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L. Gerard Toussaint III, Jonathan A. Friedman, Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, David G. Piepgras, Mark A. Pichelmann, Jon I. McIver, Robyn L. McClelland, Douglas A. Nichols, Fredric B. Meyer, and John L. D. Atkinson

Object. Previous studies have indicated an increased incidence of death in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who are currently receiving anticoagulation therapy. The significance of previous aspirin use in patients with SAH is unknown. The authors analyzed the effects of prior aspirin use on clinical course and outcomes following aneurysmal SAH.

Methods. The medical records of 305 patients with angiogram-confirmed aneurysmal SAH who consecutively presented to our institution between 1990 and 1997 within 7 days of ictus were analyzed. Twenty-nine (9.5%) of these patients had a history of regular aspirin use before onset of the SAH. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) was used to measure patient outcome at the longest available follow up.

Aspirin users were older on average than nonusers (59 years of age compared with 53 years; p = 0.018). The mean admission Hunt and Hess grades of patients with and without aspirin use were similar (2 compared with 2.3; p = 0.51). Two trends, which did not reach statistical significance, were observed. 1) The rebleeding rate in aspirin users was 14.3%, compared with a 4.7% rebleeding rate in nonusers (p = 0.06). 2) Permanent disability from vasospasm was less common among aspirin users (23% compared with 50%; p = 0.069). Outcomes did not differ between aspirin users and nonusers (mean GOS Score 3.83 compared with GOS Score 3.86, respectively; p = 0.82).

Conclusions. Despite trends indicating increased rebleeding rates and a lower incidence of permanent disability due to delayed ischemic neurological deficits, there was no significant effect of previous aspirin use on overall outcome following aneurysmal SAH. Based on these preliminary data, the presence of an intracranial aneurysm is not a strict contraindication to aspirin use.

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Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Mark A. Pichelmann, Jonathan A. Friedman, David G. Piepgras, Douglas A. Nichols, Jon I. McIver, L. Gerard Toussaint III, Robyn L. McClelland, Jimmy R. Fulgham, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, and Eelco F. M. Wijdicks

Object. The authors studied patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to determine whether the incidence of symptomatic vasospasm or overall clinical outcomes differed between patients treated with craniotomy and clip application and those treated by endovascular coil occlusion.

Methods. The authors reviewed 415 consecutive patients with aneurysmal SAH who had been treated with either craniotomy and clip application or endovascular coil occlusion at a single institution between 1990 and 2000. Three hundred thirty-nine patients underwent surgical clip application procedures, whereas 76 patients underwent endovascular coil occlusion.

Symptomatic vasospasm occurred in 39% of patients treated with clip application, 30% of patients treated with endovascular coil occlusion, and 37% of patients overall. Compared with patients treated with clip application, patients treated with endovascular coil occlusion were more likely to suffer acute hydrocephalus (50 compared with 34%, p = 0.008) and were more likely to harbor aneurysms in the posterior circulation (53 compared with 20%, p < 0.001). Logistic regression models controlling for patient age, admission World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) grade, acute hydrocephalus, aneurysm location, and day of treatment revealed that, among patients with an admission WFNS grade of I to III, endovascular coil occlusion carried a lower risk of symptomatic vasospasm (odds ratio [OR] 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14—0.8) and death or permanent neurological deficit due to vasospasm (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08–1) compared with craniotomy and clip application. Similar models revealed no difference in the likelihood of a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 3 or less at the longest follow-up review (median 6 months) between treatment groups (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.28–1.21).

Conclusions. Patients with better clinical grades (WFNS Grades I–III) at hospital admission were less likely to suffer symptomatic vasospasm when treated by endovascular coil occlusion, compared with craniotomy and clip application. Nevertheless, there was no significant difference in overall outcome at the longest follow-up examination between the two treatment groups.

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Jonathan A. Friedman, Stephan J. Goerss, Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras, Mark A. Pichelmann, Jon I. McIver, L. Gerard Toussaint III, Robyn L. McClelland, Douglas A. Nichols, John L. D. Atkinson, and Eelco F. M. Wijdicks

Object. Predicting which patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) will develop delayed ischemic neurological deficit (DIND) due to vasospasm remains subjective and unreliable. The authors analyzed the utility of a novel software-based technique to quantify hemorrhage volume in patients with Fisher Grade 3 aneurysmal SAH.

Methods. Patients with aneurysmal SAH in whom a computerized tomography (CT) scan was performed within 72 hours of ictus and demonstrated Fisher Grade 3 SAH were analyzed. Severe DIND was defined as new onset complete focal deficit or coma. Moderate DIND was defined as new onset partial focal deficit or impaired consciousness without coma. Fifteen consecutive patients with severe DIND, 13 consecutive patients with moderate DIND, and 12 consecutive patients without DIND were analyzed. Software-based volumetric quantification was performed on digitized admission CT scans by a single examiner blinded to clinical information.

There was no significant difference in age, sex, admission Hunt and Hess grade, or time to admission CT scan among the three groups (none, moderate, or severe DIND). Patients with severe DIND had a significantly higher cisternal volume of hemorrhage (median 30.5 cm3) than patients with moderate DIND (median 12.4 cm3) and patients without DIND (median 10.3 cm3; p < 0.001). Intraparenchymal hemorrhage and intraventricular hemorrhage were not associated with DIND. All 13 patients with cisternal volumes greater than 20 cm3 developed DIND, compared with 15 of 27 patients with volumes less than 20 cm3 (p = 0.004).

Conclusions. The authors developed a simple and potentially widely applicable method to quantify SAH on CT scans. A greater volume of cisternal hemorrhage on an admission CT scan in patients with Fisher Grade 3 aneurysmal SAH is highly associated with DIND. A threshold of cisternal hemorrhage volume (> 20 cm3) may exist above which patients are very likely to develop DIND. Prospective application of software-based volumetric quantification of cisternal SAH may predict which patients will develop DIND.

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Jonathan A. Friedman, Mark A. Pichelmann, David G. Piepgras, John L. D. Atkinson, Cormac O. Maher, Fredric B. Meyer, and Kristine K. Hansen

Object. Anterior choroidal artery (AChA) aneurysms account for 4% of all intracranial aneurysms. The surgical approach is similar to that for other supraclinoid carotid artery lesions, but surgery may involve a higher risk of debilitating ischemic complications because of the critical territory supplied by the AChA.

Methods. Between 1968 and 1999, 51 AChA aneurysms in 50 patients were treated using craniotomy and clipping at the Mayo Clinic. There were 22 men (44%) and 28 women (56%) whose average age was 53 years (range 27–79 years). Twenty-four AChA aneurysms (47%) had hemorrhaged; nine patients (18%) had subarachnoid hemorrhage from another aneurysm. Three AChA aneurysms (6%) were associated with symptoms other than rupture. Forty-one patients (82%) achieved a Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score of 4 or 5 at long-term follow up. The surgical mortality rate was 4%, and major surgical morbidity (GOS ≤ 3) was 10%. Eight patients (16%) had clinically and computerized tomography—demonstrated AChA territory infarcts. Five of these strokes manifested in a delayed fashion 6 to 36 hours after the operation, and progressed from mild to complete deficit over hours. In 41 patients the aneurysm arose from the internal carotid artery adjacent to the AChA, and in nine patients the aneurysm arose directly from the origin of the AChA itself; four of these nine patients had postoperative infarction.

Conclusions. Surgical treatment of AChA aneurysms involves a significant risk of debilitating ischemic complications. Most postoperative strokes occur in a delayed fashion, offering a potential therapeutic window. Patients with aneurysms arising from the AChA itself have an extremely high risk for postoperative stroke.

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Wouter I. Schievink, Vittorio M. Morreale, John L. D. Atkinson, Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras, and Michael J. Ebersold

Object. Spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are an increasingly recognized cause of intracranial hypotension and may require neurosurgical intervention. In the present report the authors review their experience with the surgical management of spontaneous spinal CSF leaks.

Methods. Between 1992 and 1997, 10 patients with spontaneous spinal CSF leaks and intracranial hypotension were treated surgically. The mean age of the seven women and three men was 42.3 years (range 22–61 years). Preoperative imaging showed a single meningeal diverticulum in two patients, a complex of diverticula in one patient, and a focal CSF leak alone in seven patients. Surgical exploration in these seven patients demonstrated meningeal diverticula in one patient; no clear source of CSF leakage could be identified in the remaining six patients. Treatment consisted of ligation of the diverticula or packing of the epidural space with muscle or Gelfoam. Multiple simultaneous spinal CSF leaks were identified in three patients.

Conclusions. All patients experienced complete relief of their headaches postoperatively. There has been no recurrence of symptoms in any of the patients during a mean follow-up period of 19 months (range 3–58 months; 16 person-years of cumulative follow up). Complications consisted of transient intracranial hypertension in one patient and leg numbness in another patient.

Although the disease is often self-limiting, surgical treatment has an important role in the management of spontaneous spinal CSF leaks. Surgery is effective in eliminating the headaches and the morbidity is generally low. Surgical exploration for a focal CSF leak, as demonstrated on radiographic studies, usually does not reveal a clear source of the leak. Some patients may have multiple simultaneous CSF leaks.

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Douglas A. Nichols, Robert D. Brown Jr., Kent R. Thielen, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, and David G. Piepgras

✓ The authors report their experience using electrolytically detachable coils for the treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms. Twenty-six patients with 28 posterior circulation aneurysms were treated. All patients were referred for endovascular treatment by experienced vascular neurosurgeons. Patients underwent follow-up angiography immediately after treatment, 1 to 6 weeks posttreatment, and 6 months posttreatment. Six-month follow-up angiograms obtained in 19 patients with 20 aneurysms demonstrated that 18 (90%) of the 20 aneurysms were 99 to 100% occluded, one aneurysm (5%) was approximately 90% occluded, and one aneurysm (5%) was approximately 75% occluded. The patient with the aneurysm that was approximately 75% occluded needed additional treatment, consisting of parent artery balloon occlusion, and was considered a treatment failure (3.8% of patients). There was one treatment-associated mortality (3.8%) but no treatment-associated serious neurological or nonneurological morbidity in the patient group. There was no recurrent aneurysm rupture during treatment or during the mean 27-month follow-up period.

Endovascular treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms with electrolytically detachable coils can be accomplished with low morbidity and mortality rates. The primary goal of treatment—preventing recurrent aneurysm—can be achieved over the short term.

Endovascular coil occlusion will play an important role in the treatment of ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms, particularly if long-term efficacy in preventing recurrent aneurysm hemorrhage can be documented.

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Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras, and Nicolee C. Fode

✓ Ninety-two surgical procedures were performed in 82 patients for recurrent carotid artery stenosis. The etiology was recurrent atherosclerosis in 45 cases, myointimal hyperplasia in 20, organized thrombus without a significant underlying plaque in 20, and scarring along the proximal arteriotomy site in seven. The operations included a repeat endarterectomy in 66 cases and reconstruction with an interposition graft in 22. All five major neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients, and included three instances of intraoperative embolization during exposure of the carotid artery. The majority of neurological complications occurred in symptomatic patients who had intraluminal thrombus confirmed at surgery. There were four perioperative deaths, due to cerebral hemorrhage in two patients and myocardial infarction in two.

In the patients whose original surgery was performed at the Mayo Clinic, the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis was 3.1% with a primary closure compared to 1.6% when a patch graft was used. These results indicate that surgery for recurrent carotid artery stenosis is technically more difficult and carries a significantly higher risk than surgery for primary disease. The difficulty is due to the friable recurrent plaque associated with intraluminal thrombus, which increases the risk of embolization during carotid artery exposure. In the majority of patients with recurrent atherosclerosis, a repeat endarterectomy can be achieved. However, in some patients, there is scarring without a definite plane of cleavage between the recurrent disease and the underlying media, making an endarterectomy difficult. In these cases, excision of the diseased segment and reconstruction with an interposition graft is the best treatment. The findings presented here also suggest that closure of the original arteriotomy with a patch graft decreases the risk of recurrent carotid artery stenosis.

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Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., and Takehiko Yanagihara

✓ Twenty cases treated with emergency embolectomy for acute occlusion of the middle cerebral artery were reviewed. There were 10 males and 10 females, with an average age of 55 years. The left middle cerebral artery was involved in 17 patients and the right in three. Flow was restored in 16 patients (75%). The embolus originated in the heart in seven, the carotid artery in seven, the aorta in three, an aneurysm in one, and an indeterminate source in two. It was technically most difficult to achieve patency with atheromatous emboli from the aorta. Two patients (10%) had an excellent result with no neurological deficit, five (25%) were left with a minimal deficit but were employable, seven (35%) had a fair result but were still independent and employable, four (20%) did poorly, and two (10%) died. Patients with an associated ipsilateral carotid artery occlusion did poorly. Collateral flow, as judged from preoperative angiograms, was the best predictor of outcome.