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Open access

Neurocysticercosis of the third ventricle: illustrative case

John Choi, Grace Cullen, Dawn Darbonne, Dennis Adams, Christina Coyle, Joseph Cooper, and Harminder Singh

BACKGROUND

Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infection of the central nervous system. Cysts located in the ventricles, intraventricular neurocysticercosis (IVNCC), can cause symptoms of increased intracranial pressure and, if untreated, can be fatal. Neuroendoscopic removal of IVNCC is recommended as the first-line treatment.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a healthy 30-year-old male originally from Mexico who presented with headaches and vomiting. He was found to have a cyst in the third ventricle on imaging, consistent with IVNCC. The authors successfully performed neuroendoscopic surgery with removal of the cyst en bloc.

LESSONS

A multidisciplinary team of neurosurgery and infectious disease specialists is recommended for successful management of patients with IVNCC. These patients typically require neuroendoscopic surgical removal for definitive treatment. In this case, the authors show surgery resulted in an effective cure without the need for antiparasitic medication and excellent long-term outcomes.

Open access

First use of intraventricular nicardipine in a pediatric patient with vasospasm secondary to meningitis: illustrative case

V. Jane Horak, Nirali Patel, Sunny Abdelmageed, Jonathan Scoville, Melissa A LoPresti, and Sandi Lam

BACKGROUND

Cerebral vasospasm is commonly associated with adult aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage but can develop in children. The standard vasospasm treatment includes induced hypertension, avoidance of hypovolemia, systemic use of the calcium channel blocker (CCB) nimodipine, and cerebral angiography for intraarterial therapy. Emerging treatments in adults, such as intraventricular CCB administration, have not been investigated in children. This study demonstrates the successful use of an intraventricular CCB in a pediatric patient with refractory vasospasm secondary to meningitis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 12-year-old female presented with Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis and ventriculitis with refractory symptomatic cerebral vasospasm. She received a 5-day course of intrathecal nicardipine through an existing external ventricular drain. Her clinical status, transcranial Doppler studies, and radiography improved. Treatment was well tolerated.

LESSONS

Pediatric vasospasm is uncommon and potentially devastating. The management of vasospasm in adults occurs frequently. Principles of this management are adapted to pediatric care given the rarity of vasospasm in children. The use of intraventricular nicardipine has been reported in the care of adults with level 3 evidence. It has not been adequately reported in children with refractory vasospasm. Here, the first use of intraventricular nicardipine in treating pediatric cerebral vasospasm in the setting of meningitis is described and highlighted.

Open access

Immunocompetent isolated cerebral mucormycosis presenting with obstructive hydrocephalus: illustrative case

Khoa N Nguyen, Lindsey M Freeman, Timothy H Ung, Steven Ojemann, and Fabio Grassia

BACKGROUND

Isolated cerebral mucormycosis is rare in immunocompetent adults and is only sparsely reported to be associated with obstructive hydrocephalus.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors report a case of obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to central nervous system mucormycosis without other systems or rhino-orbital involvement and its technical surgical management. A 23-year-old, incarcerated, immunocompetent patient with history of intravenous (IV) drug use presented with syncope. Although clinical and radiographic findings failed to elucidate an infectious pathology, endoscopy revealed an obstructive mass lesion at the level of the third ventricle, which, on microbiological testing, was confirmed to be Rhizopus fungal ventriculitis. Perioperative cerebrospinal fluid diversion, endoscopic third ventriculostomy, endoscopic biopsy technique, patient outcomes, and the literature are reviewed here. The patient received intrathecal and IV amphotericin B followed by a course of oral antifungal treatment and currently remains in remission.

LESSONS

The patient’s unique presentation and diagnosis of isolated cerebral mucormycosis reveal this pathogen as a cause of ventriculitis and obstructive hydrocephalus in immunocompetent adult patients, even in the absence of infectious sequelae on neuroimaging.

Open access

Mycobacterium xenopi vertebral osteomyelitis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus: illustrative case

Ryan Kelly, Josha Woodward, Jacob B Gerzenshtein, Mariam Aziz, and John E O’Toole

BACKGROUND

Mycobacterium xenopi is a common nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) that is slow growing and an infrequent cause of infection. When infections do occur, it is by exposure to contaminated soil or water or to infectious aerosols. Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections in the spine are exceedingly rare. Risk factors can include immunosuppression, particularly human immunodeficiency virus; however, other systemic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been reported.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of cord compression due to M. xenopi vertebral osteomyelitis with an epidural abscess in a patient with SLE on hydroxychloroquine and recent steroid use. The authors explore the presentation of a patient who developed acute neurological deficits concerning for spinal pathology secondary to NTM. Although considered a rare occurrence, patients with autoimmune pathologies are susceptible to infection by unusual organisms. Standard treatment of autoimmune diseases can predispose patients to infection and warrant surgical correction to prevent long-term neurological deficits.

LESSONS

There is still much work and research to be done in the exploration and understanding of nontuberculous mycobacterial infection, pathophysiology, and treatment in the immunocompetent population and in patients with autoimmune disorders.

Open access

Acute large-vessel occlusion due to an infected thrombus formation induced by invasive sphenoid sinus aspergillosis: illustrative case

Yoshiyasu Matsumoto, Yosuke Akamatsu, Koji Yoshida, Yasushi Ogasawara, Toshinari Misaki, Shunichi Sasou, Hiromu Konno, and Kuniaki Ogasawara

BACKGROUND

The authors describe a rare case of acute large-vessel occlusion due to an infected thrombus formation that was induced by invasive sphenoid sinus aspergillosis.

OBSERVATIONS

An 82-year-old man with a history of immunoglobulin G4–related disease and long-term use of steroids and immunosuppressants was admitted to the authors’ hospital with severe right hemiparesis. Cerebral angiography revealed occlusion of the left internal carotid artery (ICA). He underwent thrombectomy, resulting in successful recanalization. However, severe stenosis was evident in the left ICA cavernous segment. Pathological analysis of the retrieved thrombus identified Aspergillus. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging revealed sinusitis in the left sphenoid sinus as a possible source of the infection. The patient’s general condition deteriorated during the course of hospitalization due to refractory aspiration pneumonia, and he died 46 days after thrombectomy. Pathological autopsy and histopathological investigation of the left ICA and the left sphenoid sinus showed that Aspergillus had invaded the wall of the left ICA from the adjacent sphenoid sinus. These findings indicate a diagnosis of acute large-vessel occlusion due to infected thrombus formation induced by invasive sphenoid sinus aspergillosis.

LESSONS

Pathological analysis of a retrieved thrombus appears useful for identifying rare stroke etiologies such as fungal infection.

Open access

Continuous direct intraarterial treatment of meningitis-induced vasospasm in a pediatric patient: illustrative case

Aubrey C Rogers, Aditya D Goyal, and Alexandra R Paul

BACKGROUND

Bacterial meningitis–induced ischemic stroke continues to cause significant long-term complications in pediatric patients. The authors present a case of severe right internal carotid artery terminus and M1 segment vasospasm in a 9-year-old with an infected cholesteatoma, which was refractory to multiple intraarterial treatments with verapamil and milrinone. This is the first report of continuous intraarterial antispasmodic treatment in a pediatric patient as well as the first report of continuous treatment in an awake and extubated patient.

OBSERVATIONS

Arterial narrowing was successfully treated by continuous direct intraarterial administration of both a calcium channel blocker (verapamil) and a phosphodiesterase-3 inhibitor (milrinone). The patient recovered remarkably well and was discharged home with no neurological deficit (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score 0) and ambulatory without assistance after 22 days. The authors report a promising outcome of this technique performed in a pediatric patient.

LESSONS

This represents a novel treatment option for the prevention of stroke in pediatric bacterial meningitis. Continuous, direct intraarterial administration of antispasmodic medications can successfully prevent long-term neurological deficit in pediatric meningitis-associated vasospasm. The described method has the potential to significantly improve outcomes in severe pediatric meningitis-associated vasospasm.

Open access

Coronavirus disease 2019–associated persistent cough and Chiari malformation type I resulting in acute respiratory failure: illustrative case

Anthony J Piscopo, Nahom Teferi, Anthony Marincovich, Meron Challa, and Brian J Dlouhy

BACKGROUND

Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is the herniation of cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum, potentially resulting in the obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow and brainstem compression. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is common in patients with CM-I, and symptomatic exacerbations have been described after Valsalva-inducing stressors. Acute decompensation in the setting of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has not been described.

OBSERVATIONS

After violent coughing episodes associated with COVID-19 infection, a 44-year-old female developed several months of Valsalva-induced occipital headaches, episodic bulbar symptoms, and worsening SDB, which led to acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. Imaging demonstrated 12 mm of cerebellar tonsillar descent below the foramen magnum, dorsal brainstem compression, and syringobulbia within the dorsal medulla. She underwent posterior fossa and intradural decompression with near-complete resolution of her symptoms 6 months postoperatively.

LESSONS

Although CM-I can remain asymptomatic, Valsalva-inducing stressors, including COVID-19 infection, can initiate or acutely exacerbate symptoms, placing patients at risk for CM-I–associated brainstem dysfunction and, in rare cases, acute respiratory failure. Worsening Valsalva maneuvers can contribute to further cerebellar tonsil impaction, brainstem compression, syringomyelia/syringobulbia, and worsening CM-I intradural pathology. Ventilator support and timely decompressive surgery are paramount, as brainstem compression can reduce central respiratory drive, placing patients at risk for coma, neurological deficits, and/or death.

Open access

Magnetic resonance imaging–derived relative cerebral blood volume characteristics in a case of pathologically confirmed neurocysticercosis: illustrative case

Nada E Botros, David Polinger-Hyman, Ryan T Beck, Christopher Kleefisch, E. Kelly S Mrachek, Jennifer Connelly, Kathleen M Schmainda, and Max O Krucoff

BACKGROUND

Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a parasitic infection of the brain caused by ingesting water or food contaminated with tapeworm eggs. When it presents as a solitary mass, differentiation from a primary brain tumor on imaging can be difficult. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-derived relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) is a newer imaging technique used to identify areas of neovascularization in tumors, which may advance the differential diagnosis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 25-year-old male presented after a seizure. Computed tomography (CT) and MRI demonstrated a partially enhancing lesion with microcalcifications and vasogenic edema. Follow-up rCBV assessment demonstrated mild hyperperfusion and/or small vessels at the lesional margins consistent with either an intermediate grade glioma or infection. Given the radiological equipoise, surgical accessibility, and differential diagnosis including primary neoplasm, metastatic disease, NCC, and abscess, resection was pursued. The calcified mass was excised en bloc and was confirmed as larval-stage NCC.

LESSONS

CT or MRI may not always provide sufficient information to distinguish NCC from brain tumors. Although reports have suggested that rCBV may aid in identifying NCC, here the authors describe a case of pathologically confirmed NCC in which preoperative, qualitative, standardized rCBV findings raised concern for a primary neoplasm. This case documents the first standardized rCBV values reported in a pathologically confirmed case of NCC in the United States.

Open access

Combined endoscopic and microsurgical approach for the drainage of a multisegmental thoracolumbar epidural abscess: illustrative case

Vincent Hagel, Felix Dymel, Stephan Werle, Vera Barrera, and Mazda Farshad

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural abscess is a rare but serious infectious disease that can rapidly develop into a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the appropriate treatment is indispensable. Although conservative treatment is justifiable in certain cases, surgical treatment needs to be considered as an alternative early on because of complications such as (progressive) neurological deficits or sepsis. However, traditional surgical techniques usually include destructive approaches up to (multilevel) laminectomies. Such excessive approaches do have biomechanical effects potentially affecting the long-term outcomes. Therefore, minimally invasive approaches have been described as alternative strategies, including endoscopic approaches.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a surgical technique involving a combination of two minimally invasive approaches (endoscopic and microsurgical) to drain a multisegmental (thoracolumbar) abscess using the physical phenomenon of continuous pressure difference to minimize collateral tissue damage.

LESSONS

The combination of minimally invasive approaches, including the endoscopic technique, may be an alternative in draining selected epidural abscesses while achieving a similar amount of abscess removal and causing less collateral approach damage in comparison with more traditional techniques.

Open access

Abnormal magnetic resonance imaging signal in the burr hole and the identification of the intracranial infection of a deep brain stimulation device: illustrative case

Ryota Sasaki, Hidehiro Hirabayashi, and Ichiro Nakagawa

BACKGROUND

Device infection is a critical postoperative complication in deep brain stimulation (DBS). However, intracranial infections are rare and lack specific findings, which lead to a challenging diagnosis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 59-year-old female with generalized dystonia underwent bilateral globus pallidus internus and subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS device implantation. One year earlier, a left STN-DBS extension wire disconnection was observed and replaced. The patient presented to our department because of tenderness along the extension wire that had persisted for 1 month. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head indicated abnormal signals around the lead of the left STN and burr hole. Intraoperatively, the authors observed pus and infected granulation tissue in the burr holes. After device removal, antibiotics were administered, and the patient successfully progressed without complications. Moreover, the abnormal MRI signal disappeared.

LESSONS

A characteristic abnormal MRI signal within the burr hole in DBS may suggest early infection even in the absence of other inflammatory findings. Clinicians should ensure that MRI is not limited to intracranial findings but extends beyond the extracranial space.