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Rebecca M. Burke, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Thomas J. Buell, Jennifer D. Sokolowski, Cheng-Chia Lee, Hideyuki Kano, Kathryn N. Kearns, Shih-Wei Tzeng, Huai-che Yang, Paul P. Huang, Douglas Kondziolka, Natasha Ironside, David Mathieu, Christian Iorio-Morin, Inga S. Grills, Caleb Feliciano, Gene H. Barnett, Robert M. Starke, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a treatment option for pediatric brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and early obliteration could encourage SRS utilization for a subset of particularly radiosensitive lesions. The objective of this study was to determine predictors of early obliteration after SRS for pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation AVM database. Obliterated pediatric AVMs were sorted into early (obliteration ≤ 24 months after SRS) and late (obliteration > 24 months after SRS) responders. Predictors of early obliteration were identified, and the outcomes of each group were compared.

RESULTS

The overall study cohort was composed of 345 pediatric patients with obliterated AVMs. The early and late obliteration cohorts were made up of 95 (28%) and 250 (72%) patients, respectively. Independent predictors of early obliteration were female sex, a single SRS treatment, a higher margin dose, a higher isodose line, a deep AVM location, and a smaller AVM volume. The crude rate of post-SRS hemorrhage was 50% lower in the early (3.2%) than in the late (6.4%) obliteration cohorts, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.248). The other outcomes of the early versus late obliteration cohorts were similar, with respect to symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs), cyst formation, and tumor formation.

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately one-quarter of pediatric AVMs that become obliterated after SRS will achieve this radiological endpoint within 24 months of initial SRS. The authors identified multiple factors associated with early obliteration, which may aid in prognostication and management. The overall risks of delayed hemorrhage, RICs, cyst formation, and tumor formation were not statistically different in patients with early versus late obliteration.

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Jorge A. Roa, Mario Zanaty, Daizo Ishii, Yongjun Lu, David K. Kung, Robert M. Starke, James C. Torner, Pascal M. Jabbour, Edgar A. Samaniego and David M. Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Inflammation plays an integral role in the formation, growth, and progression to rupture of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). Animal and human studies have suggested that, due to its antiinflammatory effect, aspirin (ASA) may decrease the risks of growth and rupture of UIAs. High-resolution vessel wall imaging (HR-VWI) has emerged as a noninvasive method to assess vessel wall inflammation and UIA instability. To the authors’ knowledge, to date no studies have found a significant correlation between patient use of ASA and contrast enhancement of UIAs on HR-VWI.

METHODS

The University of Iowa HR-VWI Project database was analyzed. This database is a compilation of data on patients with UIAs who prospectively underwent HR-VWI on a 3T Siemens MRI scanner. The presence of aneurysmal wall enhancement was objectively defined using the aneurysm-to–pituitary stalk contrast ratio (CRstalk). This ratio was calculated by measuring the maximal signal intensity in the aneurysmal wall and the pituitary stalk on postcontrast T1-weighted images. Data on aneurysm size, morphology, and location and patient demographics and comorbidities were collected. Use of ASA was defined as daily intake of ≥ 81 mg during the previous 6 months or longer. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to determine factors independently associated with increased contrast enhancement of UIAs on HR-VWI.

RESULTS

In total, 74 patients harboring 96 UIAs were included in the study. The mean patient age was 64.7 ± 12.4 years, and 60 patients (81%) were women. Multivariate analysis showed that age (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.05–1.19), aneurysm size ≥ 7 mm (OR 21.3, 95% CI 4.88–92.8), and location in the anterior communicating, posterior communicating, and basilar arteries (OR 10.7, 95% CI 2.45–46.5) were significantly associated with increased wall enhancement on HR-VWI. On the other hand, use of ASA was significantly associated with decreased aneurysmal wall enhancement on HR-VWI (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.06–0.83, p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results establish a correlation between use of ASA daily for ≥ 6 months and significant decreases in wall enhancement of UIAs on HR-VWI. The findings also demonstrate that detection of wall enhancement using HR-MRI may be a valuable noninvasive method for assessing aneurysmal wall inflammation and UIA instability.

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Dallas L. Sheinberg, David J. McCarthy, Omar Elwardany, Jean-Paul Bryant, Evan Luther, Stephanie H. Chen, John W. Thompson and Robert M. Starke

Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction is known to contribute to cerebral aneurysm (CA) pathogenesis. Evidence shows that damage or injury to the EC layer is the first event in CA formation. The mechanisms behind EC dysfunction in CA disease are interrelated and include hemodynamic stress, hazardous nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, oxidative stress, estrogen imbalance, and endothelial cell-to-cell junction compromise. Abnormal variations in hemodynamic stress incite pathological EC transformation and inflammatory zone formation, ultimately leading to destruction of the vascular wall and aneurysm dilation. Hemodynamic stress activates key molecular pathways that result in the upregulation of chemotactic cytokines and adhesion molecules, leading to inflammatory cell recruitment and infiltration. Concurrently, oxidative stress damages EC-to-EC junction proteins, resulting in interendothelial gap formation. This further promotes leukocyte traffic into the vessel wall and the release of matrix metalloproteinases, which propagates vascular remodeling and breakdown. Abnormal hemodynamic stress and inflammation also trigger adverse changes in NOS activity, altering proper EC mediation of vascular tone and the local inflammatory environment. Additionally, the vasoprotective hormone estrogen modulates gene expression that often suppresses these harmful processes. Crosstalk between these sophisticated pathways contributes to CA initiation, progression, and rupture. This review aims to outline the complex mechanisms of EC dysfunction in CA pathogenesis.

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John W. Thompson, Omar Elwardany, David J. McCarthy, Dallas L. Sheinberg, Carlos M. Alvarez, Ahmed Nada, Brian M. Snelling, Stephanie H. Chen, Samir Sur and Robert M. Starke

Cerebral aneurysm rupture is a devastating event resulting in subarachnoid hemorrhage and is associated with significant morbidity and death. Up to 50% of individuals do not survive aneurysm rupture, with the majority of survivors suffering some degree of neurological deficit. Therefore, prior to aneurysm rupture, a large number of diagnosed patients are treated either microsurgically via clipping or endovascularly to prevent aneurysm filling. With the advancement of endovascular surgical techniques and devices, endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms is becoming the first-line therapy at many hospitals. Despite this fact, a large number of endovascularly treated patients will have aneurysm recanalization and progression and will require retreatment. The lack of approved pharmacological interventions for cerebral aneurysms and the need for retreatment have led to a growing interest in understanding the molecular, cellular, and physiological determinants of cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis, maturation, and rupture. To this end, the use of animal cerebral aneurysm models has contributed significantly to our current understanding of cerebral aneurysm biology and to the development of and training in endovascular devices. This review summarizes the small and large animal models of cerebral aneurysm that are being used to explore the pathophysiology of cerebral aneurysms, as well as the development of novel endovascular devices for aneurysm treatment.

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Allan D. Levi, Robert M. Starke, Ricardo J. Komotar and Robert E. Harbaugh

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David Hasan, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Amit Singla, Waldo R. Guerrero, Daichi Nakagawa, Edgar A. Samaniego, Nnenna Mbabuike, Rabih G. Tawk, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Roberta L. Novakovic, Jonathan White, Clemens M. Schirmer, Thomas G. Brott, Hussain Shallwani and L. Nelson Hopkins

OBJECTIVE

The overall risk of ischemic stroke from a chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) is around 5%–7% per year despite receiving the best available medical therapy. Here, authors propose a radiographic classification of COICA that can be used as a guide to determine the technical success and safety of endovascular recanalization for symptomatic COICA and to assess the changes in systemic blood pressure following successful revascularization.

METHODS

The radiographic images of 100 consecutive subjects with COICA were analyzed. A new classification of COICA was proposed based on the morphology, location of occlusion, and presence or absence of reconstitution of the distal ICA. The classification was used to predict successful revascularization in 32 symptomatic COICAs in 31 patients, five of whom were female (5/31 [16.13%]). Patients were included in the study if they had a COICA with ischemic symptoms refractory to medical therapy. Carotid artery occlusion was defined as 100% cross-sectional occlusion of the vessel lumen as documented on CTA or MRA and confirmed by digital subtraction angiography.

RESULTS

Four types (A–D) of radiographic COICA were identified. Types A and B were more amenable to safe revascularization than types C and D. Recanalization was successful at a rate of 68.75% (22/32 COICAs; type A: 8/8; type B: 8/8; type C: 4/8; type D: 2/8). The perioperative complication rate was 18.75% (6/32; type A: 0/8 [0%]; type B: 1/8 [12.50%]; type C: 3/8 [37.50%], type D: 2/8 [25.00%]). None of these complications led to permanent morbidity or death. Twenty (64.52%) of 31 subjects had improvement in their symptoms at the 2–6 months’ follow-up. A statistically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was noted in 17/21 (80.95%) patients who had successful revascularization, which persisted on follow-up (p = 0.0001). The remaining 10 subjects in whom revascularization failed had no significant changes in SBP (p = 0.73).

CONCLUSIONS

The pilot study suggested that our proposed classification of COICA may be useful as an adjunctive guide to determine the technical feasibility and safety of revascularization for symptomatic COICA using endovascular techniques. Additionally, successful revascularization may lead to a significant decrease in SBP postprocedure. A Phase 2b trial in larger cohorts to assess the efficacy of endovascular revascularization using our COICA classification is warranted.

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Badih Daou, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Jeffrey Oliver, Maria Montano, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris

OBJECTIVE

The Pipeline embolization device (PED) has become a valuable tool in the treatment of cerebral aneurysms. Although failures with PED treatment have been reported, the characteristics and course of these aneurysms remain a topic of uncertainty.

METHODS

Electronic medical records and imaging studies were reviewed for all patients treated with the PED between July 2010 and March 2015 to identify characteristics of patients and aneurysms with residual filling after PED treatment.

RESULTS

Of 316 cases treated at a single institution, 281 patients had a long-term follow-up. A total of 52 (16.4%) aneurysms with residual filling were identified and constituted the study population. The mean patient age in this population was 58.8 years. The mean aneurysm size was 10.1 mm ± 7.15 mm. Twelve aneurysms were fusiform (23%). Of the aneurysms with residual filling, there were 20 carotid ophthalmic (CO) aneurysms (20% of all CO aneurysms treated), 10 other paraclinoid aneurysms (16.4% of all paraclinoid aneurysms), 7 posterior communicating artery (PCoA) aneurysms (21.9% of all PCoA aneurysms), 7 cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms (14.9% of all cavernous ICA aneurysms), 4 vertebrobasilar (VB) junction aneurysms (14.8% of all VB junction aneurysms), and 3 middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms (25% of all MCA aneurysms). Eleven patients underwent placement of more than one PED (21.2%), with a mean number of devices of 1.28 per case. Eight of 12 aneurysms were previously treated with a stent (15.4%). Nineteen patients underwent re-treatment (36.5%); the 33 patients who did not undergo re-treatment (63.5%) were monitored by angiography or noninvasive imaging. In multivariate analysis, age older than 65 years (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.33–5.28; p = 0.05), prior stent placement across the target aneurysm (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.15–7.51; p = 0.02), aneurysm location in the distal anterior circulation (MCA, PCoA, and anterior choroidal artery: OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.19–6.18; p = 0.017), and longer follow-up duration (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03–1.09; p < 0.001) were associated with incomplete aneurysm occlusion.

CONCLUSIONS

While the PED can allow for treatment of large, broad-necked aneurysms with high efficacy, treatment failures do occur (16.4%). Aneurysm size, shape, and previous treatment may influence treatment outcome.

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Badih Daou, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Jeffrey Oliver, Maria Montano, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris

OBJECTIVE

The Pipeline embolization device (PED) has become a valuable tool in the treatment of cerebral aneurysms. Although failures with PED treatment have been reported, the characteristics and course of these aneurysms remain a topic of uncertainty.

METHODS

Electronic medical records and imaging studies were reviewed for all patients treated with the PED between July 2010 and March 2015 to identify characteristics of patients and aneurysms with residual filling after PED treatment.

RESULTS

Of 316 cases treated at a single institution, 281 patients had a long-term follow-up. A total of 52 (16.4%) aneurysms with residual filling were identified and constituted the study population. The mean patient age in this population was 58.8 years. The mean aneurysm size was 10.1 mm ± 7.15 mm. Twelve aneurysms were fusiform (23%). Of the aneurysms with residual filling, there were 20 carotid ophthalmic (CO) aneurysms (20% of all CO aneurysms treated), 10 other paraclinoid aneurysms (16.4% of all paraclinoid aneurysms), 7 posterior communicating artery (PCoA) aneurysms (21.9% of all PCoA aneurysms), 7 cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms (14.9% of all cavernous ICA aneurysms), 4 vertebrobasilar (VB) junction aneurysms (14.8% of all VB junction aneurysms), and 3 middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms (25% of all MCA aneurysms). Eleven patients underwent placement of more than one PED (21.2%), with a mean number of devices of 1.28 per case. Eight of 12 aneurysms were previously treated with a stent (15.4%). Nineteen patients underwent re-treatment (36.5%); the 33 patients who did not undergo re-treatment (63.5%) were monitored by angiography or noninvasive imaging. In multivariate analysis, age older than 65 years (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.33–5.28; p = 0.05), prior stent placement across the target aneurysm (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.15–7.51; p = 0.02), aneurysm location in the distal anterior circulation (MCA, PCoA, and anterior choroidal artery: OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.19–6.18; p = 0.017), and longer follow-up duration (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03–1.09; p < 0.001) were associated with incomplete aneurysm occlusion.

CONCLUSIONS

While the PED can allow for treatment of large, broad-necked aneurysms with high efficacy, treatment failures do occur (16.4%). Aneurysm size, shape, and previous treatment may influence treatment outcome.

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Christoph J. Griessenauer, Robert M. Starke, Paul M. Foreman, Philipp Hendrix, Mark R. Harrigan, Winfield S. Fisher III, Nilesh A. Vyas, Robert H. Lipsky, Mingkuan Lin, Beverly C. Walters, Jean-Francois Pittet and Mali Mathru

OBJECTIVE

Endothelin-1, a potent vasoconstrictor, and its receptors may be involved in the pathogenesis of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), clinical vasospasm, delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), and functional outcome following aSAH. In the present study, common endothelin single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their relation to aSAH were evaluated.

METHODS

Blood samples from all patients enrolled in the Cerebral Aneurysm Renin Angiotensin System (CARAS) study were used for genetic evaluation. The CARAS study prospectively enrolled patients with aSAH at 2 academic institutions in the US from 2012 to 2015. Common endothelin SNPs were detected using 5′ exonnuclease (TaqMan) genotyping assays. Analysis of associations between endothelin SNPs and aSAH and its clinical sequelae was performed.

RESULTS

Samples from 149 patients with aSAH and 50 controls were available for analysis. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, the TG (odds ratio [OR] 2.102, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.048–4.218, p = 0.036) and TT genotypes (OR 7.884, 95% CI 1.003–61.995, p = 0.05) of the endothelin-1 T/G SNP (rs1800541) were significantly associated with aSAH. There was a dominant effect of the G allele (CG/GG genotypes; OR 4.617, 95% CI 1.311–16.262, p = 0.017) of the endothelin receptor A G/C SNP (rs5335) on clinical vasospasm. Endothelin SNPs were not associated with DCI or functional outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Common endothelin SNPs were found to be associated with presentation with aSAH and clinical vasospasm. Further studies are required to elucidate the relevant pathophysiology and its potential implications in the treatment of patients with aSAH.

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

OBJECTIVE

The role of and technique for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have evolved over the past four decades. The aim of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study was to compare the SRS outcomes of AVMs treated during different time periods.

METHODS

The authors selected patients with AVMs who underwent single-session SRS at 8 different centers from 1988 to 2014 with follow-up ≥ 6 months. The SRS eras were categorized as early (1988–2000) or modern (2001–2014). Statistical analyses were performed to compare the baseline characteristics and outcomes of the early versus modern SRS eras. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs).

RESULTS

The study cohort comprised 2248 patients with AVMs, including 1584 in the early and 664 in the modern SRS eras. AVMs in the early SRS era were significantly smaller (p < 0.001 for maximum diameter and volume), and they were treated with a significantly higher radiosurgical margin dose (p < 0.001). The obliteration rate was significantly higher in the early SRS era (65% vs 51%, p < 0.001), and earlier SRS treatment period was an independent predictor of obliteration in the multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). The rates of post-SRS hemorrhage and radiological, symptomatic, and permanent RICs were not significantly different between the two groups. Favorable outcome was achieved in a significantly higher proportion of patients in the early SRS era (61% vs 45%, p < 0.001), but the earlier SRS era was not statistically significant in the multivariate analysis (p = 0.470) with favorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite considerable advances in SRS technology, refinement of AVM selection, and contemporary multimodality AVM treatment, the study failed to observe substantial improvements in SRS favorable outcomes or obliteration for patients with AVMs over time. Differences in baseline AVM characteristics and SRS treatment parameters may partially account for the significantly lower obliteration rates in the modern SRS era. However, improvements in patient selection and dose planning are necessary to optimize the utility of SRS in the contemporary management of AVMs.