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Mahsa Dabagh, Priya Nair, John Gounley, David Frakes, L. Fernando Gonzalez and Amanda Randles

The growth of cerebral aneurysms is linked to local hemodynamic conditions, but the driving mechanisms of the growth are poorly understood. The goal of this study was to examine the association between intraaneurysmal hemodynamic features and areas of aneurysm growth, to present the key hemodynamic parameters essential for an accurate prediction of the growth, and to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Patient-specific images of a growing cerebral aneurysm in 3 different growth stages acquired over a period of 40 months were segmented and reconstructed. A unique aspect of this patient-specific case study was that while one side of the aneurysm stayed stable, the other side continued to grow. This unique case enabled the authors to examine their aims in the same patient with parent and daughter arteries under the same inlet flow conditions. Pulsatile flow in the aneurysm models was simulated using computational fluid dynamics and was validated with in vitro experiments using particle image velocimetry measurements. The authors’ detailed analysis of intrasaccular hemodynamics linked the growing regions of aneurysms to flow instabilities and complex vortex structures. Extremely low velocities were observed at or around the center of the unstable vortex structure, which matched well with the growing regions of the studied cerebral aneurysm. Furthermore, the authors observed that the aneurysm wall regions with a growth greater than 0.5 mm coincided with wall regions of lower (< 0.5 Pa) time-averaged wall shear stress (TAWSS), lower instantaneous (< 0.5 Pa) wall shear stress (WSS), and high (> 0.1) oscillatory shear index (OSI). To determine which set of parameters can best identify growing and nongrowing aneurysms, the authors performed statistical analysis for consecutive stages of the growing CA. The results demonstrated that the combination of TAWSS and the distance from the center of the vortical structure has the highest sensitivity and positive predictive value, and relatively high specificity and negative predictive value. These findings suggest that an unstable, recirculating flow structure within the aneurysm sac created in the region adjacent to the aneurysm wall with low TAWSS may be introduced as an accurate criterion to explain the hemodynamic conditions predisposing the aneurysm to growth. The authors’ findings are based on one patient’s data set, but the study lays out the justification for future large-scale verification. The authors’ findings can assist clinicians in differentiating stable and growing aneurysms during preinterventional planning.

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David A. Steinman and Vitor M. Pereira

Computational modeling of cerebral aneurysms, derived from clinical 3D angiography, has become widespread over the past 15 years. While such “image-based” or “patient-specific” models have shown promise for the assessment of rupture risk, much debate remains about their reliability in light of necessary modeling assumptions and incomplete or uncertain model input parameters derived from the clinic. The aims of this review were to walk through the various steps of this so-called patient-specific modeling pipeline and to highlight evidence supporting those steps that we can or cannot rely on. The relative importance of the different sources of error and variability on hemodynamic predictions is summarized, with recommendations to standardize for those that can be avoided and to pay closer attention those to that cannot.

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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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Bart M. W. Cornelissen, Eva L. Leemans, Bram F. Coolen, Eva S. Peper, René van den Berg, Henk A. Marquering, Cornelis H. Slump and Charles B. L. M. Majoie

OBJECTIVE

MR vessel wall imaging (VWI) is increasingly performed in clinical settings to support treatment decision-making regarding intracranial aneurysms. Aneurysm wall enhancement after contrast agent injection is expected to be related to aneurysm instability and rupture status. However, the authors hypothesize that slow-flow artifacts mimic aneurysm wall enhancement. Therefore, in this phantom study they assess the effect of slow flow on wall-like enhancement by using different MR VWI techniques.

METHODS

The authors developed an MR-compatible aneurysm phantom model, which was connected to a pump to enable pulsatile inflow conditions. For VWI, 3D turbo spin echo sequences—both with and without motion-sensitized driven equilibrium (MSDE) and delay alternating with nutation for tailored excitation (DANTE) preparation pulses—were performed using a 3-T MR scanner. VWI was acquired both before and after Gd contrast agent administration by using two different pulsatile inflow conditions (2.5 ml/sec peak flow at 77 and 48 beats per minute). The intraluminal signal intensity along the aneurysm wall was analyzed to assess the performance of slow-flow suppression.

RESULTS

The authors observed wall-like enhancement after contrast agent injection, especially in low pump rate settings. Preparation pulses, in particular the DANTE technique, improved the performance of slow-flow suppression.

CONCLUSIONS

Near-wall slow flow mimics wall enhancement in VWI protocols. Therefore, VWI should be carefully interpreted. Preparation pulses improve slow-flow suppression, and therefore the authors encourage further development and clinical implementation of these techniques.

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Peyton L. Nisson, Robert T. Wicks, Xiaochun Zhao, Whitney S. James, David Xu and Peter Nakaji

Cavernous malformations of the brain are low-flow vascular lesions that have a propensity to hemorrhage. Extensive surgical approaches are often required for operative cure of deep-seated lesions. A 23-year-old female presented with a cavernous malformation of the left posterior insula with surrounding hematoma measuring up to 3 cm. A minimally invasive (mini-)pterional craniotomy with a transsylvian approach was selected. Endoscopic assistance was utilized to confirm complete resection of the lesion. The minipterional craniotomy is a minimally invasive approach that provides optimal exposure for sylvian fissure dissection and resection of many temporal and insular lesions.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/9z6_EhU6lxs.

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Eva L. Leemans, Bart M. W. Cornelissen, Miran Said, René van den Berg, Cornelis H. Slump, Henk A. Marquering and Charles B. L. M. Majoie

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have shown a relation between growth and rupture of intracranial aneurysms. Additionally, several morphological characteristics are frequently measured to estimate rupture risk. Little is known about how the rupture risk is associated with morphological characteristic changes during growth. The aim of this study was to provide insights into how morphological characteristics, associated with rupture, change during an aneurysm’s growth.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified patients with longitudinal MRA images of unruptured growing aneurysms. The MRA images had an in-plane resolution of 0.2–0.5 mm and a slice thickness of 0.2–0.75 mm. Therefore, growth was defined as an increase of at least 0.5 mm in two directions or 1 mm in one direction. Using the MRA images, the authors semiautomatically segmented the aneurysm and the perianeurysmal vasculature. Twelve morphological characteristics were automatically measured. These characteristics were related to size (diameter, height, width, neck diameter, volume, surface area, aspect ratio, height-width ratio, and bottleneck factor) and shape (ellipticity index, nonsphericity index, and undulation index) of the aneurysm. Morphological characteristics before and after growth were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

RESULTS

The authors included 31 patients with 38 growing aneurysms. The aneurysms’ growth was detected after a mean of 218 weeks (range 23–567 weeks). A significant increase was seen in all size-related characteristics, and the bottleneck factor also significantly increased (from a median of 1.00 [IQR 0.85–1.04] to 1.03 [IQR 0.93–1.18]), while the ellipticity index decreased (from a median of 0.26 [IQR 0.25–0.28] to 0.25 [IQR 0.24–0.26]). The changes in size ratios and shape indices varied largely among patients. Larger aneurysms more often showed an increase in shape ratios.

CONCLUSIONS

Although aneurysm growth, size-related characteristics, bottleneck factor, and ellipticity index changed significantly during growth, most size ratios and shape indices showed inconsistent changes among aneurysms. This suggests that, for an accurate rupture prediction, morphological parameters need to be reassessed after growth.

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Charles J. Prestigiacomo, Matthew J. Gounis, L. Fernando Gonzalez and Juhana Frösen

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Jacques J. Morcos, Gary K. Steinberg, Wouter I. Schievink and Georgios A. Zenonos

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Karl R. Abi-Aad, Devi P. Patra, Matthew E. Welz, Evelyn Turcotte and Bernard R. Bendok

Cavernomas at the posterolateral pontomesencephalic surface can be approached from a lateral infratentorial supracerebellar corridor. In this surgical video, we demonstrate two cases of brainstem cavernomas resected through a lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach. A supine position with lateral turn of the head was used along with significant reverse Trendelenburg to allow the cerebellum to fall away with gravity from the tentorium. After exposure of the posterior surface of the brainstem between the tentorium and the superior cerebellar surface with aid of neuronavigation, the cavernomas were safely resected.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/fUDdaprg26Y.

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Daniel D. Cavalcanti and Paulo Niemeyer Filho

The pons is the preferred location for cavernous malformations in the brainstem. When these lesions do not surface, it is critical to select the optimal safe entry zone to reduce morbidity.13 In this video, we demonstrate in a stepwise manner the medial suboccipital craniotomy and the telovelar approach performed in a lateral decubitus position. They were used to successfully resect a pontine cavernous malformation in a centroposterior location in a 19-year-old patient with diplopia, right-sided numbness, and imbalance. The paramedian supracollicular safe entry zone was used once the lesion did not reach the ependymal surface.2,3 Late magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated total resection and the patient was neurologically intact after 3 months of follow-up. The approach is also demonstrated in a cadaveric dissection to better illustrate all steps.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/ChArkxA8kig.