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Ching-Jen Chen, Pedro Norat, Dale Ding, George A. C. Mendes, Petr Tvrdik, Min S. Park and M. Yashar Kalani

Endovascular embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is conventionally performed from a transarterial approach. Transarterial AVM embolization can be a standalone treatment or, more commonly, used as a neoadjuvant therapy prior to microsurgery or stereotactic radiosurgery. In contrast to the transarterial approach, curative embolization of AVMs may be more readily achieved from a transvenous approach. Transvenous embolization is considered a salvage therapy in contemporary AVM management. Proposed indications for this approach include a small (diameter < 3 cm) and compact AVM nidus, deep AVM location, hemorrhagic presentation, single draining vein, lack of an accessible arterial pedicle, exclusive arterial supply by perforators, and en passage feeding arteries. Available studies of transvenous AVM embolization in the literature have reported high complete obliteration rates, with reasonably low complication rates. However, evaluating the efficacy and safety of this approach is challenging due to the limited number of published cases. In this review the authors describe the technical considerations, indications, and outcomes of transvenous AVM embolization.

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Adeel Ilyas, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Andrew Romeo, Thomas J. Buell, Tony R. Wang, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and a significant source of long-term morbidity. Unfortunately, a substantial number of stroke patients either are ineligible or do not significantly benefit from contemporary medical and interventional therapies. To address this void, investigators recently made technological advances to render transcranial MR-guided, high-intensity focused ultrasound (MRg-HIFU) sonolysis a potential therapeutic option for both acute ischemic stroke (AIS)—as an alternative for patients with emergent large-vessel occlusion (ELVO) who are ineligible for endovascular mechanical thrombectomy (EMT) or as salvage therapy for patients in whom EMT fails—and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)—as a neoadjuvant means of clot lysis prior to surgical evacuation. Herein, the authors review the technological principles behind MRg-HIFU sonolysis, its results in in vitro and in vivo stroke models, and its potential clinical applications. As a noninvasive transcranial technique that affords rapid clot lysis, MRg-HIFU thrombolysis may develop into a therapeutic option for patients with AIS or ICH. However, additional studies of transcranial MRg-HIFU are necessary to ascertain the merit of this treatment approach for thrombolysis in both AIS and ICH, as well as its technical limitations and risks.

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Kenneth C. Liu, Robert M. Starke, Christopher R. Durst, Tony R. Wang, Dale Ding, R. Webster Crowley and Steven A. Newman

OBJECTIVE

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) may cause blindness due to elevated intracranial pressure (ICP). Venous sinus stenosis has been identified in select patients, leading to stenting as a potential treatment, but its effects on global ICP have not been completely defined. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the effects of venous sinus stenting on ICP in a small group of patients with IIH.

METHODS

Ten patients for whom medical therapy had failed were prospectively followed. Ophthalmological examinations were assessed, and patients with venous sinus stenosis on MR angiography proceeded to catheter angiography, venography with assessment of pressure gradient, and ICP monitoring. Patients with elevated ICP measurements and an elevated pressure gradient across the stenosis were treated with stent placement.

RESULTS

All patients had elevated venous pressure (mean 39.5 ± 14.9 mm Hg), an elevated gradient across the venous sinus stenosis (30.0 ± 13.2 mm Hg), and elevated ICP (42.2 ± 15.9 mm Hg). Following stent placement, all patients had resolution of the stenosis and gradient (1 ± 1 mm Hg). The ICP values showed an immediate decrease (to a mean of 17.0 ± 8.3 mm Hg), and further decreased overnight (to a mean of 8 ± 4.2 mm Hg). All patients had subjective and objective improvement, and all but one improved during follow-up (median 23.4 months; range 15.7–31.6 months). Two patients developed stent-adjacent stenosis; retreatment abolished the stenosis and gradient in both cases. Patients presenting with papilledema had resolution on follow-up funduscopic imaging and optical coherence tomography (OCT) and improvement on visual field testing. Patients presenting with optic atrophy had optic nerve thinning on follow-up OCT, but improved visual fields.

CONCLUSIONS

For selected patients with IIH and venous sinus stenosis with an elevated pressure gradient and elevated ICP, venous sinus stenting results in resolution of the venous pressure gradient, reduction in ICP, and functional, neurological, and ophthalmological improvement. As patients are at risk for stent-adjacent stenosis, further follow-up is necessary to determine long-term outcomes and gain an understanding of venous sinus stenosis as a primary or secondary pathological process behind elevated ICP.

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Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, John Y. K. Lee, David Mathieu, John Pierce, Paul P. Huang, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Douglas Kondziolka, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Because of the angioarchitectural diversity of Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade III arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), the management of these lesions is incompletely defined. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study were to evaluate the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for SM Grade III AVMs and to determine the factors predicting these outcomes.

METHODS

The authors analyzed and pooled data from patients with SM Grade III AVMs treated with SRS at 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with these AVMs and a minimum follow-up length of 12 months were included in the study cohort. An optimal outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs). Data were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression analyses.

RESULTS

The SM Grade III AVM cohort comprised 891 patients with a mean age of 34 years at the time of SRS. The mean nidus volume, radiosurgical margin dose, and follow-up length were 4.5 cm3, 20 Gy, and 89 months, respectively. The actuarial obliteration rates at 5 and 10 years were 63% and 78%, respectively. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.2%. Symptomatic and permanent RICs were observed in 11% and 4% of the patients, respectively. Optimal outcome was achieved in 56% of the patients and was significantly more frequent in cases of unruptured AVMs (OR 2.3, p < 0.001). The lack of a previous hemorrhage (p = 0.037), absence of previous AVM embolization (p = 0.002), smaller nidus volume (p = 0.014), absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms (p = 0.023), and higher margin dose (p < 0.001) were statistically significant independent predictors of optimal outcome in a multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery provided better outcomes for patients with small, unruptured SM Grade III AVMs than for large or ruptured SM Grade III nidi. A prospective trial or registry that facilitates a comparison of SRS with conservative AVM management might further clarify the authors' observations for these often high-risk AVMs.

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Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, David Mathieu, Paul P. Huang, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Douglas Kondziolka, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are the most common cause of spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage in pediatric patients (age < 18 years). Since the cumulative lifetime risk of AVM hemorrhage is considerable in children, an improved understanding of the risk factors influencing hemorrhagic presentation may aid in the management of pediatric AVMs. The aims of this first of a 2-part multicenter, retrospective cohort study are to evaluate the incidence and determine the predictors of hemorrhagic presentation in pediatric AVM patients.

METHODS

The authors analyzed pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 7 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF). Patients younger than 18 years at the time of radiosurgery and who had at least 12 months of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Patient and AVM characteristics were compared between unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs.

RESULTS

A total of 357 pediatric patients were eligible for analysis, including 112 patients in the unruptured and 245 patients in the ruptured AVM cohorts (69% incidence of hemorrhagic presentation). The annual hemorrhage rate prior to radiosurgery was 6.3%. Hemorrhagic presentation was significantly more common in deep locations (basal ganglia, thalamus, and brainstem) than in cortical locations (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes) (76% vs 62%, p = 0.006). Among the factors found to be significantly associated with hemorrhagic presentation in the multivariate logistic regression analysis, deep venous drainage (OR 3.2, p < 0.001) was the strongest independent predictor, followed by female sex (OR 1.7, p = 0.042) and smaller AVM volume (OR 1.1, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs have significantly different patient and nidal features. Pediatric AVM patients who possess 1 or more of these high-risk features may be candidates for relatively more aggressive management strategies.

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Robert M. Starke, Dale Ding, Hideyuki Kano, David Mathieu, Paul P. Huang, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Douglas Kondziolka, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric patients (age < 18 years) harboring brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are burdened with a considerably higher cumulative lifetime risk of hemorrhage than adults. Additionally, the pediatric population was excluded from recent prospective comparisons of intervention versus conservative management for unruptured AVMs. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study are to analyze the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery for unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

We analyzed and pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 7 participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients younger than 18 years of age who had at least 12 months of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-radiosurgical hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC). The post-radiosurgery outcomes of unruptured versus ruptured pediatric AVMs were compared, and statistical analyses were performed to identify predictive factors.

RESULTS

The overall pediatric AVM cohort comprised 357 patients with a mean age of 12.6 years (range 2.8–17.9 years). AVMs were previously treated with embolization, resection, and fractionated external beam radiation therapy in 22%, 6%, and 13% of patients, respectively. The mean nidus volume was 3.5 cm3, 77% of AVMs were located in eloquent brain areas, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 59%. The mean radiosurgical margin dose was 21 Gy (range 5–35 Gy), and the mean follow-up was 92 months (range 12–266 months). AVM obliteration was achieved in 63%. During a cumulative latency period of 2748 years, the annual post-radiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4%. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 8% and 3%, respectively. Favorable outcome was achieved in 59%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the absence of prior AVM embolization (p = 0.001) and higher margin dose (p < 0.001) were found to be independent predictors of a favorable outcome. The rates of favorable outcome for patients treated with a margin dose ≥ 22 Gy vs < 22 Gy were 78% (110/141 patients) and 47% (101/216 patients), respectively. A margin dose ≥ 22 Gy yielded a significantly higher probability of a favorable outcome (p < 0.001). The unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVM cohorts included 112 and 245 patients, respectively. Ruptured AVMs had significantly higher rates of obliteration (68% vs 53%, p = 0.005) and favorable outcome (63% vs 51%, p = 0.033), with a trend toward a higher incidence of post-radiosurgery hemorrhage (10% vs 4%, p = 0.07). The annual post-radiosurgery hemorrhage rates were 0.8% for unruptured and 1.6% for ruptured AVMs.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiosurgery is a reasonable treatment option for pediatric AVMs. Obliteration and favorable outcomes are achieved in the majority of patients. The annual rate of latency period hemorrhage after radiosurgery for both ruptured and unruptured pediatric AVM patients conveys a significant risk until the nidus is obliterated.

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Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, Dale Ding, John Y. K. Lee, David Mathieu, Jamie Whitesell, John T. Pierce, Paul P. Huang, Douglas Kondziolka, Chun-Po Yen, Caleb Feliciano, Rafael Rodgriguez-Mercado, Luis Almodovar, Daniel R. Pieper, Inga S. Grills, Danilo Silva, Mahmoud Abbassy, Symeon Missios, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

In this multicenter study, the authors reviewed the results following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), determined predictors of outcome, and assessed predictive value of commonly used grading scales based upon this large cohort with long-term follow-up.

METHODS

Data from a cohort of 2236 patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral AVMs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and AVM characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome, and commonly used grading scales were assessed.

RESULTS

The mean maximum AVM diameter was 2.3 cm, with a mean volume of 4.3 cm3. A mean margin dose of 20.5 Gy was delivered. Mean follow-up was 7 years (range 1–20 years). Overall obliteration was 64.7%. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 165 patients (annual risk 1.1%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 29.2%; 9.7% were symptomatic, and 2.7% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 60.3% of patients. Patients with prior nidal embolization (OR 2.1, p < 0.001), prior AVM hemorrhage (OR 1.3, p = 0.007), eloquent location (OR 1.3, p = 0.029), higher volume (OR 1.01, p < 0.001), lower margin dose (OR 0.9, p < 0.001), and more isocenters (OR 1.1, p = 0.011) were more likely to have unfavorable outcomes in multivariate analysis. The Spetzler-Martin grade and radiosurgery-based AVM score predicted outcome, but the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale provided the best assessment.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for cerebral AVMs achieves obliteration and avoids permanent complications in the majority of patients. Patient, AVM, and treatment parameters can be used to predict long-term outcomes following radiosurgery.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Michael J. Feldman, Herui Wang, Dale Ding and Prashant Chittiboina

The presence of vestibular schwannomas has long been considered an exclusion criterion for the diagnosis of schwannomatosis. Recently, 2 cases of vestibular schwannoma were reported in patients with schwannomatosis, leading to a revision of the diagnostic criteria for this genetic disorder. Overall, the relative infrequency of vestibular schwannomas in schwannomatosis is unexplained, and the genetics of this uncommon phenomenon have not been described. The authors report on a family with clinical manifestations consistent with schwannomatosis, including 4 affected members, that was identified as having an affected member harboring a unilateral cerebellopontine angle mass with extension into the internal auditory canal. Radiologically, this mass was consistent with a vestibular schwannoma and resulted in a symptomatic change in ipsilateral hearing (word recognition 86% at 52 dB) and increased latency of the wave I–V interval on auditory brainstem response testing. The patient was found to be negative for a germline mutation of NF2 and LZTR1, and her affected mother was found to harbor neither NF2 nor SMARCB1 mutations on genetic testing. Although vestibular schwannomas have been classically considered to not occur in the setting of schwannomatosis, this patient with schwannomatosis and a vestibular schwannoma further confirms that schwannomas can occur on the vestibular nerve in this syndrome. Further, this is the first such case found to be negative for a mutation on the LZTR1 gene.