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Donald P. Becker

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Donald P. Becker

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Joshua R. Dusick, Felice Esposito, Daniel F. Kelly, Pejman Cohan, Antonio DeSalles, Donald P. Becker and Neil A. Martin

Object. The extended transsphenoidal approach, which requires a bone and dural opening through the tuberculum sellae and posterior planum sphenoidale, is increasingly used for the treatment of nonadenomatous suprasellar tumors. The authors present their experiences in using the direct endonasal approach in patients with nonadenomatous suprasellar tumors.

Methods. Surgery was performed with the aid of an operating microscope and angled endoscopes were used to assess the completeness of resection. Bone and dural defects were repaired using abdominal fat, collagen sponge, titanium mesh, and, in most cases, lumbar drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Twenty-six procedures for tumor removal were performed in 24 patients (ages 9–79 years), including two repeated operations for residual tumor. Gross-total removal could be accomplished in only 46% of patients, with near-gross-total removal or better in 74% of 23 patients (five of eight with craniopharyngiomas, six of seven with meningiomas, five of six with Rathke cleft cysts, and one of two with a dermoid or epidermoid cyst); a patient with a lymphoma only underwent biopsy. Of 13 patients with tumor-related visual loss, 85% improved postoperatively. The complications that occurred included five patients (21%) with postoperative CSF leaks, one patient (4%) with bacterial meningitis; five patients (21%) with new endocrinopathy; and two patients (8%) who needed to undergo repeated operations to downsize suprasellar fat grafts. The only permanent neurological deficit was anosmia in one patient; there were no intracranial vascular injuries.

Conclusions. The direct endonasal skull-base approach provides an effective minimally invasive means for resecting or debulking nonadenomatous suprasellar tumors that have traditionally been approached through a sublabial or transcranial route. Procedures in the supraglandular space can be performed effectively with excellent visualization of the optic apparatus while preserving pituitary function in most cases. The major challenge remains developing consistently effective techniques to prevent postoperative CSF leaks.

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Paul M. Vespa, W. John Boscardin, David A. Hovda, David L. McArthur, Marc R. Nuwer, Neil A. Martin, Valeriy Nenov, Thomas C. Glenn, Marvin Bergsneider, Daniel F. Kelly and Donald P. Becker

Object. Early prediction of outcomes in patients after they suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often nonspecific and based on initial imaging and clinical findings alone, without direct physiological testing. Improved outcome prediction is desirable for ethical, social, and financial reasons. The goal of this study was to determine the usefulness of continuous electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring in determining prognosis early after TBI, while the patient is in the intensive care unit.

Methods. The authors hypothesized that the reduced percentage of alpha variability (PAV) in continuous EEG tracings indicates a poor prognosis. Prospective continuous EEG monitoring was performed in 89 consecutive patients with moderate to severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] Scores 3–12) from 0 to 10 days after injury. The PAV was calculated daily, and the time course and trends of the PAV were analyzed in comparison with the patient's Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at the time of discharge.

In patients with GCS scores of 8 or lower, a PAV value of 0.1 or lower is highly predictive of a poor outcome or death (positive predictive value 86%). The determinant PAV value was obtained by Day 3 after injury. Persistent PAV values of 0.1 or lower over several days or worsening of the PAV to a value of 0.1 or lower indicated a high likelihood of poor outcome (GOS Scores 1 and 2). In comparison with the combination of traditional initial clinical indicators of outcome (GCS score, pupillary response to light, patient age, results of computerized tomography scanning, and early hypotension or hypoxemia), the early PAV value during the initial 3 days after injury independently improved prognostic ability (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. Continuous EEG monitoring performed with particular attention paid to the PAV is a sensitive and specific method of prognosis that can indicate outcomes in patients with moderate to severe TBI within 3 days postinjury.

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Paul M. Vespa, Marc R. Nuwer, Valeriy Nenov, Elisabeth Ronne-Engstrom, David A. Hovda, Marvin Bergsneider, Daniel F. Kelly, Neil A. Martin and Donald P. Becker

Object. The early pathophysiological features of traumatic brain injury observed in the intensive care unit (ICU) have been described in terms of altered cerebral blood flow, altered brain metabolism, and neurochemical excitotoxicity. Seizures occur in animal models of brain injury and in human brain injury. Previous studies of posttraumatic seizures in humans have been based principally on clinical observations without a systematic approach to electroencephalographic (EEG) recording of seizures. The purpose of this study was to determine prospectively the incidence of convulsive and nonconvulsive seizures by using continuous EEG monitoring in patients in the ICU during the initial 14 days postinjury.

Methods. Ninety-four patients with moderate-to-severe brain injuries underwent continuous EEG monitoring beginning at admission to the ICU (mean delay 9.6 ± 5.4 hours) and extending up to 14 days postinjury. Convulsive and nonconvulsive seizures occurred in 21 (22%) of the 94 patients, with six of them displaying status epilepticus. In more than half of the patients (52%) the seizures were nonconvulsive and were diagnosed on the basis of EEG studies alone. All six patients with status epilepticus died, compared with a mortality rate of 24% (18 of 73) in the nonseizure group (p < 0.001). The patients with status epilepticus had a shorter mean length of stay (9.14 ± 5.9 days compared with 14 ± 9 days [t-test, p < 0.03]). Seizures occurred despite initiation of prophylactic phenytoin on admission to the emergency room, with maintenance at mean levels of 16.6 ± 2.8 mg/dl. No differences in key prognostic factors (such as the Glasgow Coma Scale score, early hypoxemia, early hypotension, or 1-month Glasgow Outcome Scale score) were found between the patients with seizures and those without.

Conclusions. Seizures occur in more than one in five patients during the 1st week after moderate-to-severe brain injury and may play a role in the pathobiological conditions associated with brain injury.

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Paul M. Vespa, Marc R. Nuwer, Valeriy Nenov, Elisabeth Ronne-Engstrom, David A. Hovda, Marvin Bergsneider, Daniel F. Kelly, Neil A. Martin and Donald P. Becker

Object

The early pathophysiological features of traumatic brain injury observed in the intensive care unit (ICU) have been described in terms of altered cerebral blood flow, altered brain metabolism, and neurochemical excitotoxicity. Seizures occur in animal models of brain injury and in human brain injury. Previous studies of posttraumatic seizures in humans have been based principally on clinical observations without a systematic approach to electroencephalographic (EEG) recording of seizures. The purpose of this study was to determine prospectively the incidence of convulsive and nonconvulsive seizures by using continuous EEG monitoring in patients in the ICU during the initial 14 days postinjury.

Methods

Ninety-four patients with moderate-to-severe brain injuries underwent continuous EEG monitoring beginning at admission to the ICU (mean delay 9.6 ± 5.4 hours) and extending up to 14 days postinjury. Convulsive and nonconvulsive seizures occurred in 21 (22%) of the 94 patients, with six of them displaying status epilepticus. In more than half of the patients (52%) the seizures were nonconvulsive and were diagnosed on the basis of EEG studies alone. All six patients with status epilepticus died, compared with a mortality rate of 18 (24%) of 73 in the nonseizure group (p < 0.001). The patients with status epilepticus had a shorter mean length of stay (9.14 ± 5.9 days compared with 14 ± 9 days (t-test, p < 0.03). Seizures occurred despite initiation of prophylactic phenytoin on admission to the emergency room, with maintenance at mean levels of 16.6 ± 2.8 mg/dl. No differences in key prognostic factors (such as the Glasgow Coma Scale score, early hypoxemia, early hypotension, or 1-month Glasgow Outcome Scale score) were found between the patients with seizures and those without.

Conclusions

Seizures occur in more than one in five patients during the 1st week after moderate-to-severe brain injury and may play a role in the pathobiological conditions associated with brain injury.

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Linda M. Liau, Keith L. Black, Robert M. Prins, Steven N. Sykes, Pier-Luigi DiPatre, Timothy F. Cloughesy, Donald P. Becker and Jeff M. Bronstein

Object. An approach toward the treatment of intracranial gliomas was developed in a rat experimental model. The authors investigated the ability of “professional” antigen-presenting cells (dendritic cells) to enhance host antitumor immune responses when injected as a vaccine into tumor-bearing animals.

Methods. Dendritic cells, the most potent antigen-presenting cells in the body, were isolated from rat bone marrow precursors stimulated in vitro with granulocyte—macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-4. Cultured cell populations were confirmed to be functional antigen-presenting cells on the basis of expressed major histocompatibility molecules, as analyzed by fluorescence-activated cell sorter cytofluorography. These dendritic cells were then pulsed (cocultured) ex vivo with acid-eluted tumor antigens from 9L glioma cells. Thirty-eight adult female Fischer 344 rats harboring 7-day-old intracranial 9L tumors were treated with three weekly subcutaneous injections of either control media (10 animals), unpulsed dendritic cells (six animals), dendritic cells pulsed with peptides extracted from normal rat astrocytes (10 animals), or 9L tumor antigen—pulsed dendritic cells (12 animals). The animals were followed for survival. At necropsy, the rat brains were removed and examined histologically, and spleens were harvested for cell-mediated cytotoxicity assays.

The results indicate that tumor peptide-pulsed dendritic cell therapy led to prolonged survival in rats with established intracranial 9L tumors implanted 7 days prior to the initiation of vaccine therapy in vivo. Immunohistochemical analyses were used to document a significantly increased perilesional and intratumoral infiltration of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the groups treated with tumor antigen—pulsed dendritic cells compared with the control groups. In addition, the results of in vitro cytotoxicity assays suggest that vaccination with these peptide-pulsed dendritic cells can induce specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes against 9L tumor cells.

Conclusions. Based on these results, dendritic antigen-presenting cells pulsed with acid-eluted peptides derived from autologous tumors represent a promising approach to the immunotherapy of established intracranial gliomas, which may serve as a basis for designing clinical trials in patients with brain tumors.

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Paul Vespa, Mayumi Prins, Elizabeth Ronne-Engstrom, Michael Caron, Ehud Shalmon, David A. Hovda, Neil A. Martin and Donald P. Becker

Object. To determine the extent and duration of change in extracellular glutamate levels after human traumatic brain injury (TBI), 17 severely brain injured adults underwent implantation of a cerebral microdialysis probe and systematic sampling was conducted for 1 to 9 days postinjury.

Methods. A total of 772 hourly microdialysis samples were obtained in 17 patients (median Glasgow Coma Scale score 5 ± 2.5, mean age 39.4 ± 20.4 years). The mean (± standard deviation) glutamate levels in the dialysate were evaluated for 9 days, during which the mean peak concentration reached 25.4 ± 13.7 (µM on postinjury Day 3. In each patient transient elevations in glutamate were seen each day. However, these elevations were most commonly seen on Day 3. In all patients there was a mean of 4.5 ± 2.5 transient elevations in glutamate lasting a mean duration of 4.4 ± 4.9 hours. These increases were seen in conjunction with seizure activity. However, in many seizure-free patients the increase in extracellular glutamate occurred when cerebral perfusion pressure was less than 70 mm Hg (p < 0.001). Given the potential injury-induced uncoupling of cerebral blood flow and metabolism after TBI, these increases in extracellular glutamate may reflect a degree of enhanced cellular crisis, which in severe head injury in humans appears to last up to 9 days.

Conclusions. Extracellular neurochemical measurements of excitatory amino acids may provide a marker for secondary insults that can compound human TBI.

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Jae Hong Lee, Neil A. Martin, George Alsina, David L. McArthur, Ken Zaucha, David A. Hovda and Donald P. Becker

✓ The authors prospectively investigated cerebral hemodynamic changes in 152 patients with head injuries to clarify the relationship between cerebral vasospasm and outcome. They also sought to determine the most clinically meaningful criteria for diagnosing cerebral vasospasm. Patients with varying degrees of moderate-to-severe head injury were monitored using transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography and intravenous 133Xe—cerebral blood flow (CBF) measurements. Outcome was determined at 6 months. Using TCD ultrasonography, mean flow velocities were determined for the middle cerebral artery (VMCA, 149 patients) and basilar artery (VBA, 126 patients). Recordings of the mean extracranial internal carotid artery velocity (VEC-ICA) were also performed to determine the hemispheric ratio (VMCA/VEC-ICA, 147 patients). Cerebral blood flow measurements were obtained in 91 patients. Concurrent TCD and CBF data from 85 patients were used to calculate a “spasm index” (the VMCA or VBA, respectively, divided by the hemispheric or global CBF). The authors investigated the clinical significance of elevated flow velocity, hemispheric ratio, and spasm index. Patients diagnosed as having MCA or BA vasospasm on the basis of TCD-derived criteria alone had a significantly worse outcome than patients without vasospasm. When CBF was considered, hemodynamically significant vasospasm, as defined by an elevated spasm index, was even more strongly associated with poor outcome. Stepwise logistic regression analysis confirmed that hemodynamically significant vasospasm was a significant predictor of poor outcome, independent of the effects of admission Glasgow Coma Scale score and age. On the basis of the results of this study, the authors suggest that the important factor impacting on outcome is not vasospasm per se, but hemodynamically significant vasospasm with low CBF. These findings show that vasospasm is a pathophysiologically important posttraumatic secondary insult, which is best diagnosed by the combined use of TCD and CBF measurements.