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Giuseppe Lanzino, Neal F. Kassell, Teresa P. Germanson, Gail L. Kongable, Laura L. Truskowski, James C. Torner, John A. Jane, and Participants

✓ Advanced age is a recognized prognostic indicator of poor outcome after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The relationship of age to other prognostic factors and outcome was evaluated using data from the multicenter randomized trial of nicardipine in SAH conducted in 21 neurosurgical centers in North America. Among the 906 patients who were studied, five different age groups were considered: 40 years or less, 41 to 50, 51 to 60, 61 to 70, and more than 71 years. Twenty-three percent of the individuals enrolled were older than 60 years of age. Women outnumbered men in all age groups.

Level of consciousness (p = 0.0002) and World Federation of Neurological Surgeons grade (p = 0.0001) at admission worsened with advancing age. Age was also related to the presence of a thick subarachnoid clot (p = 0.0001), intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.0003), and hydrocephalus (p = 0.0001) on an admission computerized tomography scan. The rebleeding rate increased from 4.5% in the youngest age group to 16.4% in patients more than 70 years of age (p = 0.002). As expected, preexisting medical conditions, such as diabetes (p = 0.028), hypertension (p = 0.0001), and pulmonary (p = 0.0084), myocardial (p = 0.0001), and cerebrovascular diseases (p = 0.0001), were positively associated with age. There were no age-related differences in the day of admission following SAH, timing of the surgery and/or location, and size (small vs. large) of the ruptured aneurysm.

During the treatment period, the incidence of severe complications (that is, those complications considered life threatening by the reporting investigator) increased with advancing age, occurring in 28%, 33%, 36%, 40%, and 46% of the patients in each advancing age group, respectively (p = 0.0002). No differences were observed in the reported frequency of surgical complications. No age-related differences were found in the overall incidence of angiographic vasospasm; however, symptomatic vasospasm was more frequently reported in the older age groups (p = 0.01). Overall outcome, assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 3 months post-SAH, was poorer with advancing age (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis of overall outcome, adjusting for the different prognostic factors, did not remove the age effect, which suggests that the aging brain has a less optimal response to the initial bleeding. Age as a risk factor is a continuum; however, there seems to be a significant increased risk of poor outcome after the age of 60 years.

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Johnny B. Delashaw Jr., John A. Jane, Neal F. Kassell, and Craig Luce

✓ The authors describe a new and rapid method to safely perform a supraorbital craniotomy. This technique can be used when tumor does not invade the orbital roof. Previous descriptions of the supraorbital craniotomy involved exposure of the frontal sinus by removing its anterior wall and using the Gigli saw to separate the orbital roof. This new approach avoids removal of the anterior frontal sinus wall and separates the supraorbital bone flap from the calvaria by fracturing the anterior orbital roof forward. In addition, a method for harvesting a laterally based pericranium and muscle pedicle that contains a section of contralateral temporalis muscle is described. This vascularized pedicle can be used for repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks or bone defects along the anterior fossa floor and orbit.

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Neal F. Kassell, James C. Torner, John A. Jane, E. Clarke Haley Jr., Harold P. Adams, and participants

✓ A prospective, observational clinical trial was conducted by the International Cooperative Study on the Timing of Aneurysm Surgery to determine the best time in relation to the hemorrhage for surgical treatment of ruptured intracranial aneurysms. Sixty-eight centers contributed 3521 patients in a 2½-year period beginning in December, 1980. Analysis by a prespecified “planned” surgery interval demonstrated that there was no difference in early (0 to 3 days after the bleed) or late surgery (11 to 14 days). Outcome was worse if surgery was performed in the 7 to 10-day post-bleed interval. Surgical results were better for patients operated on after 10 days. Patients alert on admission fared best; however, alert patients had a mortality rate of 10% to 12% when undergoing surgery prior to Day 11 compared with 3% to 5% when surgery was performed after Day 10. Patients drowsy on admission had a 21% to 25% mortality rate when operated on up to Day 11 and 7% to 10% with surgery thereafter. Overall, early surgery was neither more hazardous nor beneficial than delayed surgery. The postoperative risk following early surgery is equivalent to the risk of rebleeding and vasospasm in patients waiting for delayed surgery.

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Neal F. Kassell, James C. Torner, E. Clarke Haley Jr., John A. Jane, Harold P. Adams, Gail L. Kongable, and Participants

✓ The International Cooperative Study on the Timing of Aneurysm Surgery evaluated the results of surgical and medical management in 3521 patients between December, 1980, and July, 1983. At admission, 75% of patients were in good neurological condition and surgery was performed in 83%. At the 6-month evaluation, 26% of the patients had died and 58% exhibited a complete recovery. Vasospasm and rebleeding were the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in addition to the initial bleed. Predictors for mortality included the patient's decreased level of consciousness and increased age, thickness of the subarachnoid hemorrhage clot on computerized tomography, elevated blood pressure, preexisting medical illnesses, and basilar aneurysms. The results presented here document the status of management in the 1980's.

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John A. Jane, Neal F. Kassell, James C. Torner, and H. Richard Winn

✓ The authors summarize the findings of previous studies relating to the natural history of aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVM's). Ruptured aneurysms have their highest rate of rebleeding on Day 1, and at least 50% will rebleed during the 6 months after the first hemorrhage. Thereafter, the rate drops to at least 3% a year. This is the same rate as seen in anterior and posterior communicating artery aneurysms treated by anterior cerebral artery clipping and carotid ligation; these operations provide immediate protection but do not result in long-term diminution of the risk of rebleeding. Patients with unruptured incidental and unruptured multiple aneurysms rebleed at a rate of 1% per year, as do patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage of unknown etiology. The risk of rebleeding for AVM's is 3% a year.