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Robert F. Spetzler, Joseph M. Zabramski, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Nancy K. Hills, Robert C. Wallace and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) is a prospective, randomized trial in which treatment with clipping was compared to treatment with coil embolization. Patients were randomized to treatment on presentation with any nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Because all other randomized trials comparing these 2 types of treatments have been limited to saccular aneurysms, the authors analyzed the current BRAT data for this subgroup of lesions.

METHODS

The primary BRAT analysis included all sources of SAH: nonaneurysmal lesions; saccular, blister, fusiform, and dissecting aneurysms; and SAHs from an aneurysm associated with either an arteriovenous malformation or a fistula. In this post hoc review, the outcomes for the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms were further analyzed by type of treatment. The extent of aneurysm obliteration was adjudicated by an independent neuroradiologist not involved in treatment.

RESULTS

Of the 471 patients enrolled in the BRAT, 362 (77%) had an SAH from a saccular aneurysm. Patients with saccular aneurysms were assigned equally to the clipping and the coiling cohorts (181 each). In each cohort, 3 patients died before treatment and 178 were treated. Of the 178 clip-assigned patients with saccular aneurysms, 1 (1%) was crossed over to coiling, and 64 (36%) of the 178 coil-assigned patients were crossed over to clipping. There was no statistically significant difference in poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) between these 2 treatment arms at any recorded time point during 6 years of follow-up. After the initial hospitalization, 1 of 241 (0.4%) clipped saccular aneurysms and 21 of 115 (18%) coiled saccular aneurysms required retreatment (p < 0.001). At the 6-year follow-up, 95% (95/100) of the clipped aneurysms were completely obliterated, compared with 40% (16/40) of the coiled aneurysms (p < 0.001). There was no difference in morbidity between the 2 treatment groups (p = 0.10).

CONCLUSIONS

In the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms enrolled in the BRAT, there was no significant difference between modified Rankin Scale outcomes at any follow-up time in patients with saccular aneurysms assigned to clipping compared with those assigned to coiling (intent-to-treat analysis). At the 6-year follow-up evaluation, rates of retreatment and complete aneurysm obliteration significantly favored patients who underwent clipping compared with those who underwent coiling.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Robert M. Starke, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Michael T. Lawton

It is with great pleasure that we present this Neurosurgical Focus video supplement on supratentorial cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). We were privileged to view a remarkable number of outstanding videos demonstrating current state-of-the-art management of brain AVMs using endovascular and microsurgical modalities. Careful and critical review was required to narrow down the submitted videos to a workable volume for this supplement, which reflects the excellent work being done at multiple centers with these lesions.

This issue consists of videos that represent modern microsurgical and neuroendovascular techniques for the treatment of supratentorial cerebral AVMs. The videos demonstrate cutting-edge therapies as well as standard ones, which will be valuable to both novice and expert neurointerventionists and neurosurgeons. We are honored to be involved with this project and proud of its content and expert authors. We believe you will enjoy the video content of this supplement and hope that it will raise the collective expertise of our community of AVM surgeons.

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Alfred P. See, Bruno C. Flores, Karam Moon, Andrew F. Ducruet, Robert F. Spetzler and Felipe C. Albuquerque

Supratentorial arteriovenous malformations in eloquent territories can be difficult to resect. This video presents the treatment of a patient with a symptomatic 3-cm arteriovenous malformation in the left motor strip. At the authors’ institution, per the surgeon’s discretion, preoperative angiography is performed to evaluate the need for preoperative embolization. Multimodality treatment reduced the microsurgical risk by allowing early occlusion of a draining vein, by decreasing overall intraoperative hemorrhage, and by allowing minimal pial dissection in the deep aspect of the arteriovenous malformation that abutted the corticospinal tract. The choice of embolysate was an additional nuance of the embolization.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/HWZ0RjgPEXg.

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Tibor Becske, Matthew B. Potts, Maksim Shapiro, David F. Kallmes, Waleed Brinjikji, Isil Saatci, Cameron G. McDougall, István Szikora, Giuseppe Lanzino, Christopher J. Moran, Henry H. Woo, Demetrius K. Lopes, Aaron L. Berez, Daniel J. Cher, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Felipe C. Albuquerque, David J. Fiorella, Zsolt Berentei, Miklós Marosföi, Saruhan H. Cekirge and Peter K. Nelson

OBJECTIVE

The long-term effectiveness of endovascular treatment of large and giant wide-neck aneurysms using traditional endovascular techniques has been disappointing, with high recanalization and re-treatment rates. Flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) has been recently used as a stand-alone therapy for complex aneurysms, showing significant improvement in effectiveness while demonstrating a similar safety profile to stent-supported coil treatment. However, relatively little is known about its long-term safety and effectiveness. Here the authors report on the 3-year safety and effectiveness of flow diversion with the PED in a prospective cohort of patients with large and giant internal carotid artery aneurysms enrolled in the Pipeline for Uncoilable or Failed Aneurysms (PUFS) trial.

METHODS

The PUFS trial is a prospective study of 107 patients with 109 aneurysms treated with the PED. Primary effectiveness and safety end points were demonstrated based on independently monitored 180-day clinical and angiographic data. Patients were enrolled in a long-term follow-up protocol including 1-, 3-, and 5-year clinical and imaging follow-up. In this paper, the authors report the midstudy (3-year) effectiveness and safety data.

RESULTS

At 3 years posttreatment, 74 subjects with 76 aneurysms underwent catheter angiography as required per protocol. Overall, complete angiographic aneurysm occlusion was observed in 71 of these 76 aneurysms (93.4% cure rate). Five aneurysms were re-treated, using either coils or additional PEDs, for failure to occlude, and 3 of these 5 were cured by the 3-year follow-up. Angiographic cure with one or two treatments of Pipeline embolization alone was therefore achieved in 92.1%. No recanalization of a previously completely occluded aneurysm was noted on the 3-year angiograms. There were 3 (2.6%) delayed device- or aneurysm-related serious adverse events, none of which led to permanent neurological sequelae. No major or minor late-onset hemorrhagic or ischemic cerebrovascular events or neurological deaths were observed in the 6-month through 3-year posttreatment period. Among 103 surviving patients, 85 underwent functional outcome assessment in which modified Rankin Scale scores of 0–1 were demonstrated in 80 subjects.

CONCLUSIONS

Pipeline embolization is safe and effective in the treatment of complex large and giant aneurysms of the intracranial internal carotid artery. Unlike more traditional endovascular treatments, flow diversion results in progressive vascular remodeling that leads to complete aneurysm obliteration over longer-term follow-up without delayed aneurysm recanalization and/or growth.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00777088 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Al-Wala Awad, Karam Moon, Nam Yoon, Marcus D. Mazur, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Philipp Taussky, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Min S. Park

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion has proven to be an efficacious means of treating cerebral aneurysms that are refractory to other therapeutic means. Patients with tandem aneurysms treated with flow diversion have been included in larger, previously reported series; however, there are no dedicated reports on using this technique during a single session to treat this unique subset of patients. Therefore, the authors analyzed the outcomes of patients who had undergone single-session flow diversion for the treatment of tandem aneurysms.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of flow diversion with the Pipeline embolization device (PED) for the treatment of tandem aneurysms in a single session at 2 participating medical centers: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona. Patient demographic data, aneurysm characteristics, treatment strategy and results, complications, and follow-up data were collected from the medical record and analyzed.

RESULTS

Between January 2011 and December 2015, 17 patients (12 female, 5 male) with a total of 38 aneurysms (mean size 4.7 ± 2.7 mm, mean ± SD) were treated. Sixteen patients had aneurysms in the anterior circulation, and 1 patient had tandem aneurysms in the posterior circulation. Twelve patients underwent only placement of a PED, whereas 5 underwent adjunctive coil embolization of at least 1 aneurysm. One PED was used in each of 9 patients, and 2 PEDs were required in each of 8 patients. There were 2 intraprocedural complications; however, in both instances, the patients were asymptomatic at the last follow-up. The follow-up imaging studies were available for 15 patients at a mean of 7 months after treatment (216 days, range 0–540 days). The mean initial Raymond score after treatment was 2.7 ± 0.7, and the mean final score was 1.3 ± 0.7.

CONCLUSIONS

In this series, the use of flow diversion for the treatment of tandem cerebral aneurysms had an acceptable safety profile, indicating that it should be considered as an effective therapy for this complicated subset of patients. Further prospective studies must be performed before more definitive conclusions can be made.

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Michael R. Levitt, Randall J. Hlubek, Karam Moon, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Kris A. Smith, Andrew S. Little, Kerry Knievel, Jane W. Chan, Cameron G. McDougall and Felipe C. Albuquerque

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral venous pressure gradient (CVPG) from dural venous sinus stenosis is implicated in headache syndromes such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The incidence of CVPG in headache patients has not been reported.

METHODS

The authors reviewed all cerebral venograms with manometry performed for headache between January 2008 and May 2015. Patient demographics, headache etiology, intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements, and radiographic and manometric results were recorded. CVPG was defined as a difference ≥ 8 mm Hg by venographic manometry.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty-four venograms were performed in 155 patients. There were no procedural complications. Ninety-six procedures (58.5%) were for patients with IIH. The overall incidence of CVPG was 25.6% (42 of 164 procedures): 35.4% (34 of 96 procedures) in IIH patients and 11.8% (8 of 68 procedures) in non-IIH patients. Sixty procedures (36.6%) were performed in patients with preexisting shunts. Seventy-seven patients (49.7%) had procedures preceded by an ICP measurement within 4 weeks of venography, and in 66 (85.7%) of these patients, the ICP had been found to be elevated. CVPG was seen in 8.3% (n = 5) of the procedures in the 60 patients with a preexisting shunt and in 0% (n = 0) of the 11 procedures in the 77 patients with normal ICP (p < 0.001 for both). Noninvasive imaging (MR venography, CT venography) was assessed prior to venography in 112 (68.3%) of 164 cases, and dural venous sinus abnormalities were demonstrated in 73 (65.2%) of these cases; there was a trend toward CVPG (p = 0.07). Multivariate analysis demonstrated an increased likelihood of CVPG in patients with IIH (OR 4.97, 95% CI 1.71–14.47) and a decreased likelihood in patients with a preexisting shunt (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.02–0.44).

CONCLUSIONS

CVPG is uncommon in IIH patients, rare in those with preexisting shunts, and absent in those with normal ICP.

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Christopher D. Wilson, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Hai Sun, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Yan D. Zhao, Michael R. Levitt, Ricardo A. Hanel, Eric Sauvageau, Timothy B. Mapstone, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Cameron G. McDougall, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) may be complicated by hydrocephalus in 6.5%–67% of cases. Some patients with aSAH develop shunt dependency, which is often managed by ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. The objectives of this study were to review published risk factors for shunt dependency in patients with aSAH, determine the level of evidence for each factor, and calculate the magnitude of each risk factor to better guide patient management.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed and MEDLINE databases for Level A and Level B articles published through December 31, 2014, that describe factors affecting shunt dependency after aSAH and performed a systematic review and meta-analysis, stratifying the existing data according to level of evidence.

RESULTS

On the basis of the results of the meta-analysis, risk factors for shunt dependency included high Fisher grade (OR 7.74, 95% CI 4.47–13.41), acute hydrocephalus (OR 5.67, 95% CI 3.96–8.12), in-hospital complications (OR 4.91, 95% CI 2.79–8.64), presence of intraventricular blood (OR 3.93, 95% CI 2.80–5.52), high Hunt and Hess Scale score (OR 3.25, 95% CI 2.51–4.21), rehemorrhage (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.24–3.95), posterior circulation location of the aneurysm (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.53), and age ≥ 60 years (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.50–2.19). The only risk factor included in the meta-analysis that did not reach statistical significance was female sex (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.77–1.65).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors identified several risk factors for shunt dependency in aSAH patients that help predict which patients are likely to require a permanent shunt. Although some of these risk factors are not independent of each other, this information assists clinicians in identifying at-risk patients and managing their treatment.

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Bradley A. Gross, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Karam Moon and Cameron G. McDougall

OBJECTIVE

Many small series and technical reports chronicle the evolution of endovascular techniques for cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) over the past 3 decades, but reports of large patient series are lacking. The authors provide a thorough analysis of clinical and angiographic outcomes across a large patient cohort.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their endovascular database from January 1996 to September 2015 to identify patients harboring cranial dAVFs who were treated initially with endovascular approaches. They extracted demographic, presentation, angiographic, detailed treatment, and long-term follow-up data, and they evaluated natural history, initial angiographic occlusion, complications, recurrence, and symptomatic resolution rates.

RESULTS

Across a cohort of 251 patients with 260 distinct dAVFs, the overall initial angiographic occlusion rate was 70%; recurrence or occult residual lesions were seen on subsequent angiography in 3% of cases. The overall complication rate was 8%, with permanent neurological complications occurring in 3% of cases. Among 102 patients with dAVFs without cortical venous reflux, rates of resolution/improvement of pulsatile tinnitus and ocular symptoms were 79% and 78%, respectively. Following the introduction of Onyx during the latter half of the study period, the number of treated dAVFs doubled; the initial angiographic occlusion rate increased significantly from 60% before the use of Onyx to 76% after (p = 0.01). In addition, during the latter period compared with the pre-Onyx period, the rate of dAVFs obliterated via a transarterial-only approach was significantly greater (43% vs 23%, p = 0.002), as was the number of dAVFs obliterated via a single arterial pedicle (29% vs 11%, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, in the Onyx era, the rate of initial angiographic occlusion was approximately 80%, as was the rate of meaningful clinical improvement in tinnitus and/or ocular symptoms after initial endovascular treatment of cranial dAVFs.

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Min S. Park, Michael Nanaszko, Matthew R. Sanborn, Karam Moon, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Cameron G. McDougall

OBJECT

The optimal strategy for use of the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED, ev3 Neurovascular) has not been clearly defined. The authors examined re-treatment rates after treatment with PED alone versus PED and adjunctive coil embolization (PED/coil).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined cerebral aneurysms treated with the PED from May 2011 to March 2014. Overall, 133 patients (25 men, 108 women; mean age 60.4 years, range 23–85 years) were treated for 140 aneurysms (mean size 11.8 ± 8.3 mm) requiring 224 PEDs (mean 1.7 PEDs per patient). Sixty-eight patients (13 men, 55 women) were treated with PED alone for 73 aneurysms (mean size 10.6 ± 9.2 mm) and 65 patients (12 men, 53 women) were treated with PED/coil for 67 aneurysms (mean size 12.8 ± 7.4 mm).

RESULTS

Eight aneurysms in 8 patients were re-treated in the PED-alone cohort versus only 1 aneurysm in 1 patient in the PED/coil cohort for re-treatment rates of 11.8% (8/68) and 1.5% (1/65), respectively (p = 0.03). Two patients in the PED-alone cohort were re-treated due to PED contraction, while the other 6 were re-treated for persistent filling of the aneurysms. The PED/coil patient experienced continued filling of a vertebrobasilar artery aneurysm. No aneurysms in either group ruptured after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

Adjunctive coil embolization during flow diversion with the PED resulted in a significantly lower re-treatment rate compared with PED alone, suggesting an added benefit with adjunctive coil embolization. This result may provide the basis for future evaluation with randomized, controlled trials.

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Tim E. Darsaut and Jean Raymond