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Alexander Ivanov, Andreas Linninger, Chih-Yang Hsu, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Victor A. Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Ali Alaraj

OBJECT

The use of digital subtraction angiography (DSA) for semiquantitative cerebral blood flow(CBF) assessment is a new technique. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) with higher Hunt and Hess grades also had higher angiographic contrast transit times (TTs) than patients with lower grades.

METHODS

A cohort of 30 patients with aSAH and 10 patients without aSAH was included. Relevant clinical information was collected. A method to measure DSA TTs by color-coding reconstructions from DSA contrast-intensity images was applied. Regions of interest (ROIs) were chosen over major cerebral vessels. The estimated TTs included time-to-peak from 0% to 100% (TTP0–100), TTP from 25% to 100% (TTP25–100), and TT from 100% to 10% (TT100–10) contrast intensities. Statistical analysis was used to compare TTs between Group A (Hunt and Hess Grade I-II), Group B (Hunt and Hess Grade III-IV), and the control group. The correlation coefficient was calculated between different ROIs in aSAH groups.

RESULTS

There was no difference in demographic factors between Group A (n = 10), Group B (n = 20), and the control group (n = 10). There was a strong correlation in all TTs between ROIs in the middle cerebral artery (M1, M2) and anterior cerebral artery (A1, A2). There was a statistically significant difference between Groups A and B in all TT parameters for ROIs. TT100–10 values in the control group were significantly lower than the values in Group B.

CONCLUSIONS

The DSA TTs showed significant correlation with Hunt and Hess grades. TT delays appear to be independent of increased intracranial pressure and may be an indicator of decreased CBF in patients with a higher Hunt and Hess grade. This method may serve as an indirect technique to assess relative CBF in the angiography suite.

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Daniel M. Birk, Matthew K. Tobin, Heather E. Moss, Eric Feinstein, Fady T. Charbel and Ali Alaraj

The most commonly described indications for surgical management of closed depressed skull fractures are hematoma evacuation and repair of extensive cosmetic deformity. Venous sinus injury, which occurs in a subset of depressed skull fractures, is not typically listed as an indication for surgical treatment due to the potential for major venous hemorrhage associated with surgery near these structures. However, if patients exhibit signs and symptoms of intracranial hypertension and radiographic findings demonstrate sinus compromise, surgical elevation of the depressed skull fragments is indicated. The authors present the case of a 25-year-old woman with a depressed skull fracture secondary to a gunshot wound with symptomatic compromise in venous outflow of the posterior one-third of the superior sagittal sinus. The patient was treated with surgical decompression via bilateral craniectomy along with intracranial pressure–lowering medical therapy and had almost full resolution of her presenting symptoms with documented improvement in flow through the superior sagittal sinus. While the use of surgical treatment for these types of injuries is highly debated, the authors demonstrate here that safe, effective surgical management of these patients is possible and that surgical decompression should always be considered in the case of symptomatic venous sinus flow obstruction.

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Omar M. Qahwash, Ali Alaraj, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

The goal of this study was to demonstrate feasibility and evaluate technical aspects of early endovascular access through extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass grafts.

Methods

Patients undergoing endovascular interventions through the graft in the acute postoperative period following EC-IC bypass are presented. Results, complications, and technical nuances are reviewed.

Results

Fourteen endovascular procedures were performed in 5 patients after EC-IC bypass for ruptured aneurysms in 4 patients and posterior circulation ischemia in 1 patient. In 2 patients, a saphenous vein graft (SVG) was used to bypass the common carotid artery (CCA) to the middle cerebral artery (MCA). One patient underwent a superficial temporal artery (STA)–MCA bypass, and in 2 other patients the STA stump was connected to the intracranial circulation via an interposition SVG. The interval from surgery to endovascular intervention spanned 2–18 days; the indication was intracranial vasospasm in all patients. One case involved angioplasty of the proximal anastomosis on postoperative Day 14. All other interventions entailed proximal access through the bypass conduit for intraarterial infusion of vasodilators. Significant vasospasm of the STA itself was encountered in 2 patients during endovascular manipulation, and it was treated with intraarterial nitroglycerin. There were no cases of anastomotic disruption.

Conclusions

Endovascular catheterization and intervention involving a recent EC-IC bypass is feasible. The main limitation in this series was catheter-induced vasospasm involving the STA. A vein graft may be the more appropriate option in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage who may require subsequent endovascular intervention for vasospasm.

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Ali Alaraj, Troy Munson, Sebastian R. Herrera, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid hypotension, or “brain sag,” is a recently described phenomenon most commonly seen following craniotomy for the clipping of ruptured aneurysms along with preoperative lumbar drain placement. The clinical features and CT findings have been previously described. Clinical presentation can be similar to and often mistaken for cerebral vasospasm. In this study, the authors report on the angiographic findings in patients with brain sag.

Methods

Five cases of brain sag were diagnosed (range 1–4 days) after the surgical treatment of ruptured aneurysms at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All patients met the clinical and CT criteria for brain sag. Admission cerebral angiograms and subsequent angiograms during symptoms of brain sag were obtained in all patients. In 3 patients, angiography was performed after the resolution of symptoms.

Results

In all 5 patients, the level of the basilar artery apex was displaced inferiorly with respect to the posterior clinoid processes during brain sag. This displacement was significant enough to create a noticeable kink in the basilar artery (“cobra sign”) in 3 patients. Other angiographic findings included foreshortening or kinking of the intracranial vertebral artery. In all patients, the posterior cerebral arteries were displaced medially and inferiorly. Three patients were treated for simultaneous severe radiological vasospasm. In 4 patients, the brain sag was recognized, and the patients' conditions improved when they were placed flat or in the Trendelenburg position, at times combined with an epidural blood patch. Patients with follow-up angiography studies after the symptoms had resolved displayed a reversal of the angiographic features.

Conclusions

Brain sag appears to be associated with characteristic angiographic features. Recognizing these features may help to diagnose brain sag as the cause of neurological deterioration in this patient population.

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E. Sander Connolly Jr.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010

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Michael Chan, Ali Alaraj, Mateo Calderon, Sebastian Ramon Herrera, Weihua Gao, Sean Ruland and Ben Zion Roitberg

Object

Patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage treated using external ventricular drainage due to obstructive hydrocephalus commonly remain shunt-dependent. Based on identified risk factors for external ventricular drain (EVD) challenge failure, the authors sought to determine the likelihood that a patient will require a permanent shunt.

Methods

The authors reviewed 89 consecutive cases of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage with obstructive hydrocephalus for parameters associated with EVD challenge failure and permanent shunt requirement. Significant parameters were combined in a discriminant function analysis to create a failure risk index (FRI). Linear regression analysis was performed correlating the FRI with the actual rate of shunt dependency.

Results

Patients requiring a permanent shunt had: a larger third ventricular diameter (7.0 vs 5.4 mm; p = 0.02) and a higher Hunt and Hess grade (3 vs 2; p = 0.02) at the time of admission; and a larger third ventricular diameter (6.6 vs 5.2 mm; p = 0.04), a larger bicaudate diameter (31.9 vs 30.2 mm; p = 0.03), and higher CSF protein levels (76.5 vs 40.3 mg/dl; p < 0.0001) at the onset of EVD challenge. These patients were also more likely to be female (p = 0.01) and have a posterior circulation location of their aneurysm (p = 0.01). The FRI score was calculated based on a weighted combination of the above parameters. Linear regression analysis between FRI values and the percentage of patients who required a permanent shunt had a correlation coefficient of 91%; the risk of a permanent shunt requirement increased linearly with a rising FRI score.

Conclusions

An FRI score created by discriminant function analysis can predict whether or not a permanent shunt is required, even if separate factors are not in agreement with each other or show a weak correlation when considered separately. An increased FRI score was strongly and linearly correlated with the risk of EVD challenge failure. A prospective study is necessary to validate the FRI.

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Mateo Calderon-Arnulphi, Ali Alaraj, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, William W. Mantulin, Chiara M. Polzonetti, Enrico Gratton and Fady T. Charbel

Object

There is great value in monitoring for signs of ischemia during neurovascular procedures. Current intraoperative monitoring techniques provide real-time feedback with limited accuracy. Quantitative frequency-domain near-infrared spectroscopy (Q-NIRS) allows measurement of tissue oxyhemoglobin (HbO2), deoxyhemoglobin (HHb), and total hemoglobin (tHb) concentrations and brain tissue oxygen saturation (SO2), which could be useful when monitoring for evidence of intraoperative ischemia.

Methods

Using Q-NIRS, the authors monitored 25 neurovascular procedures including aneurysm clip placement, arteriovenous malformation resection, carotid endarterectomy, superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypass surgery, external carotid artery–MCA bypass surgery, encephaloduromyosynangiosis, and balloon occlusion testing. The Q-NIRS technology provides measurable cerebral oxygenation values independent from those of the scalp tissue. Thus, alterations in the variables measured with Q-NIRS quantitatively reflect cerebral tissue perfusion. Bilateral monitoring was performed in all cases.

Five of the patients exhibited evidence of clinical ischemic events during the procedures. One patient suffered blood loss with systemic hypotension and developed diffuse brain edema intraoperatively, one patient suffered an ischemic event intraoperatively and developed an occipital stroke postoperatively, and one patient showed slowing on electroencephalography intraoperatively during carotid clamping; in two patients balloon occlusion testing failed. In all cases of ischemic events occurring during the procedure, Q-NIRS monitoring showed a decrease in HbO2, tHb, and SO2, and an increase in HHb.

Conclusions

Quantitative frequency-domain near-infrared spectroscopy provides quantifiable and continuous real-time information about brain oxygenation and hemodynamics in a noninvasive manner. This continuous intraoperative oxygenation monitoring is a promising method for detecting ischemic events during neurovascular procedures.