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Alessa Schütz, Michael Murek, Lennart Henning Stieglitz, Corrado Bernasconi, Sonja Vulcu, Jürgen Beck, Andreas Raabe and Philippe Schucht

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is an established treatment for refractory intracranial hypertension. It is usually followed by autologous cranioplasty (AC), the reinsertion of a patient’s explanted bone flap. A frequent long-term complication of AC is bone flap resorption (BFR), which results in disfigurement as well as loss of the protective covering of the brain. This study investigates risk factors for BFR after AC, including medical conditions and antihypertensive drug therapies, with a focus on angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), which have been associated with a beneficial effect on bone healing and bone preservation in orthopedic, osteoporosis, and endocrinology research.

METHODS

In this single-center, retrospective study 183 consecutive cases were evaluated for bone flap resorption after AC. Information on patient demographics, medical conditions, antihypertensive therapy, and BFR—defined as an indication for revision surgery established by a neurosurgeon based on clinical or radiographic assessments—was collected. A Kaplan-Meier analysis of time from AC to diagnosis of BFR was performed, and factors associated with BFR were investigated using the log-rank test and Cox regression.

RESULTS

A total of 158 patients were considered eligible for inclusion in the data analysis. The median follow-up time for this group was 2.2 years (95% CI 1.9–2.5 years). BFR occurred in 47 patients (29.7%), with a median time to event of 3.7 years (95% CI 3.3–4.1 years). An ACEI prescription was recorded in 57 cases (36.1%). Univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log-rank test revealed that ACEI therapy (2-year event free probability [EFP] 83.8% ± 6.1% standard error vs 63.9% ± 5.6%, p = 0.02) and ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt treatment (2-year EFP 86.9% ± 7.1% vs 66% ± 5.0%, p = 0.024) were associated with a lower probability of BFR. Multiple Cox regression analysis showed ACEI therapy (HR 0.29, p = 0.012), VP shunt treatment (HR 0.278, p = 0.009), and male sex (HR 0.500, p = 0.040) to be associated with a lower risk for BFR, whereas bone fragmentation (HR 1.92, p = 0.031) was associated with a higher risk for BFR.

CONCLUSIONS

Hypertensive patients treated with ACEIs demonstrate a lower rate of BFR than patients treated with other hypertensive medications and nonhypertensive patients. Our results are in line with previous reports on the positive influence of ACEIs on bone healing and preservation. Further analysis of the association between ACEI treatment and BFR development is needed and will be evaluated in a multicenter prospective trial.

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Clemens Raabe, Jens Fichtner, Jürgen Beck, Jan Gralla and Andreas Raabe

OBJECTIVE

Frontal ventriculostomy is one of the most frequent and standardized procedures in neurosurgery. However, many first and subsequent punctures miss the target, and suboptimal placement or misplacement of the catheter is common. The authors therefore reexamined the landmarks and rules to determine the entry point and trajectory with the best hit rate (HtR).

METHODS

The authors randomly selected CT scans from their institution’s DICOM pool that had been obtained in 50 patients with normal ventricular and skull anatomy and without ventricular puncture. Using a 5 × 5–cm frontal grid with 25 entry points referenced to the bregma, the authors examined trajectories 1) perpendicular to the skull, 2) toward classic facial landmarks in the coronal and sagittal planes, and 3) toward an idealized target in the middle of the ipsilateral anterior horn (ILAH). Three-dimensional virtual reality ventriculostomies were simulated for these entry points; trajectories and the HtRs were recorded, resulting in an investigation of 8000 different virtual procedures.

RESULTS

The best HtR for the ILAH was 86% for an ideal trajectory, 84% for a landmark trajectory, and 83% for a 90° trajectory, but only at specific entry points. The highest HtRs were found for entry points 3 or 4 cm lateral to the midline, but only in combination with a trajectory toward the contralateral canthus; and 1 or 2 cm lateral to the midline, but only paired with a trajectory toward the nasion. The same “pairing” exists for entry points and trajectories in the sagittal plane. For perpendicular (90°) trajectories, the best entry points were at 3–5 cm lateral to the midline and 3 cm anterior to the bregma, or 4 cm lateral to the midline and 2 cm anterior to the bregma.

CONCLUSIONS

Only a few entry points offer a chance of a greater than 80% rate of hitting the ILAH, and then only in combination with a specific trajectory. This “pairing” between entry point and trajectory was found both for landmark targeting and for perpendicular trajectories, with very limited variability. Surprisingly, the ipsilateral medial canthus, a commonly reported landmark, had low HtRs, and should not be recommended as a trajectory target.

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Jürgen Beck, Christian Fung, Christian T. Ulrich, Michael Fiechter, Jens Fichtner, Heinrich P. Mattle, Marie-Luise Mono, Niklaus Meier, Pasquale Mordasini, Werner J. Z’Graggen, Jan Gralla and Andreas Raabe

OBJECTIVE

Spinal CSF leakage causes spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). The aim of this study was to characterize CSF dynamics via lumbar infusion testing in patients with and without proven spinal CSF leakage in order to explore possible discriminators for the presence of an open CSF leak.

METHODS

This analysis included all patients with suspected SIH who were treated at the authors’ institution between January 2012 and February 2015. The gold standard for “proven” CSF leakage is considered to be extrathecal contrast accumulation after intrathecal contrast injection. To characterize CSF dynamics, the authors performed computerized lumbar infusion testing to measure lumbar pressure at baseline (opening pressure) and at plateau, as well as pulse amplitude, CSF outflow resistance (RCSF), craniospinal elastance, and pressure-volume index.

RESULTS

Thirty-one patients underwent clinical imaging and lumbar infusion testing and were included in the final analysis. A comparison of the 14 patients with proven CSF leakage with the 17 patients without leakage showed a statistically significantly lower lumbar opening pressure (p < 0.001), plateau pressure (p < 0.001), and RCSF (p < 0.001) in the group with leakage. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for an RCSF cutoff of ≤ 5 mm Hg/(ml/min) were 0.86, 1.0, 1.0, and 0.89 (area under the curve of 0.96), respectively. The median pressure-volume index was higher (p = 0.003), and baseline (p = 0.017) and plateau (p < 0.001) pulse amplitudes were lower in patients with a proven leak.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar infusion testing captures a distinct pattern of CSF dynamics associated with spinal CSF leakage. RCSF assessed by computerized lumbar infusion testing has an excellent diagnostic accuracy and is more accurate than evaluating the lumbar opening pressure. The authors suggest inclusion of RCSF in the diagnostic criteria for SIH.

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Raphael Meier, Nicole Porz, Urspeter Knecht, Tina Loosli, Philippe Schucht, Jürgen Beck, Johannes Slotboom, Roland Wiest and Mauricio Reyes

OBJECTIVE

In the treatment of glioblastoma, residual tumor burden is the only prognostic factor that can be actively influenced by therapy. Therefore, an accurate, reproducible, and objective measurement of residual tumor burden is necessary. This study aimed to evaluate the use of a fully automatic segmentation method—brain tumor image analysis (BraTumIA)—for estimating the extent of resection (EOR) and residual tumor volume (RTV) of contrast-enhancing tumor after surgery.

METHODS

The imaging data of 19 patients who underwent primary resection of histologically confirmed supratentorial glioblastoma were retrospectively reviewed. Contrast-enhancing tumors apparent on structural preoperative and immediate postoperative MR imaging in this patient cohort were segmented by 4 different raters and the automatic segmentation BraTumIA software. The manual and automatic results were quantitatively compared.

RESULTS

First, the interrater variabilities in the estimates of EOR and RTV were assessed for all human raters. Interrater agreement in terms of the coefficient of concordance (W) was higher for RTV (W = 0.812; p < 0.001) than for EOR (W = 0.775; p < 0.001). Second, the volumetric estimates of BraTumIA for all 19 patients were compared with the estimates of the human raters, which showed that for both EOR (W = 0.713; p < 0.001) and RTV (W = 0.693; p < 0.001) the estimates of BraTumIA were generally located close to or between the estimates of the human raters. No statistically significant differences were detected between the manual and automatic estimates. BraTumIA showed a tendency to overestimate contrast-enhancing tumors, leading to moderate agreement with expert raters with respect to the literature-based, survival-relevant threshold values for EOR.

CONCLUSIONS

BraTumIA can generate volumetric estimates of EOR and RTV, in a fully automatic fashion, which are comparable to the estimates of human experts. However, automated analysis showed a tendency to overestimate the volume of a contrast-enhancing tumor, whereas manual analysis is prone to subjectivity, thereby causing considerable interrater variability.

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Michael Fiechter, Jens Fichtner, Sergej Feiler, Radu Olariu, Jürgen Beck, Andreas Raabe and Christian T. Ulrich

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Christian Fung, Fabienne Inglin, Michael Murek, Mathias Balmer, Janine Abu-Isa, Werner J. Z’Graggen, Christoph Ozdoba, Jan Gralla, Stephan M. Jakob, Jukka Takala, Jürgen Beck and Andreas Raabe

OBJECT

Current data show a favorable outcome in up to 50% of patients with World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Grade V subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and a rather poor prediction of worst cases. Thus, the usefulness of the current WFNS grading system for identifying the worst scenarios for clinical studies and for making treatment decisions is limited. One reason for this lack of differentiation is the use of “negative” or “silent” diagnostic signs as part of the WFNS Grade V definition. The authors therefore reevaluated the WFNS scale by using “positive” clinical signs and the logic of the Glasgow Coma Scale as a progressive herniation score.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 182 patients with SAH who had poor grades on the WFNS scale. Patients were graded according to the original WFNS scale and additionally according to a modified classification, the WFNS herniation (hWFNS) scale (Grade IV, no clinical signs of herniation; Grade V, clinical signs of herniation). The prediction of poor outcome was compared between these two grading systems.

RESULTS

The positive predictive values of Grade V for poor outcome were 74.3% (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.94–7.54) for WFNS Grade V and 85.7% (OR 8.27, 95% CI 3.78–19.47) for hWFNS Grade V. With respect to mortality, the positive predictive values were 68.3% (OR 3.9, 95% CI 2.01–7.69) for WFNS Grade V and 77.9% (OR 6.22, 95% CI 3.07–13.14) for hWFNS Grade V.

CONCLUSIONS

Limiting WFNS Grade V to the positive clinical signs of the Glasgow Coma Scale such as flexion, extension, and pupillary abnormalities instead of including “no motor response” increases the prediction of mortality and poor outcome in patients with severe SAH.

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Philippe Schucht, Vanessa Banz, Markus Trochsler, Samuel Iff, Anna Katharina Krähenbühl, Michael Reinert, Jürgen Beck, Andreas Raabe, Daniel Candinas, Dominique Kuhlen and Luigi Mariani

OBJECT

In ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery, laparoscopic assistance can be used for placement of the peritoneal catheter. Until now, the efficacy of laparoscopic shunt placement has been investigated only in retrospective and nonrandomized prospective studies, which have reported decreased distal shunt dysfunction rates in patients undergoing laparascopic placement compared with mini-laparotomy cohorts. In this randomized controlled trial the authors compared rates of shunt failure in patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for peritoneal catheter placement with rates in patients who underwent traditional mini-laparotomy.

METHODS

One hundred twenty patients scheduled for VP shunt surgery were randomized to laparoscopic surgery or mini-laparotomy for insertion of the peritoneal catheter. The primary endpoint was the rate of overall shunt complication or failure within the first 12 months after surgery. Secondary endpoints were distal shunt failure, overall complication/ failure, duration of surgery and hospitalization, and morbidity.

RESULTS

The overall shunt complication/failure rate was 15% (9 of 60 cases) in the laparoscopic group and 18.3% (11 of 60 cases) in the mini-laparotomy group (p = 0.404). Patients in the laparoscopic group had no distal shunt failures; in contrast, 5 (8%) of 60 patients in the mini-laparotomy group experienced distal shunt failure (p = 0.029). Intraoperative complications occurred in 2 patients (both in the laparoscopic group), and abdominal pain led to catheter removal in 1 patient per group. Infections occurred in 1 patient in the laparoscopic group and 3 in the mini-laparotomy group. The mean durations of surgery and hospitalization were similar in the 2 groups.

CONCLUSIONS

While overall shunt failure rates were similar in the 2 groups, the use of laparoscopic shunt placement significantly reduced the rate of distal shunt failure compared with mini-laparotomy.

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Christian Fung, Mathias Balmer, Michael Murek, Werner J. Z'Graggen, Janine Abu-Isa, Christoph Ozdoba, Matthias Haenggi, Stephan M. Jakob, Andreas Raabe and Jürgen Beck

OBJECT

After subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), seizure occurs in up to 26% of patients. The impact of seizure on outcome has been studied, yet its impact on grading is unknown. The authors evaluated the impact of early-onset seizures (EOS) on grading of spontaneous SAH and on outcome.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis included consecutive patients with SAH who were treated at the NeuroCenter, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Switzerland, between January 2005 and December 2010. Demographic data, clinical data, and reports of EOS were recorded. The EOS were defined as seizures occurring within 24 hours after ictus. Patients were graded according to the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) scale pre- and postresuscitation and dichotomized into good (WFNS I–III) and poor (WFNS IV–V) grades. Outcome was assessed at 6 months by using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS); an mRS score of 0–3 was considered a good outcome and an mRS score of 4–6 was considered a poor outcome.

RESULTS

Forty-one of 425 patients with SAH had EOS. Twenty-seven of those 41 patients (65.9%) had a poor WFNS grade. Twenty-eight (68.3%) achieved a good outcome, 11 (26.8%) had a poor outcome, and 2 (4.9%) were lost to followup. Early-onset seizures were proven in 9 of 16 electroencephalograms. The EOS were associated with poor WFNS grade (OR 2.81, 97.5% CI 1.14–7.46; p = 0.03) and good outcome (OR 4.01, 97.5% CI 1.63–10.53; p = 0.03). Increasing age, hydrocephalus, intracerebral hemorrhage, and intraventricular hemorrhage were associated with poor WFNS grade, whereas only age, intracerebral hemorrhage (p < 0.001), and poor WFNS grade (p < 0.001) were associated with poor outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with EOS were classified significantly more often in a poor grade initially, but then they significantly more often achieved a good outcome. The authors conclude that EOS can negatively influence grading. This might influence decision making for the care of patients with SAH, so grading of patients with EOS should be interpreted with caution.