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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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Joseph H. Garcia, Ethan A. Winkler, Ramin A. Morshed, Alex Lu, Simon G. Ammanuel, Satvir Saggi, Elaina J. Wang, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel L. Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Children with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) can present with seizures, potentially increasing morbidity and impacting clinical management. However, the factors that lead to seizures as a presenting sign are not well defined. While AVM-related seizures have been described in case series, most studies have focused on adults and have included patients who developed seizures after an AVM rupture. To address this, the authors sought to analyze demographic and morphological characteristics of AVMs in a large cohort of children.

METHODS

The demographic, clinical, and AVM morphological characteristics of 189 pediatric patients from a single-center database were studied. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to test the effect of these characteristics on seizures as an initial presenting symptom in patients with unruptured brain AVMs.

RESULTS

Overall, 28 of 189 patients initially presented with seizures (14.8%). By univariate comparison, frontal lobe location (p = 0.02), larger AVM size (p = 0.003), older patient age (p = 0.04), and the Supplemented Spetzler-Martin (Supp-SM) grade (0.0006) were associated with seizure presentation. Multivariate analysis confirmed an independent effect of frontal lobe AVM location and higher Supp-SM grade. All patients presenting with seizures had AVMs in the cortex or subcortical white matter.

CONCLUSIONS

While children and adults share some risk factors for seizure presentation, their risk factor profiles do not entirely overlap. Pediatric patients with cortical AVMs in the frontal lobe were more likely to present with seizures. Additionally, the Supp-SM grade was highly associated with seizure presentation. Future clinical research should focus on the effect of therapeutic interventions targeting AVMs on seizure control in these patients.

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Joseph H. Garcia, Ramin A. Morshed, Ethan A. Winkler, Yi Li, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Caleb Rutledge, Angad S. Beniwal, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, Nalin Gupta, and Steven W. Hetts

OBJECTIVE

Moyamoya is a progressive arteriopathy that predisposes patients to stroke due to stenosis of the intracranial internal carotid arteries and their proximal branches. Despite the morbidity caused by this condition, the ability to accurately predict prognosis for individual patients remains challenging. The goal of this study was to develop a systematic scoring method based on parenchymal findings on preoperative brain MRI to predict long-term outcomes for surgically treated pediatric patients with moyamoya.

METHODS

A retrospective surgical cohort of pediatric patients (≤ 18 years of age at the time of the initial surgery) with moyamoya from a single center were studied. Radiological variables with existing correlations between outcomes in moyamoya or other vascular diseases were chosen to score preoperative MRI based on easily defined parenchymal findings that could be rapidly assessed and used to make a numeric score. Calculated scores were correlated with clinical outcome measures using the Pearson correlation coefficient and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC).

RESULTS

A total of 35 children with moyamoya disease or moyamoya syndrome were included in the study, with a median follow-up time of 2.6 years from the time of surgery. The pediatric moyamoya MRI score (PMMS) consists of ischemic changes (0–2; 0 = none, 1 = focal, 2 = diffuse), encephalomalacia (0–2; 0 = none, 1 = focal, 2 = diffuse), and hemorrhage (0–1; 0 = not present, 1 = present). PMMSs were highly correlated with pediatric modified Rankin Scale scores at the last follow-up (r = 0.7, 95% CI 0.44–0.84; p < 0.001) as a six-point scale, and when dichotomized (AUROC = 0.85).

CONCLUSIONS

The PMMS was found to be a simple tool based on preoperative MRI data that could be quickly and easily calculated and correlated with disability. This scoring method may aid future development of predictive models of outcomes for children with moyamoya disease and moyamoya syndrome.

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Sen Gao, Jeffrey Nelson, Shantel Weinsheimer, Ethan A. Winkler, Caleb Rutledge, Adib A. Abla, Nalin Gupta, Joseph T. Shieh, Daniel L. Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Tarik Tihan, Christopher P. Hess, Nerissa Ko, Brian P. Walcott, Charles E. McCulloch, Michael T. Lawton, Hua Su, Ludmila Pawlikowska, and Helen Kim

OBJECTIVE

Sporadic brain arteriovenous malformation (BAVM) is a tangled vascular lesion characterized by direct artery-to-vein connections that can cause life-threatening intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Recently, somatic mutations in KRAS have been reported in sporadic BAVM, and mutations in other mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway genes have been identified in other vascular malformations. The objectives of this study were to systematically evaluate somatic mutations in MAPK pathway genes in patients with sporadic BAVM lesions and to evaluate the association of somatic mutations with phenotypes of sporadic BAVM severity.

METHODS

The authors performed whole-exome sequencing on paired lesion and blood DNA samples from 14 patients with sporadic BAVM, and 295 genes in the MAPK signaling pathway were evaluated to identify genes with somatic mutations in multiple patients with BAVM. Digital droplet polymerase chain reaction was used to validate KRAS G12V and G12D mutations and to assay an additional 56 BAVM samples.

RESULTS

The authors identified a total of 24 candidate BAVM-associated somatic variants in 11 MAPK pathway genes. The previously identified KRAS G12V and G12D mutations were the only recurrent mutations. Overall, somatic KRAS G12V was present in 14.5% of BAVM lesions and G12D was present in 31.9%. The authors did not detect a significant association between the presence or allelic burden of KRAS mutation and three BAVM phenotypes: lesion size (maximum diameter), age at diagnosis, and age at ICH.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors confirmed the high prevalence of somatic KRAS mutations in sporadic BAVM lesions and identified several candidate somatic variants in other MAPK pathway genes. These somatic variants may contribute to understanding of the etiology of sporadic BAVM and the clinical characteristics of patients with this condition.

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Simon G. Ammanuel, Caleb S. Edwards, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joseph Kidane, Enrique Vargas, Sarah D’Souza, Amy D. Nichols, Sujatha Sankaran, Adib A. Abla, Manish K. Aghi, Edward F. Chang, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Sandeep Kunwar, Paul S. Larson, Michael T. Lawton, Philip A. Starr, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Mitchel S. Berger, and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a complication linked to increased costs and length of hospital stay. Prevention of SSI is important to reduce its burden on individual patients and the healthcare system. The authors aimed to assess the efficacy of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers on SSI rates following cranial surgery.

METHODS

In November 2013, a preoperative CHG shower protocol was implemented at the authors’ institution. A total of 3126 surgical procedures were analyzed, encompassing a time frame from April 2012 to April 2016. Cohorts before and after implementation of the CHG shower protocol were evaluated for differences in SSI rates.

RESULTS

The overall SSI rate was 0.6%. No significant differences (p = 0.11) were observed between the rate of SSI of the 892 patients in the preimplementation cohort (0.2%) and that of the 2234 patients in the postimplementation cohort (0.8%). Following multivariable analysis, implementation of preoperative CHG showers was not associated with decreased SSI (adjusted OR 2.96, 95% CI 0.67–13.1; p = 0.15).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study, according to sample size, to examine the association between CHG showers and SSI following craniotomy. CHG showers did not significantly alter the risk of SSI after a cranial procedure.

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Ethan A. Winkler, Alex Lu, Ramin A. Morshed, John K. Yue, W. Caleb Rutledge, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Arati B. Patel, Simon G. Ammanuel, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) consist of dysplastic blood vessels with direct arteriovenous shunts that can hemorrhage spontaneously. In children, a higher lifetime hemorrhage risk must be balanced with treatment-related morbidity. The authors describe a collaborative, multimodal strategy resulting in effective and safe treatment of pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was performed in children with treated and nontreated pediatric AVMs at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1998 to 2017. Inclusion criteria were age ≤ 18 years at time of diagnosis and an AVM confirmed by a catheter angiogram.

RESULTS

The authors evaluated 189 pediatric patients with AVMs over the study period, including 119 ruptured (63%) and 70 unruptured (37%) AVMs. The mean age at diagnosis was 11.6 ± 4.3 years. With respect to Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, there were 38 (20.1%) grade I, 40 (21.2%) grade II, 62 (32.8%) grade III, 40 (21.2%) grade IV, and 9 (4.8%) grade V lesions. Six patients were managed conservatively, and 183 patients underwent treatment, including 120 resections, 82 stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and 37 endovascular embolizations. Forty-four of 49 (89.8%) high-grade AVMs (SM grade IV or V) were treated. Multiple treatment modalities were used in 29.5% of low-grade and 27.3% of high-grade AVMs. Complete angiographic obliteration was obtained in 73.4% of low-grade lesions (SM grade I–III) and in 45.2% of high-grade lesions. A periprocedural stroke occurred in a single patient (0.5%), and there was 1 treatment-related death. The mean clinical follow-up for the cohort was 4.1 ± 4.6 years, and 96.6% and 84.3% of patients neurologically improved or remained unchanged in the ruptured and unruptured AVM groups following treatment, respectively. There were 16 bleeding events following initiation of AVM treatment (annual rate: 0.02 events per person-year).

CONCLUSIONS

Coordinated multidisciplinary evaluation and individualized planning can result in safe and effective treatment of children with AVMs. In particular, it is possible to treat the majority of high-grade AVMs with an acceptable safety profile. Judicious use of multimodality therapy should be limited to appropriately selected patients after thorough team-based discussions to avoid additive morbidity. Future multicenter studies are required to better design predictive models to aid with patient selection for multimodal pediatric care, especially with high-grade AVMs.

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Adib A. Abla, Cameron M. McDougall, Jonathan D. Breshears, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses are alternatives to traditional extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses to reanastomose parent arteries, reimplant efferent branches, revascularize branches with in situ donor arteries, and reconstruct bifurcations with interposition grafts that are entirely intracranial. These bypasses represent an evolution in bypass surgery from using scalp arteries and remote donor sites toward a more local and reconstructive approach. IC-IC bypass can be utilized preferentially when revascularization is needed in the management of complex aneurysms. Experiences using IC-IC bypass, as applied to posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms in 35 patients, were reviewed.

METHODS

Patients with PICA aneurysms and vertebral artery (VA) aneurysms involving the PICA’s origin were identified from a prospectively maintained database of the Vascular Neurosurgery Service, and patients who underwent bypass procedures for PICA revascularization were included.

RESULTS

During a 17-year period in which 129 PICA aneurysms in 125 patients were treated microsurgically, 35 IC-IC bypasses were performed as part of PICA aneurysm management, including in situ p3-p3 PICA-PICA bypass in 11 patients (31%), PICA reimplantation in 9 patients (26%), reanastomosis in 14 patients (40%), and 1 V3 VA-to-PICA bypass with an interposition graft (3%). All aneurysms were completely or nearly completely obliterated, 94% of bypasses were patent, 77% of patients were improved or unchanged after treatment, and good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale ≤ 2) were observed in 76% of patients. Two patients died expectantly. Ischemic complications were limited to 2 patients in whom the bypasses occluded, and permanent lower cranial nerve morbidity was limited to 3 patients and did not compromise independent function in any of the patients.

CONCLUSIONS

PICA aneurysms receive the application of IC-IC bypass better than any other aneurysm, with nearly one-quarter of all PICA aneurysms treated microsurgically at our center requiring bypass without a single EC-IC bypass. The selection of PICA bypass is almost algorithmic: trapped aneurysms at the PICA origin or p1 segment are revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass, with PICA reimplantation as an alternative; trapped p2 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed, bypassed in situ, or reimplanted; distal p3 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed or revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass; and aneurysms of the p4 segment that are too distal for PICA-PICA bypass are reanastomosed. Interposition grafts are reserved for when these 3 primary options are unsuitable. A constructive approach that preserves the PICA with direct clipping or replaces flow with a bypass when sacrificed should remain an alternative to deconstructive PICA occlusion and endovascular coiling when complete aneurysm occlusion is unlikely.

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Matthew B. Potts, Darryl Lau, Adib A. Abla, Helen Kim, William L. Young, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Resection is an appealing therapy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) because of its high cure rate, low complication rate, and immediacy, and has become the first-line therapy for many AVMs. To clarify safety, efficacy, and outcomes associated with AVM resection in the aftermath of A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs (ARUBA), the authors reviewed their experience with low-grade AVMs—the most favorable AVMs for surgery and the ones most likely to have been selected for treatment outside of ARUBA's randomization process.

METHODS

A prospective AVM registry was searched to identify patients with Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II AVMs treated using resection during a 16-year period.

RESULTS

Of the 232 surgical patients included, 120 (52%) presented with hemorrhage, 33% had Spetzler-Martin Grade I, and 67% had Grade II AVMs. Overall, 99 patients (43%) underwent preoperative embolization, with unruptured AVMs embolized more often than ruptured AVMs. AVM resection was accomplished in all patients and confirmed angiographically in 218 patients (94%). There were no deaths among patients with unruptured AVMs. Good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–1) were found in 78% of patients, with 97% improved or unchanged from their preoperative mRS scores. Patients with unruptured AVMs had better functional outcomes (91% good outcome vs 65% in the ruptured group, p = 0.0008), while relative outcomes were equivalent (98% improved/unchanged in patients with ruptured AVMs vs 96% in patients with unruptured AVMs).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery should be regarded as the “gold standard” therapy for the majority of low-grade AVMs, utilizing conservative embolization as a preoperative adjunct. High surgical cure rates and excellent functional outcomes in patients with both ruptured and unruptured AVMs support a dominant surgical posture for low-grade AVMS, with radiosurgery reserved for risky AVMs in deep, inaccessible, and highly eloquent locations. Despite the technological advances in endovascular and radiosurgical therapy, surgery still offers the best cure rate, lowest risk profile, and greatest protection against hemorrhage for low-grade AVMs. ARUBA results are influenced by a low randomization rate, bias toward nonsurgical therapies, a shortage of surgical expertise, a lower rate of complete AVM obliteration, a higher rate of delayed hemorrhage, and short study duration. Another randomized trial is needed to reestablish the role of surgery in unruptured AVM management.

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Adib A. Abla, William Caleb Rutledge, Zachary A. Seymour, Diana Guo, Helen Kim, Nalin Gupta, Penny K. Sneed, Igor J. Barani, David Larson, Michael W. McDermott, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

The surgical treatment of many large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is associated with substantial risks, and many are considered inoperable. Furthermore, AVMs larger than 3 cm in diameter are not usually treated with conventional single-session radiosurgery encompassing the entire AVM volume. Volume-staged stereotactic radiosurgery (VS-SRS) is an option for large AVMs, but it has mixed results. The authors report on a series of patients with high-grade AVMs who underwent multiple VS-SRS sessions with resultant downgrading of the AVMs, followed by resection.

METHODS

A cohort of patients was retrieved from a single-institution AVM patient registry consisting of prospectively collected data. VS-SRS was performed as a planned intentional treatment. Surgery was considered as salvage therapy in select patients.

RESULTS

Sixteen AVMs underwent VS-SRS followed by surgery. Four AVMs presented with rupture. The mean patient age was 25.3 years (range 13–54 years). The average initial Spetzler-Martin grade before any treatment was 4, while the average supplemented Spetzler-Martin grade (Spetzler-Martin plus Lawton-Young) was 7.1. The average AVM size in maximum dimension was 5.9 cm (range 3.3–10 cm). All AVMs were supratentorial in location and all except one were in eloquent areas of the brain, with 7 involving primary motor cortex. The mean number of VS-SRS sessions was 2.7 (range 2–5 sessions). The mean interval between first VS-SRS session and resection was 5.7 years. There were 4 hemorrhages that occurred after VS-SRS. The average Spetzler-Martin grade was reduced to 2.5 (downgrade, −1.5) and the average supplemented Spetzler-Martin grade was reduced to 5.6 (downgrade, −1.5). The maximum AVM size was reduced to an average of 3.0 cm (downsize = −2.9 cm). The mean modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were 1.2, 2.3, and 2.2 before VS-SRS, before surgery, and at last follow-up, respectively (mean follow-up, 6.9 years). Fifteen AVMs were cured after surgery. Ten patients had good outcomes at last follow-up (7 with mRS Score 0 or 1, and 3 with mRS Score 2). There were 2 deaths (both mRS Score 1 before treatment) and 4 patients with mRS Score 3 outcome (from mRS Scores 0, 1, and 2 [n = 2]).

CONCLUSIONS

Volume-staged SRS can downgrade AVMs, transforming high-grade AVMs (initially considered inoperable) into operable AVMs with acceptable surgical risks. This treatment paradigm offers an alternative to conservative observation for young patients with unruptured AVMs and long life expectancy, where the risk of hemorrhage is substantial. Difficult AVMs were cured in 15 patients. Surgical morbidity associated with downgraded AVMs is reduced to that of postradiosurgical/preoperative supplemented Spetzler-Martin grades, not their initial AVM grades.

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Adib A. Abla and Michael T. Lawton