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Evgenii Belykh, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Kaan Yagmurlu, Rami O. Almefty, Hai Sun, Kaith K. Almefty, Olga Belykh, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Microvascular anastomosis is a basic neurosurgical technique that should be mastered in the laboratory. Human and bovine placentas have been proposed as convenient surgical practice models; however, the histologic characteristics of these tissues have not been compared with human cerebral vessels, and the models have not been validated as simulation training models. In this study, the authors assessed the construct, face, and content validities of microvascular bypass simulation models that used human and bovine placental vessels.

METHODS

The characteristics of vessel segments from 30 human and 10 bovine placentas were assessed anatomically and histologically. Microvascular bypasses were performed on the placenta models according to a delineated training module by “trained” participants (10 practicing neurosurgeons and 7 residents with microsurgical experience) and “untrained” participants (10 medical students and 3 residents without experience). Anastomosis performance and impressions of the model were assessed using the Northwestern Objective Microanastomosis Assessment Tool (NOMAT) scale and a posttraining survey.

RESULTS

Human placental arteries were found to approximate the M2–M4 cerebral and superficial temporal arteries, and bovine placental veins were found to approximate the internal carotid and radial arteries. The mean NOMAT performance score was 37.2 ± 7.0 in the untrained group versus 62.7 ± 6.1 in the trained group (p < 0.01; construct validity). A 50% probability of allocation to either group corresponded to 50 NOMAT points. In the posttraining survey, 16 of 17 of the trained participants (94%) scored the model's replication of real bypass surgery as high, and 16 of 17 (94%) scored the difficulty as “the same” (face validity). All participants, 30 of 30 (100%), answered positively to questions regarding the ability of the model to improve microsurgical technique (content validity).

CONCLUSIONS

Human placental arteries and bovine placental veins are convenient, anatomically relevant, and beneficial models for microneurosurgical training. Microanastomosis simulation using these models has high face, content, and construct validities. A NOMAT score of more than 50 indicated successful performance of the microanastomosis tasks.

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Ali M. Elhadi, Joseph M. Zabramski, Kaith K. Almefty, George A. C. Mendes, Peter Nakaji, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Mark C. Preul and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECT

Hemorrhagic origin is unidentifiable in 10%–20% of patients presenting with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). While the patients in such cases do well clinically, there is a lack of long-term angiographic followup. The authors of the present study evaluated the long-term clinical and angiographic follow-up of a patient cohort with SAH of unknown origin that had been enrolled in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT).

METHODS

The BRAT database was searched for patients with SAH of unknown origin despite having undergone two or more angiographic studies as well as MRI of the brain and cervical spine. Follow-up was available at 6 months and 1 and 3 years after treatment. Analysis included demographic details, clinical outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale, modified Rankin Scale [mRS]), and repeat vascular imaging.

RESULTS

Subarachnoid hemorrhage of unknown etiology was identified in 57 (11.9%) of the 472 patients enrolled in the BRAT study between March 2003 and January 2007. The mean age for this group was 51 years, and 40 members (70%) of the group were female. Sixteen of 56 patients (28.6%) required placement of an external ventricular drain for hydrocephalus, and 4 of these subsequently required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Delayed cerebral ischemia occurred in 4 patients (7%), leading to stroke in one of them. There were no rebleeding events. Eleven patients were lost to followup, and one patient died of unrelated causes. At the 3-year follow-up, 4 (9.1%) of 44 patients had a poor outcome (mRS > 2), and neurovascular imaging, which was available in 33 patients, was negative.

CONCLUSIONS

Hydrocephalus and delayed cerebral ischemia, while infrequent, do occur in SAH of unknown origin. Long-term neurological outcomes are generally good. A thorough evaluation to rule out an etiology of hemorrhage is necessary; however, imaging beyond 6 weeks from ictus has little utility, and rebleeding is unexpected.