21.9% and declined by approximately 0.5% annually. An accelerated decline in the fatality rate (0.9%/year) was observed from 2006–2016. Smoking among adult Olmsted County residents decreased from 20.4% in 2000 to 9.1% in 2018.

CONCLUSIONS

A decline in the incidence of aSAH and 30-day case-fatality rate from 1996 to 2016 was observed, as well as an accelerated decline of the fatality rate from 2006 to 2016. These findings confirm and extend the trends reported by prior studies in the same population. The decrease in aSAH in the years studied paralleled a noticeable reduction in the population smoking rates.

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Waleed Brinjikji, Elisa Colombo, and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

Vascular malformations of the cervical spine are exceedingly rare. To date there have been no large case series describing the clinical presentation and angioarchitectural characteristics of cervical spine vascular malformations. The authors report their institutional case series on cervical spine vascular malformations diagnosed and treated at their institution.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients with spinal vascular malformations from their institution from January 2001 to December 2018. Patients with vascular malformations of the cervical spine were included. Lesions were characterized by their angioarchitectural characteristics by an interventional neuroradiologist and endovascular neurosurgeon. Data were collected on clinical presentation, imaging findings, treatment outcomes, and long-term follow-up. Descriptive statistics are reported.

RESULTS

Of a total of 213 patients with spinal vascular malformations, 27 (12.7%) had vascular malformations in the cervical spine. The mean patient age was 46.1 ± 21.9 years and 16 (59.3%) were male. The most common presentations were lower-extremity weakness (13 patients, 48.1%), tetraparesis (8 patients, 29.6%), and lower-extremity sensory dysfunction (7 patients, 25.9%). Nine patients (33.3%) presented with hemorrhage. Fifteen patients (55.6%) had modified Rankin Scale scores of 0–2 at the time of diagnosis. Regarding angioarchitectural characteristics, 8 patients (29.6%) had intramedullary arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), 5 (18.5%) had epidural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), 4 (14.8%) had paraspinal fistulas, 4 (14.8%) had mixed epidural/intradural fistulas, 3 (11.1%) had perimedullary AVMs, 2 (7.4%) had dural fistulas, and 1 patient (3.7%) had a perimedullary AVF.

CONCLUSIONS

This retrospective study of 27 patients with cervical spine vascular malformations is the largest series to date on these lesions. The authors found substantial angioarchitectural heterogeneity with the most common types being intramedullary AVMs followed by epidural AVFs, paraspinal fistulas, and mixed intradural/extradural fistulas. Angioarchitecture dictated the clinical presentation as intradural shunts were more likely to present with hemorrhage and acute onset myelopathy, while dural and extradural shunts presented as either incidental lesions or gradually progressive congestive myelopathy.