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Open access

Vagus nerve stimulation for enhanced stroke recovery after intracerebral hemorrhage: illustrative case

Daniel D Cummins, Roshini Kalagara, Margaret H Downes, Hyun Joo Park, Jenna Tosto-Mancuso, David Putrino, Fedor E Panov, and Christopher P Kellner

BACKGROUND

Randomized controlled trial (RCT) evidence has revealed the efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with rehabilitation therapy, over therapy alone, for upper-limb functional recovery after ischemic stroke. However, this technique has not yet been described for the recovery of chronic motor deficits after hemorrhagic stroke.

OBSERVATIONS

Three years after left putaminal intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke with chronic upper-limb functional deficits, a patient was treated with VNS for enhanced stroke recovery. VNS was paired with 6 weeks of in-clinic physical therapy, resulting in upper-limb functional improvement of 14 points on the Fugl-Meyer Assessment Upper Extremity (FMA-UE) index for stroke recovery (maximum score of 66 equating to normal function). This improvement was more than 1 standard deviation above the improvement documented in the first successful RCT of VNS paired with therapy for ischemic stroke (5.0 ± 4.4 improvement on FMA-UE).

LESSONS

VNS is a promising therapy for enhanced recovery after hemorrhagic stroke and may offer greater improvement in function compared to that after ischemic stroke. Improvement in function can occur years after the time of intracerebral hemorrhage.

Open access

Microvascular decompression for developmental venous anomaly causing hemifacial spasm: illustrative case

Margaret Tugend and Raymond F Sekula Jr.

BACKGROUND

Developmental venous anomaly (DVA) is a rare cause of hemifacial spasm (HFS). The treatment of HFS caused by a DVA varies in the literature and includes medication management, botulinum toxin injections, and microvascular decompression (MVD).

OBSERVATIONS

A 64-year-old woman presented with right-sided HFS. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging showed a DVA in the right inferior pons, with an enlarged segment compressing the facial nerve at its root detachment point prior to drainage into the superior petrosal sinus. MVD was performed, and the facial nerve was decompressed without sacrifice of the vein. Immediately following the procedure, the patient had significantly reduced spasms. The patient became spasm-free 3 months after MVD and maintained spasm freedom for 3 months. Six months after MVD, the patient had a partial return of spasms. At 8 months, the patient continued to have reduced and intermittent spasms in the right orbicularis oculi muscle.

LESSONS

MVD for HFS caused by a DVA is a safe procedure and can be effective at reducing spasm frequency and severity.

Open access

Focal drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy associated with an ipsilateral anterior choroidal artery aneurysm: illustrative case

H. Westley Phillips, Shivani D. Rangwala, Joanna Papadakis, David J. Segar, Melissa Tsuboyama, Anna L. R. Pinto, Joseph P. Harmon, Sulpicio G. Soriano, Carlos J. Munoz, Joseph R. Madsen, Alfred P. See, and Scellig S. Stone

BACKGROUND

The occurrence of both an intracranial aneurysm and epilepsy, especially drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), is rare. Although the overall incidence of aneurysms associated with DRE is unclear, it is thought to be particularly infrequent in the pediatric population. Surgical ligation of the offending aneurysm has been reported in conjunction with resolving seizure activity, although few cases have cited a combined approach of aneurysm ligation and resection of an epileptogenic focus.

OBSERVATIONS

We present the case of a 14-year-old female patient with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy and an ipsilateral supraclinoid internal carotid artery aneurysm. Seizure semiology, electroencephalography monitoring, and magnetic resonance imaging all indicated a left temporal epileptogenic focus, in addition to an incidental aneurysm. The authors recommended a combined surgery involving resection of the temporal lesion and surgical clip ligation of the aneurysm. Near-total resection and successful ligation were achieved, and the patient has remained seizure free since surgery at 1 year postoperatively.

LESSONS

In patients with focal DRE and an adjacent intracranial aneurysm, a combined surgical approach involving both resection and surgical ligation can be used. Several surgical timing and neuroanesthetic considerations should be made to ensure the overall safety and efficacy of this procedure.

Open access

Dorsal medullary cavernous hemangioma presenting as obstinate hiccups and its surgical treatment: illustrative case

Sumirini Puppala, Abhijit Acharya, Atmaranjan Dash, and Surjyaprakash S. Choudhury

BACKGROUND

Hiccups are characterized by involuntary, intermittent, repetitive, myoclonic, and spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm. Hiccups are termed “intractable” when they last for over 1 month.

OBSERVATIONS

A rare case of intractable hiccups due to an uncommon location of cavernous hemangioma in the dorsal medulla is illustrated. With respect to the management, surgical excision was performed, and postsurgical complete recovery was witnessed, which has been reported only in six cases worldwide to date.

LESSONS

A mechanism of the hiccups reflex arc is discussed in detail with special reference to the need for equal emphasis on evaluating central nervous system causes and peripheral etiologies for pertinent hiccups.

Open access

Computational hemodynamic analysis of the offending vertebral artery at the site of neurovascular contact in a case of hemifacial spasm associated with subclavian steal syndrome: illustrative case

Keita Tominaga, Hidenori Endo, Shin-ichiro Sugiyama, Shin-ichiro Osawa, Kuniyasu Niizuma, and Teiji Tominaga

BACKGROUND

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is caused by neurovascular contact along the facial nerve’s root exit zone (REZ). The authors report a rare HFS case that was associated with ipsilateral subclavian steal syndrome (SSS).

OBSERVATIONS

A 42-year-old man with right-sided aortic arch presented with progressing left HFS, which was associated with ipsilateral SSS due to severe stenosis of the left brachiocephalic trunk. Magnetic resonance imaging showed contact between the left REZ and vertebral artery (VA), which had shifted to the left. The authors speculated that the severe stenosis at the left brachiocephalic trunk resulted in the left VA’s deviation, which was the underlying cause of the HFS. The authors performed percutaneous angioplasty (PTA) to dilate the left brachiocephalic trunk. Ischemic symptoms of the left arm improved after PTA, but the HFS remained unchanged. A computational fluid dynamics study showed that the high wall shear stress (WSS) around the site of neurovascular contact decreased after PTA. In contrast, pressure at the point of neurovascular contact increased after PTA.

LESSONS

SSS is rarely associated with HFS. Endovascular treatment for SSS reduced WSS of the neurovascular contact but increased theoretical pressure of the neurovascular contact. Physical release of the neurovascular contact is the best treatment option for HFS.

Open access

Trigeminal neuralgia induced by brainstem infarction treated with pontine descending tractotomy: illustrative case

Rachyl M. Shanker, Miri Kim, Chloe Verducci, Elhaum G. Rezaii, Kerry Steed, Atul K. Mallik, and Douglas E. Anderson

BACKGROUND

While cases of trigeminal neuralgia induced by a brainstem infarct have been reported, the neurosurgical literature lacks clear treatment recommendations in this subpopulation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the first case report of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia treated with pontine descending tractotomy that resulted in durable pain relief after multiple failed surgical interventions, including previous microvascular decompressions and stereotactic radiosurgery. A neuronavigated pontine descending tractotomy of the spinal trigeminal tract was performed and resulted in successful pain relief for a 50-month follow-up period.

LESSONS

While many cases of ischemic brainstem lesions are caused by acute stroke, the authors assert that cerebral small vessel disease also plays a role in certain cases and that the relationship between these chronic ischemic brainstem lesions and trigeminal neuralgia is more likely to be overlooked. Furthermore, neurovascular compression may obscure the causative mechanism of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia, leading to unsuccessful decompressive surgeries in cases in which neurovascular compression may be noncontributory to pain symptomatology. Pontine descending tractotomy may be beneficial in select patients and can be performed either alone or concurrently with microvascular decompression in cases in which the interplay between ischemic lesion and neurovascular compression in the pathophysiology of disease is not clear.