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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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Michael L. Martini, Sean N. Neifert, William H. Shuman, Emily K. Chapman, Alexander J. Schüpper, Eric K. Oermann, J Mocco, Michael Todd, James C. Torner, Andrew Molyneux, Stephan Mayer, Peter Le Roux, Mervyn D. I. Vergouwen, Gabriel J. E. Rinkel, George K. C. Wong, Peter Kirkpatrick, Audrey Quinn, Daniel Hänggi, Nima Etminan, Walter M. van den Bergh, Blessing N. R. Jaja, Michael Cusimano, Tom A. Schweizer, Jose I. Suarez, Hitoshi Fukuda, Sen Yamagata, Benjamin Lo, Airton Leonardo de Oliveira Manoel, Hieronymus D. Boogaarts, R. Loch Macdonald, and on behalf of the SAHIT Collaboration

OBJECTIVE

Rescue therapies have been recommended for patients with angiographic vasospasm (aVSP) and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). However, there is little evidence from randomized clinical trials that these therapies are safe and effective. The primary aim of this study was to apply game theory–based methods in explainable machine learning (ML) and propensity score matching to determine if rescue therapy was associated with better 3-month outcomes following post-SAH aVSP and DCI. The authors also sought to use these explainable ML methods to identify patient populations that were more likely to receive rescue therapy and factors associated with better outcomes after rescue therapy.

METHODS

Data for patients with aVSP or DCI after SAH were obtained from 8 clinical trials and 1 observational study in the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage International Trialists repository. Gradient boosting ML models were constructed for each patient to predict the probability of receiving rescue therapy and the 3-month Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score. Favorable outcome was defined as a 3-month GOS score of 4 or 5. Shapley Additive Explanation (SHAP) values were calculated for each patient-derived model to quantify feature importance and interaction effects. Variables with high SHAP importance in predicting rescue therapy administration were used in a propensity score–matched analysis of rescue therapy and 3-month GOS scores.

RESULTS

The authors identified 1532 patients with aVSP or DCI. Predictive, explainable ML models revealed that aneurysm characteristics and neurological complications, but not admission neurological scores, carried the highest relative importance rankings in predicting whether rescue therapy was administered. Younger age and absence of cerebral ischemia/infarction were invariably linked to better rescue outcomes, whereas the other important predictors of outcome varied by rescue type (interventional or noninterventional). In a propensity score–matched analysis guided by SHAP-based variable selection, rescue therapy was associated with higher odds of 3-month GOS scores of 4–5 (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.22–2.17).

CONCLUSIONS

Rescue therapy may increase the odds of good outcome in patients with aVSP or DCI after SAH. Given the strong association between cerebral ischemia/infarction and poor outcome, trials focusing on preventative or therapeutic interventions in these patients may be most able to demonstrate improvements in clinical outcomes. Insights developed from these models may be helpful for improving patient selection and trial design.

Open access

Ofer Sadan, Hannah Waddel, Reneé Moore, Chen Feng, Yajun Mei, David Pearce, Jacqueline Kraft, Cederic Pimentel, Subin Mathew, Feras Akbik, Pouya Ameli, Alexis Taylor, Lisa Danyluk, Kathleen S. Martin, Krista Garner, Jennifer Kolenda, Amit Pujari, William Asbury, Blessing N. R. Jaja, R. Loch Macdonald, C. Michael Cawley, Daniel L. Barrow, and Owen Samuels

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) contribute to poor outcome following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). With the paucity of effective treatments, the authors describe their experience with intrathecal (IT) nicardipine for this indication.

METHODS

Patients admitted to the Emory University Hospital neuroscience ICU between 2012 and 2017 with nontraumatic SAH, either aneurysmal or idiopathic, were included in the analysis. Using a propensity-score model, this patient cohort was compared to patients in the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage International Trialists (SAHIT) repository who did not receive IT nicardipine. The primary outcome was DCI. Secondary outcomes were long-term functional outcome and adverse events.

RESULTS

The analysis included 1351 patients, 422 of whom were diagnosed with cerebral vasospasm and treated with IT nicardipine. When compared with patients with no vasospasm (n = 859), the treated group was significantly younger (mean age 51.1 ± 12.4 years vs 56.7 ± 14.1 years, p < 0.001), had a higher World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies score and modified Fisher grade, and were more likely to undergo clipping of the ruptured aneurysm as compared to endovascular treatment (30.3% vs 11.3%, p < 0.001). Treatment with IT nicardipine decreased the daily mean transcranial Doppler velocities in 77.3% of the treated patients. When compared to patients not receiving IT nicardipine, treatment was not associated with an increased rate of bacterial ventriculitis (3.1% vs 2.7%, p > 0.1), yet higher rates of ventriculoperitoneal shunting were noted (19.9% vs 8.8%, p < 0.01). In a propensity score comparison to the SAHIT database, the odds ratio (OR) to develop DCI with IT nicardipine treatment was 0.61 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.44–0.84), and the OR to have a favorable functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≤ 2) was 2.17 (95% CI 1.61–2.91).

CONCLUSIONS

IT nicardipine was associated with improved outcome and reduced DCI compared with propensity-matched controls. There was an increased need for permanent CSF diversion but no other safety issues. These data should be considered when selecting medications and treatments to study in future randomized controlled clinical trials for SAH.

Open access

E. François Aldrich, Randall Higashida, Abdel Hmissi, Elizabeth J. Le, R. Loch Macdonald, Angelina Marr, Stephan A. Mayer, Sébastien Roux, and Nicolas Bruder

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The presence of thick, diffuse subarachnoid blood may portend a worse clinical course and outcome, independently of other known prognostic factors such as age, aneurysm size, and initial clinical grade.

METHODS

In this post hoc analysis, patients with aSAH undergoing surgical clipping (n = 383) or endovascular coiling (n = 189) were pooled from the placebo arms of the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS)–2 and CONSCIOUS-3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 studies, respectively. Patients without and with thick, diffuse SAH (≥ 4 mm thick and involving ≥ 3 basal cisterns) on admission CT scans were compared. Clot size was centrally adjudicated. All-cause mortality and vasospasm-related morbidity at 6 weeks and Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOSE) scores at 12 weeks after aSAH were assessed. The effect of the thick and diffuse cisternal aSAH on vasospasm-related morbidity and mortality, and on poor clinical outcome at 12 weeks, was evaluated using logistic regression models.

RESULTS

Overall, 294 patients (51.4%) had thick and diffuse aSAH. Compared to patients with less hemorrhage burden, these patients were older (median age 55 vs 50 years) and more often had World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) grade III–V SAH at admission (24.1% vs 16.5%). At 6 weeks, all-cause mortality and vasospasm-related morbidity occurred in 36.1% (95% CI 30.6%–41.8%) of patients with thick, diffuse SAH and in 14.7% (95% CI 10.8%–19.5%) of those without thick, diffuse SAH. Individual event rates were 7.5% versus 2.5% for all-cause death, 19.4% versus 6.8% for new cerebral infarct, 28.2% versus 9.4% for delayed ischemic neurological deficit, and 24.8% versus 10.8% for rescue therapy due to cerebral vasospasm, respectively. Poor clinical outcome (GOSE score ≥ 4) was observed in 32.7% (95% CI 27.3%–38.3%) and 16.2% (95% CI 12.1%–21.1%) of patients with and without thick, diffuse SAH, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In a large, centrally adjudicated population of patients with aSAH, WFNS grade at admission and thick, diffuse SAH independently predicted vasospasm-related morbidity and poor 12-week clinical outcome. Patients with thick, diffuse cisternal SAH may be an important cohort to target in future clinical trials of treatment for vasospasm.

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R. Loch Macdonald, Daniel Hänggi, Poul Strange, Hans Jakob Steiger, J Mocco, Michael Miller, Stephan A. Mayer, Brian L. Hoh, Herbert J. Faleck, Nima Etminan, Michael N. Diringer, Andrew P. Carlson, Francois Aldrich, and the NEWTON Investigators

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to measure the concentration of nimodipine in CSF and plasma after intraventricular injection of a sustained-release formulation of nimodipine (EG-1962) in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS

Patients with SAH repaired by clip placement or coil embolization were randomized to EG-1962 or oral nimodipine. Patients were classified as grade 2–4 on the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grading scale for SAH and had an external ventricular drain inserted as part of their standard of care. Cohorts of 12 patients received 100–1200 mg of EG-1962 as a single intraventricular injection (9 per cohort) or they remained on oral nimodipine (3 per cohort). Plasma and CSF were collected from each patient for measurement of nimodipine concentrations and calculation of maximum plasma and CSF concentration, area under the concentration-time curve from day 0 to 14, and steady-state concentration.

RESULTS

Fifty-four patients in North America were randomized to EG-1962 and 18 to oral nimodipine. Plasma concentrations increased with escalating doses of EG-1962, remained stable for 14 to 21 days, and were detectable at day 30. Plasma concentrations in the oral nimodipine group were more variable than for EG-1962 and were approximately equal to those occurring at the EG-1962 800-mg dose. CSF concentrations of nimodipine in the EG-1962 groups were 2–3 orders of magnitude higher than in the oral nimodipine group, in which nimodipine was only detected at low concentrations in 10% (21/213) of samples. In the EG-1962 groups, CSF nimodipine concentrations were 1000 times higher than plasma concentrations.

CONCLUSIONS

Plasma concentrations of nimodipine similar to those achieved with oral nimodipine and lasting for 21 days could be achieved after a single intraventricular injection of EG-1962. The CSF concentrations from EG-1962, however, were at least 2 orders of magnitude higher than those with oral nimodipine. These results supported a phase 3 study that demonstrated a favorable safety profile for EG-1962 but yielded inconclusive efficacy results due to notable differences in clinical outcome based on baseline disease severity.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01893190 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Simone A. Dijkland, Blessing N. R. Jaja, Mathieu van der Jagt, Bob Roozenbeek, Mervyn D. I. Vergouwen, Jose I. Suarez, James C. Torner, Michael M. Todd, Walter M. van den Bergh, Gustavo Saposnik, Daniel W. Zumofen, Michael D. Cusimano, Stephan A. Mayer, Benjamin W. Y. Lo, Ewout W. Steyerberg, Diederik W. J. Dippel, Tom A. Schweizer, R. Loch Macdonald, and Hester F. Lingsma

OBJECTIVE

Differences in clinical outcomes between centers and countries may reflect variation in patient characteristics, diagnostic and therapeutic policies, or quality of care. The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence and magnitude of between-center and between-country differences in outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).

METHODS

The authors analyzed data from 5972 aSAH patients enrolled in randomized clinical trials of 3 different treatments from the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage International Trialists (SAHIT) repository, including data from 179 centers and 20 countries. They used random effects logistic regression adjusted for patient characteristics and timing of aneurysm treatment to estimate between-center and between-country differences in unfavorable outcome, defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 1–3 (severe disability, vegetative state, or death) or modified Rankin Scale score of 4–6 (moderately severe disability, severe disability, or death) at 3 months. Between-center and between-country differences were quantified with the median odds ratio (MOR), which can be interpreted as the ratio of odds of unfavorable outcome between a typical high-risk and a typical low-risk center or country.

RESULTS

The proportion of patients with unfavorable outcome was 27% (n = 1599). The authors found substantial between-center differences (MOR 1.26, 95% CI 1.16–1.52), which could not be explained by patient characteristics and timing of aneurysm treatment (adjusted MOR 1.21, 95% CI 1.11–1.44). They observed no between-country differences (adjusted MOR 1.13, 95% CI 1.00–1.40).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes after aSAH differ between centers. These differences could not be explained by patient characteristics or timing of aneurysm treatment. Further research is needed to confirm the presence of differences in outcome after aSAH between hospitals in more recent data and to investigate potential causes.

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Matthew E. Eagles, Maria F. Powell, Oliver G. S. Ayling, Michael K. Tso, and R. Loch Macdonald

OBJECTIVE

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with death in critically ill patients, but this complication has not been well characterized after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of AKI after aSAH and to identify risk factors for renal dysfunction. Secondary objectives were to examine what effect AKI has on patient mortality and functional outcome at 12 weeks post-aSAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a post hoc analysis of the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS-1) trial data set (clinical trial registration no.: NCT00111085, https://clinicaltrials.gov). The primary outcome of interest was the development of AKI, which was defined according to the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) guidelines. Secondary outcomes of interest were death and a modified Rankin Scale score greater than 2 at 12 weeks post-aSAH. Propensity score matching was used to assess for a significant treatment effect related to clazosentan administration and AKI. Univariate analysis, locally weighted scatterplot smoothing (LOWESS) curves, and stepwise logistic regression models were used to evaluate for associations between baseline or disease-related characteristics and study outcomes.

RESULTS

One hundred fifty-six (38%) of the 413 patients enrolled in the CONSCIOUS-1 trial developed AKI during their ICU stay. A history of hypertension (p < 0.001) and the number of nephrotoxic medications administered (p = 0.029) were independent predictors of AKI on multivariate analysis. AKI was an independent predictor of death (p = 0.028) but not a poor functional outcome (p = 0.21) on multivariate testing. Unresolved renal dysfunction was the strongest independent predictor of death in this cohort (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

AKI is a common complication following aSAH. Patients with premorbid hypertension and those treated with nephrotoxic medications may be at greater risk for renal dysfunction. AKI appears to confer an increased probability of death after aSAH.

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Mirriam Mikhail, Oliver G. S. Ayling, Matthew E. Eagles, George M. Ibrahim, and R. Loch Macdonald

OBJECTIVE

Higher mortality has been reported with weekend or after-hours patient admission across a wide range of surgical and medical specialties, a phenomenon termed the “weekend effect.” The authors evaluated whether weekend admission contributed to death and long-term neurological outcome in patients following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

METHODS

A post hoc analysis of the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS-1) study was conducted. Univariable and stepwise multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the associations between weekend admission and mortality and long-term neurological outcome.

RESULTS

Of 413 subjects included in the CONSCIOUS-1 study, 140 patients had been admitted during the weekend. A significant interaction was identified between weekend admission and neurological grade on presentation, suggesting that the outcomes of patients who had initially presented with a poor grade were disproportionately influenced by the weekend admission. On stepwise multivariable logistic regression in the subgroup of patients who had presented with a poor neurological grade (29 of 100 patients), admission on the weekend was found to be independently associated with death (OR 6.59, 95% CI 1.62–26.88, p = 0.009). Weekend admission was not associated with long-term neurological outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Weekend admission was an independent risk factor for death within 12 weeks following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in patients presenting with a poor neurological grade. Further work is required to identify and mitigate any mediating factors.

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R. Loch Macdonald

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Matthew E. Eagles, Michael K. Tso, and R. Loch Macdonald

OBJECTIVE

Fluctuations in patient serum sodium levels are common after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), but their effect on patient outcome is not well described in the literature. The goal of this work was to better characterize the relationship between fluctuations in serum sodium levels, outcome, and the development of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after aSAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a post hoc analysis of data from the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS-1) trial. Patients had their serum sodium values recorded daily for 14 days post-aSAH. Average and average absolute daily differences in sodium levels were calculated for each patient based on 3 reference points: admission sodium levels, a normal sodium level (defined as 140 mmol/L), and the previous day’s sodium level. These variables were also calculated for the classic “vasospasm window” (days 3–12) post-aSAH. A stepwise logistic regression model, locally weighted scatterplot smoothing curves, and receiver operator characteristic curve analysis were used to evaluate the relationship between alterations in serum sodium levels and clinical outcome or the development of DCI after aSAH. Poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of > 2 at 3 months.

RESULTS

The average daily difference in sodium values from baseline (p < 0.001), average daily difference from a normal sodium level (p < 0.001), average absolute daily difference from a normal sodium level (p = 0.015), and average absolute daily difference from the previous day’s sodium level (p = 0.017) were significant predictors of poor outcome in a stepwise multivariate regression model. There was a trend toward significance for average absolute daily difference from admission sodium levels during the vasospasm window as an independent predictor of DCI (p = 0.052). There was no difference in the predictive capacity for DCI when sodium fluctuations from post-aSAH days 1–14 were compared with those from the classic vasospasm window (days 3–12).

CONCLUSIONS

Fluctuations in serum sodium levels may play a role in clinical outcome and the development of DCI after aSAH. The timing of these fluctuations appears to have no significant effect on the development of DCI.