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Theodosis Kalamatianos, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Christos Koutsarnakis, Christina Psachoulia, Damianos E. Sakas, and George Stranjalis

Object

A considerable body of evidence indicates that inflammation and angiogenesis play a significant role in the development and progression of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). While various experimental and clinical studies have implicated placental growth factor (PlGF) in the processes that underpin pathological angiogenesis, no study has thus far investigated its expression in CSDH. The actions of PlGF and its related proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are antagonized by a high-affinity soluble receptor, namely soluble VEGF receptor–1 (sVEGFR-1), and thus the ratio between sVEGFR-1 and angiogenic factors provides an index of angiogenic capacity.

Methods

In the present study, using an automated electrochemiluminescence assay, levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were quantified in serum and hematoma fluid obtained in 16 patients with CSDH.

Results

Levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were significantly higher in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001). In serum, levels of sVEGFR-1 were higher than those of PlGF (p < 0.0001), whereas in hematoma fluid this difference was not apparent. Furthermore, the ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF was significantly lower in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Given previous evidence indicating a role for PlGF in promoting angiogenesis, inflammatory cell chemotaxis, and stimulation, as well as its ability to amplify VEGF-driven signaling under conditions favoring pathological angiogenesis, enhanced expression of PlGF in hematoma fluid suggests the involvement of this factor in the mechanisms of inflammation and angiogenesis in CSDH. Furthermore, a reduced ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF in hematoma fluid is consistent with the proangiogenic capacity of CSDH. Future studies are warranted to clarify the precise role of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 in CSDH.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Theofanis N. Flaskas, Ioannis G. Panourias, and Nikolaos Georgakoulias

Chronic electrical cortical stimulation (ECS) is an evolving therapy for alleviating treatment-refractory chronic pain syndromes. In this report, the authors describe a modified technique of ECS that involves resection of dural strips and interdural placement of the electrodes as a patch, and bifocal stimulation by implanting 2 electrode strips, that is, one over the motor and one over the sensory cortices.

The technique was used in 4 patients with treatment-refractory pain syndromes: a 76-year-old woman with poststroke central pain, 2 women, (71 and 73 years old) with trigeminal pain, and a 44-year-old man with phantom limb pain. All 4 patients experienced a sustained significant improvement in the intensity of pain and have gained a substantially improved functionality and quality of life. An important finding in these patients was the constancy of impedance within a narrow values range throughout the postoperative period. For the cases, the follow-up exceeds 24, 15, 12, and 9 months. The factors affecting the efficacy of ECS are discussed. In the authors' opinion, interdural implantation of the electrodes holds the promise to improve the efficacy and consistency of ECS compared with the standard epidural or subdural implantation without increasing the risk of the procedure. The technical considerations and the potential therapeutic advantages of the interdural bifocal approach are discussed.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Marios Themistocleous, Pantelis Stathis, George Tagaris, Elias Angelopoulos, and Stylianos Gatzonis

The authors report on 2 young patients who developed drug-resistant idiopathic dystonic camptocormia (bent spine) and were treated successfully by deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi). The first patient, a 26-year-old woman, suffered for 3 years from such severe camptocormia that she became unable to walk and was confined to bed or a wheelchair. The second patient, a 21-year-old man, suffered for 6 months from less severe camptocormia; he was able to walk but only for short distances with a very bent spine, the arms in a parallel position to the legs, and the hands almost approaching the floor to potentially support him in case of a forward fall. Within a few days following DBS, both patients experienced marked clinical improvement. At most recent follow-up (44 months in one case and 42 in the other), the patients' ability to walk upright remained normal. Similar findings have only been reported recently in a few cases of camptocormia secondary to Parkinson disease or tardive dyskinesia. On the basis of the experience of these 2 idiopathic cases and the previously reported cases of secondary camptocormia with a favorable response to GPi DBS, the authors postulate that specific patterns of oscillatory activity in the GPi are vital for the maintenance of erect posture and the adoption of bipedal walking by humans.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Pantelis Stathis, Marios Themistocleous, and Stylianos Gatzonis

Dystonia is a movement disorder notoriously difficult to treat. While primary dystonia is classically considered to respond well to deep brain stimulation (DBS), treatment of secondary dystonia yields variable results. Patient selection should be done on a case-by-case basis. Clearly, there is a need to accumulate additional information with regard to prognostic factors that may aid neurosurgeons in selecting those patients in whom the disorder is most likely to respond favorably to pallidal DBS.

The authors report the case of a 29-year-old man with secondary dystonia due to perinatal hypoxia. The most prominent symptom was what we have termed ectatocormia—that is, severe, fixed truncal hyperextension and retrocollis, exacerbated by phasic, twisting movements of the trunk and head. This made it impossible for the patient to maintain a normal upright posture or to walk. The patient underwent bilateral DBS of the globus pallidus internus (GPi), and the authors observed impressive improvement in motor abilities and function. The patient's body adopted the normal upright posture and he became able to walk again, 4 months after the commencement of GPi stimulation.

This report, along with others, emphasizes that the GPi as an ideal target for alleviating axial tonic symptoms. The presence of normal MR imaging findings, a phenotypical purity of predominantly dystonic symptoms, and a younger age seem to favor a positive outcome.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Marios S. Themistocleous, Lambis C. Stavrinou, Pantelis Stathis, and Stylianos D. Gatzonis

Deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus internus has been shown to be beneficial in a small number of patients suffering from axial dystonias. However, it has not yet been reported as an effective treatment for the alleviation of idiopathic head drop. The authors describe a 49-year-old woman with idiopathic cervical dystonia (camptocephalia) who was unable to raise her head > 30° when standing or sitting; her symptoms would abate when lying down. This disabling neurological condition was treated successfully with bilateral chronic electrical stimulation of the globus pallidus internus.

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Nikolaos Sakellaridis and Christos Kelesis

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Triantafyllos I. Bouras, Ilias Sourtzis, and Damianos E. Sakas

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, George Stranjalis, Maria P. Stefanatou, Nikos Maratheftis, and Nikos Bontozoglou

✓The authors present the case of a 52-year-old female patient with a 6-year history of intractable paroxysmal otalgia. Preoperative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography demonstrated an anterior inferior cerebellar artery loop compressing the intermediate nerve in the seventh/eighth cranial nerve complex inside the internal auditory canal. The pain resolved completely after a microvascular decompression via a retromastoid craniotomy. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the combined neuroimaging and intraoperative findings of this case provide a unique demonstration that vascular compression of the intermediate nerve can be the exclusive cause of paroxysmal otalgia. Magnetic resonance imaging and MR angiography can establish the causative mechanism and distinguish this otalgia due to vascular compression of the intermediate nerve from other pain syndromes that are designated as geniculate neuralgia (GN). The present case indicates that intermediate nerve neuralgia is a distinct syndrome of neurovascular conflict and a variant of GN. The causative classification of GN should be reexamined with the use of advanced MR imaging.

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Triantafyllos Bouras, George Stranjalis, and Damianos E. Sakas

✓The authors report on the case of a young man with a mild head injury and an isolated palsy of voluntary facial movements, attributed to a midbrain traumatic hematoma. This exception to the generally accepted conjunction between brainstem contusion and poor prognosis pertains to a special entity of midbrain laceration due to hyperextension of the head, with minimal influence on the level of consciousness. The clinical presentation of this lesion with facial palsy sparing emotion-related movement has rarely been described and offers a clue for exploring the neuroanatomy of facial movement.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Karl W. Whittaker, Robert M. Crowell, and Nicholas T. Zervas

✓ Over the last 30 years, perfluorocarbons (PFCs) have been extensively investigated as oxygen carriers. Early studies indicated that these compounds could be used as blood substitutes or protective agents against ischemia. Adverse characteristics such as instability, short intravascular half-life, and uncertainties concerning possible toxicity precluded wide clinical application. However, advances in PFC technology have led to the development of improved second-generation oxygen carriers that incorporate well-tolerated emulsifiers (egg-yolk phospholipids). The authors review recent developments in this field and consider the potential role of PFCs in future neurosurgical practice. Diagnostic applications could include their use to assess cerebral blood flow, local oxygen tension, and brain metabolism or to achieve enhanced imaging and precise staging of inflammatory, neoplastic, or vascular disease processes by means of computerized tomography, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance studies. Therapeutic applications could include cerebral protection, an adjunctive role in radiotherapy of malignant brain tumors, protection against air embolism, the preservation of organs for transplantation, and ventilatory support in head-injured patients with compromised lung function. In addition, PFCs have been used successfully as a tool in ophthalmic microsurgery and potentially they could fulfill a similar role in microneurosurgery.