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Joshua S. Catapano, Mohamed A. Labib, Visish M. Srinivasan, Candice L. Nguyen, Kavelin Rumalla, Redi Rahmani, Tyler S. Cole, Jacob F. Baranoski, Caleb Rutledge, Kristina M. Chapple, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Joseph M. Zabramski, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) was a single-center trial that compared endovascular coiling to microsurgical clipping in patients treated for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). However, because patients in the BRAT were treated more than 15 years ago, and because there have been advances since then—particularly in endovascular techniques—the relevance of the BRAT today remains controversial. Some hypothesize that these technical advances may reduce retreatment rates for endovascular intervention. In this study, the authors analyzed data for the post-BRAT (PBRAT) era to compare microsurgical clipping with endovascular embolization (coiling and flow diverters) in the two time periods and to examine how the results of the original BRAT have influenced the practice of neurosurgeons at the study institution.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, the authors evaluated patients with saccular aSAHs who were treated at a single quaternary center from August 1, 2007, to July 31, 2019. The saccular aSAH diagnoses were confirmed by cerebrovascular experts. Patients were separated into two cohorts for comparison on the basis of having undergone microsurgery or endovascular intervention. The primary outcome analyzed for comparison was poor neurological outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2. The secondary outcomes that were compared included retreatment rates for both therapies.

RESULTS

Of the 1014 patients with aSAH during the study period, 798 (79%) were confirmed to have saccular aneurysms. Neurological outcomes at ≥ 1-year follow-up did not differ between patients treated with microsurgery (n = 451) and those who received endovascular (n = 347) treatment (p = 0.51). The number of retreatments was significantly higher among patients treated endovascularly (32/347, 9%) than among patients treated microsurgically (6/451, 1%) (p < 0.001). The retreatment rate after endovascular treatment was lower in the PBRAT era (9%) than in the BRAT (18%).

CONCLUSIONS

Similar to results from the BRAT, results from the PBRAT era showed equivalent neurological outcomes and increased rates of retreatment among patients undergoing endovascular embolization compared with those undergoing microsurgery. However, the rate of retreatment after endovascular intervention was much lower in the PBRAT era than in the BRAT.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Stefan W. Koester, Visish M. Srinivasan, Mohamed A. Labib, Neil Majmundar, Candice L. Nguyen, Caleb Rutledge, Tyler S. Cole, Jacob F. Baranoski, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Ophthalmic artery (OA) aneurysms are surgically challenging lesions that are now mostly treated using endovascular procedures. However, in specialized tertiary care centers with experienced neurosurgeons, controversy remains regarding the optimal treatment of these lesions. This study used propensity adjustment to compare microsurgical and endovascular treatment of unruptured OA aneurysms in experienced tertiary and quaternary settings.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients who underwent microsurgical treatment of an unruptured OA aneurysm at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1997 to 2017 and either microsurgical or endovascular treatment at Barrow Neurological Institute from 2011 to 2019. Patients were categorized into two cohorts for comparison: those who underwent open microsurgical clipping, and those who underwent endovascular flow diversion or coil embolization. Outcomes included neurological or visual outcomes, residual or recurrent aneurysms, retreatment, and severe complications.

RESULTS

A total of 345 procedures were analyzed: 247 open microsurgical clipping procedures (72%) and 98 endovascular procedures (28%). Of the 98 endovascular procedures, 16 (16%) were treated with primary coil embolization and 82 (84%) with flow diversion. After propensity adjustment, microsurgical treatment was associated with higher odds of a visual deficit (OR 8.5, 95% CI 1.1–64.9, p = 0.04) but lower odds of residual aneurysm (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01–0.28, p < 0.001) or retreatment (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.02–0.58, p = 0.008) than endovascular therapy. No difference was found between the two cohorts with regard to worse modified Rankin Scale score, modified Rankin Scale score greater than 2, or severe complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with endovascular therapy, microsurgical clipping of unruptured OA aneurysms is associated with a higher rate of visual deficits but a lower rate of residual and recurrent aneurysms. In centers experienced with both open microsurgical and endovascular treatment of these lesions, the treatment choice should be based on patient preference and aneurysm morphology.

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Rohin Singh, Visish M. Srinivasan, Joshua S. Catapano, Joseph D. DiDomenico, Jacob F. Baranoski, and Michael T. Lawton

BACKGROUND

Coccidioidomycosis is a primarily self-limiting fungal disease endemic to the western United States and South America. However, severe disseminated infection can occur. The authors report a severe case of coccidioidal meningitis that appeared to be a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) on initial inspection.

OBSERVATIONS

A man in his early 40s was diagnosed with coccidioidal pneumonia after presenting with pulmonary symptoms. After meningeal spread characterized by declining mental status and hydrocephalus, coccidioidal meningitis was diagnosed. The uniquely difficult aspect of this case was the deceptive appearance of SAH due to the presence of multiple aneurysms and blood draining from the patient’s external ventricular drain.

LESSONS

Coccidioidal infection likely led to the formation of multiple intracranial aneurysms in this patient. Although few reports exist of coccidioidal meningitis progressing to aneurysm formation, patients should be closely monitored for this complication because outcomes are poor. The presence of basal cistern hyperdensities from a coccidioidal infection mimicking SAH makes interpreting imaging difficult. Surgical management of SAH can be considered safe and viable, especially when the index of suspicion is high, such as in the presence of multiple aneurysms. Even if it is unclear whether aneurysmal rupture has occurred, prompt treatment is advisable.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Caleb Rutledge, Kavelin Rumalla, Kunal P. Raygor, Visish M. Srinivasan, Stefan W. Koester, Anna R. Kimata, Kevin L. Ma, Mohamed A. Labib, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The brainstem cavernous malformation (BSCM) grading system predicts neurological outcomes associated with microsurgical resection and assists neurosurgeons in selecting patients for treatment. The predictive accuracy of the BSCM grading system should be validated in a large cohort from high-volume centers to generalize its use.

METHODS

An external validation cohort comprised patients with a BSCM resected by the senior author (M.T.L.) since the publication of the BSCM grading system and those resected by another neurosurgeon (R.F.S.) over a 16-year period. Size, crossing the axial midpoint, the presence of a developmental venous anomaly, patient age, and timing of last hemorrhage were used to assign BSCM grades from 0 to VII. Poor neurological outcomes were recorded as modified Rankin Scale scores > 2 at last follow-up examination.

RESULTS

A total of 277 patients were included in the study. The average BSCM grade was 3.9, and the majority of BSCMs (181 patients, 65%) were intermediate grade (grades III–V). Outcomes were predicted by BSCM grade, with good outcomes observed in 47 of 54 patients (87%) with low-grade BSCMs, in 135 of 181 patients (75%) with intermediate-grade BSCMs, and in 21 of 42 patients (50%) with high-grade BSCMs. Conversely, proportions of patients with neurological deterioration increased with increasing BSCM grade, with worsening observed in 2 of 54 patients (4%) with low-grade BSCMs, in 29 of 181 patients (16%) with intermediate-grade BSCMs, and in 17 of 42 patients (40%) with high-grade BSCMs. In the chi-square analysis, high-grade BSCMs were associated with increased odds of neurological worsening compared to low- and intermediate-grade BSCMs (OR 5.0, 95% CI 2.4–10.4; p < 0.001). The receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated acceptable discrimination for predicting unfavorable functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) with an area under the curve of 0.74 (95% CI 0.68–0.80; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study validates the BSCM grading system in a large cohort of patients from two high-volume surgeons. BSCM grade predicted neurological outcomes with accuracy comparable to that of other grading systems in widespread use. The BSCM grading system establishes categories of low-, intermediate-, and high-grade BSCMs and a boundary or cutoff for surgery at BSCM grade V. BSCM grading guides the analysis of a particular patient’s condition, but treatment recommendations must be individualized, and neurosurgeons must calibrate BSCM grading to their own outcome results, unique abilities, and practices.

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Mohamed A. Labib, Xiaochun Zhao, Lena Mary Houlihan, Irakliy Abramov, Joshua S. Catapano, Komal Naeem, Mark C. Preul, A. Samy Youssef, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The combined petrosal (CP) approach has been traditionally used to resect petroclival meningioma (PCM). The pretemporal transcavernous anterior petrosal (PTAP) approach has emerged as an alternative. A quantitative comparison of both approaches has not been made. This anatomical study compared the surgical corridors afforded by both approaches and identified key elements of the approach selection process.

METHODS

Twelve cadaveric specimens were dissected, and 10 were used for morphometric analysis. Groups A and B (n = 5 in each) underwent the CP and PTAP approaches, respectively. The area of drilled clivus, lengths of cranial nerves (CNs) II–X, length of posterior circulation vessels, surgical area of exposure of the brainstem, and angles of attack anterior and posterior to a common target were measured and compared.

RESULTS

The area of drilled clivus was significantly greater in group A than group B (mean ± SD 88.7 ± 17.1 mm2 vs 48.4 ± 17.9 mm2, p < 0.01). Longer segments of ipsilateral CN IV (52.4 ± 2.33 mm vs 46.5 ± 3.71 mm, p < 0.02), CN IX, and CN X (9.91 ± 3.21 mm vs 0.00 ± 0.00 mm, p < 0.01) were exposed in group A than group B. Shorter portions of CN II (9.31 ± 1.28 mm vs 17.6 ± 6.89 mm, p < 0.02) and V1 (26.9 ± 4.62 mm vs 32.4 ± 1.93 mm, p < 0.03) were exposed in group A than group B. Longer segments of ipsilateral superior cerebellar artery (SCA) were exposed in group A than group B (36.0 ± 4.91 mm vs 25.8 ± 3.55 mm, p < 0.02), but there was less exposure of contralateral SCA (0.00 ± 0.00 mm vs 7.95 ± 3.33 mm, p < 0.01). There was no statistically significant difference between groups with regard to the combined area of the exposed cerebral peduncles and pons (p = 0.75). Although exposure of the medulla was limited, group A had significantly greater exposure of the medulla than group B (p < 0.01). Finally, group A had a smaller anterior angle of attack than group B (24.1° ± 5.62° vs 34.8° ± 7.51°, p < 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to quantitatively identify the advantages and limitations of the CP and PTAP approaches from an anatomical perspective. Understanding these data will aid in designing maximally effective yet minimally invasive approaches to PCM.

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Visish M. Srinivasan, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Stefan W. Koester, Joshua S. Catapano, Caleb Rutledge, Kunal P. Raygor, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Rare arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the optic apparatus account for < 1% of all AVMs. The authors conducted a systematic review of the literature for cases of optic apparatus AVMs and present 4 cases from their institution. The literature is summarized to describe preoperative characteristics, surgical technique, and treatment outcomes for these lesions.

METHODS

A comprehensive search of the English-language literature was performed in accordance with established Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines to identify all published cases of AVM in the optic apparatus in the PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases. The authors also searched their prospective institutional database of vascular malformations for such cases. Data regarding the clinical and radiological presentation, visual acuity, visual fields, extent of resection, and postoperative outcomes were gathered.

RESULTS

Nine patients in the literature and 4 patients in the authors’ single-surgeon series who fit the inclusion criteria were identified. The median age at presentation was 29 years (range 8–39 years). Among these patients, 11 presented with visual disturbance, 9 with headache, and 1 with multiple prior subarachnoid hemorrhages; the AVM in 1 case was found incidentally. Four patients described prior symptoms of headache or visual disturbance consistent with sentinel events. Visual acuity was decreased from baseline in 10 patients, and 11 patients had visual field defects on formal visual field testing. The most common visual field defect was temporal hemianopia, found in one or both eyes in 7 patients. The optic chiasm was affected in 10 patients, the hypothalamus in 2 patients, the optic nerve (unilaterally) in 8 patients, and the optic tract in 2 patients. Six patients underwent gross-total resection; 6 patients underwent subtotal resection; and 1 patient underwent craniotomy, but no resection was attempted. Postoperatively, 9 of the patients had improved visual function, 1 had no change, and 3 had worse visual acuity. Eight patients demonstrated improved visual fields, 1 had no change, and 4 had narrowed fields.

CONCLUSIONS

AVMs of the optic apparatus are rare lesions. Although they reside in a highly eloquent region, surgical outcomes are generally good; the majority of patients will see improvement in their visual function postoperatively. Microsurgical technique is critical to the successful removal of these lesions, and preservation of function sometimes requires subtotal resection of the lesion.

Open access

Visish M. Srinivasan, Joshua S. Catapano, John P. Sheehy, Mohamed A. Labib, and Michael T. Lawton

Falcotentorial meningiomas arise along the junction of the falx cerebri and the tentorium cerebelli. The authors present a woman in her 60s with an incidentally discovered falcotentorial meningioma, approximately 3 cm in diameter, resected with a torcular craniotomy and posterior interhemispheric approach. The galenic complex was dissected away from the tumor. In the final view, the bilateral internal cerebral veins and basal veins of Rosenthal were seen. A Simpson grade I resection was achieved. The patient experienced transient contralateral hemianopsia and was discharged home. At 1-year follow-up, her neurological examination findings were unremarkable, and there was no radiographic evidence of tumor.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2021.4.FOCVID2125.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Fabio A. Frisoli, Candice L. Nguyen, Mohamed A. Labib, Tyler S. Cole, Jacob F. Baranoski, Helen Kim, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Supplemented Spetzler-Martin grading (Supp-SM), which is the combination of Spetzler-Martin and Lawton-Young grades, was validated as being more accurate than stand-alone Spetzler-Martin grading, but an operability cutoff was not established. In this study, the authors surgically treated intermediate-grade AVMs to provide prognostic factors for neurological outcomes and to define AVMs at the boundary of operability.

METHODS

Surgically treated Supp-SM intermediate-grade (5, 6, and 7) AVMs were analyzed from 2011 to 2018 at two medical centers. Worsened neurological outcomes were defined as increased modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores on postoperative examinations. A second analysis of 2000–2011 data for Supp-SM grade 6 and 7 AVMs was performed to determine the subtypes with improved or unchanged outcomes. Patients were separated into three groups based on nidus size (S1: < 3 cm, S2: 3–6 cm, S3: > 6 cm) and age (A1: < 20 years, A2: 20–40 years, A3: > 40 years), followed by any combination of the combined supplemented grade: low risk (S1A1, S1A2, S2A1), intermediate risk (S2A2, S1A3, S3A1, or high risk (S3A3, S3A2, S2A3).

RESULTS

Two hundred forty-six patients had intermediate Supp-SM grade AVMs. Of these patients, 102 had Supp-SM grade 5 (41.5%), 99 had Supp-SM grade 6 (40.2%), and 45 had Supp-SM grade 7 (18.3%). Significant differences in the proportions of patients with worse mRS scores at follow-up were found between the groups, with 24.5% (25/102) of patients in Supp-SM grade 5, 29.3% (29/99) in Supp-SM grade 6, and 57.8% (26/45) in Supp-SM grade 7 (p < 0.001). Patients with Supp-SM grade 7 AVMs had significantly increased odds of worse postoperative mRS scores (p < 0.001; OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.9–7.3). In the expanded cohort of 349 Supp-SM grade 6 AVM patients, a significantly higher proportion of older patients with larger Supp-SM grade 6 AVMs (grade 6+, 38.6%) had neurological deterioration than the others with Supp-SM grade 6 AVMs (22.9%, p = 0.02). Conversely, in an expanded cohort of 197 Supp-SM grade 7 AVM patients, a significantly lower proportion of younger patients with smaller Supp-SM grade 7 AVMs (grade 7–, 19%) had neurological deterioration than the others with Supp-SM grade 7 AVMs (44.9%, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with Supp-SM grade 7 AVMs are at increased risk of worse postoperative neurological outcomes, making Supp-SM grade 6 an appropriate operability cutoff. However, young patients with small niduses in the low-risk Supp-SM grade 7 group (grade 7−) have favorable postoperative outcomes. Outcomes in Supp-SM grade 7 patients did not improve with surgeon experience, indicating that the operability boundary is a hard limit reflecting the complexity of high-grade AVMs.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Andrew F. Ducruet, Candice L. Nguyen, Tyler S. Cole, Jacob F. Baranoski, Neil Majmundar, D. Andrew Wilkinson, Vance L. Fredrickson, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Michael T. Lawton, and Felipe C. Albuquerque

OBJECTIVE

Middle meningeal artery (MMA) embolization is a promising treatment strategy for chronic subdural hematomas (cSDHs). However, studies comparing MMA embolization and conventional therapy (surgical intervention and conservative management) are limited. The authors aimed to compare MMA embolization versus conventional therapy for cSDHs using a propensity-adjusted analysis.

METHODS

A retrospective study of all patients with cSDH who presented to a large tertiary center over a 2-year period was performed. MMA embolization was compared with surgical intervention and conservative management. Neurological outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). A propensity-adjusted analysis compared MMA embolization versus surgery and conservative management for all individual cSDHs. Primary outcomes included change in hematoma diameter, treatment failure, and complete resolution at last follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 231 patients with cSDH met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 35 (15%) were treated using MMA embolization, and 196 (85%) were treated with conventional treatment. On the latest follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences between groups in the percentage of patients with worsening mRS scores. Of the 323 total cSDHs found in 231 patients, 41 (13%) were treated with MMA embolization, 159 (49%) were treated conservatively, and 123 (38%) were treated with surgical evacuation. After propensity adjustment, both surgery (OR 12, 95% CI 1.5–90; p = 0.02) and conservative therapy (OR 13, 95% CI 1.7–99; p = 0.01) were predictors of treatment failure and incomplete resolution on follow-up imaging (OR 6.1, 95% CI 2.8–13; p < 0.001 and OR 5.4, 95% CI 2.5–12; p < 0.001, respectively) when compared with MMA embolization. Additionally, MMA embolization was associated with a significant decrease in cSDH diameter on follow-up relative to conservative management (mean −8.3 mm, 95% CI −10.4 to −6.3 mm, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

This propensity-adjusted analysis suggests that MMA embolization for cSDH is associated with a greater extent of hematoma volume reduction with fewer treatment failures than conventional therapy.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Mohamed A. Labib, Fabio A. Frisoli, Megan S. Cadigan, Jacob F. Baranoski, Tyler S. Cole, James J. Zhou, Candice L. Nguyen, Alexander C. Whiting, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The SAFIRE grading scale is a novel, computable scale that predicts the outcome of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) patients in acute follow-up. However, this scale also may have prognostic significance in long-term follow-up and help guide further management.

METHODS

The records of all patients enrolled in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) were retrospectively reviewed, and the patients were assigned SAFIRE grades. Outcomes at 1 year and 6 years post-aSAH were analyzed for each SAFIRE grade level, with a poor outcome defined as a modified Rankin Scale score > 2. Univariate analysis was performed for patients with a high SAFIRE grade (IV or V) for odds of poor outcome at the 1- and 6-year follow-ups.

RESULTS

A total of 405 patients with confirmed aSAH enrolled in the BRAT were analyzed; 357 patients had 1-year follow-up, and 333 patients had 6-year follow-up data available. Generally, as the SAFIRE grade increased, so did the proportion of patients with poor outcomes. At the 1-year follow-up, 18% (17/93) of grade I patients, 22% (20/92) of grade II patients, 32% (26/80) of grade III patients, 43% (38/88) of grade IV patients, and 75% (3/4) of grade V patients were found to have poor outcomes. At the 6-year follow-up, 29% (23/79) of grade I patients, 24% (21/89) of grade II patients, 38% (29/77) of grade III patients, 60% (50/84) of grade IV patients, and 100% (4/4) of grade V patients were found to have poor outcomes. Univariate analysis showed that a SAFIRE grade of IV or V was associated with a significantly increased risk of a poor outcome at both the 1-year (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5–4.2; p < 0.001) and 6-year (OR 3.7, 95% CI 2.2–6.2; p < 0.001) follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS

High SAFIRE grades are associated with an increased risk of a poor recovery at late follow-up.