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Matthew J. Koch, Christopher J. Stapleton, Pankaj K. Agarwalla, Collin Torok, John H. Shin, Jean-Valery Coumans, Lawrence F. Borges, Christopher S. Ogilvy, James D. Rabinov and Aman B. Patel

OBJECTIVE

Vascular malformations of the spine represent rare clinical entities with profound neurological implications. Previously reported studies on management strategies for spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (sDAVFs) appeared before the advent of modern liquid embolic agents. Authors of the present study review their institutional experience with endovascularly and surgically treated sDAVFs.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective, observational, single-center case series on sDAVFs treated with endovascular embolization, microsurgical occlusion, or both between 2004 and 2013. The mode, efficacy, and clinical effect of treatment were evaluated.

RESULTS

Forty-seven patients with spinal arteriovenous malformations were evaluated using spinal angiography, which demonstrated 34 Type I sDAVFs (thoracic 20, lumbar 12, and cervical 2). Twenty-nine of the patients (85%) were male, and the median patient age was 63.3 years. Twenty patients underwent primary endovascular embolization (16 Onyx, 4 N-butyl cyanoacrylate [NBCA]), and 14 underwent primary surgical clipping. At a mean follow-up of 36 weeks, according to angiography or MR angiography, 5 patients treated with endovascular embolization demonstrated persistent arteriovenous shunting, whereas none of the surgically treated patients showed lesion persistence (p = 0.0237). Thirty patients (88%) experienced some resolution of their presenting symptoms (embolization 17 [85%], surgery 13 [93%], p = 1.00).

CONCLUSIONS

Microsurgical occlusion remains the most definitive treatment modality for sDAVFs, though modern endovascular techniques remain a viable option for the initial treatment of anatomically amenable lesions. Treatment of these lesions usually results in some clinical improvement.

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Andrew Q. Le, Brian P. Walcott, Navid Redjal and Jean-Valery Coumans

Jugular foramen syndrome is a condition characterized by unilateral paresis of cranial nerves IX, X, and XI in the setting of extrinsic compression. Here, the authors describe the case of a giant cervical osteophyte resulting in compression of the jugular foramen. A 74-year-old man who presented with progressive dysphagia and dysarthria was found to have right-sided tongue deviation, left palatal droop, and hypophonia. His dysphagia had progressed to the point that he had lost 25 kg over a 4-month period, necessitating a gastrostomy to maintain adequate nutrition. He underwent extensive workup for his dysphagia with several normal radiographic studies. Ultimately, CT scanning and postcontrast MRI revealed a posterior osteophyte arising from the C1–2 joint space and projecting into the right jugular foramen. This resulted in a jugular foramen syndrome in addition to delayed filling of the patient's right internal jugular vein distal to the osteophyte. Although rare, a posterior cervical osteophyte should be considered in cases of jugular foramen syndrome.

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Brian P. Walcott, Jonathan B. Neal, Sameer A. Sheth, Kristopher T. Kahle, Emad N. Eskandar, Jean-Valery Coumans and Brian V. Nahed

Object

Dural closure with synthetic grafts has been suggested to contribute to the incidence of infection and CSF leak. The objective of this study was to assess the contribution of choice of dural closure material, as well as other factors, to the incidence of infection and CSF leak.

Methods

A retrospective, consecutive cohort study of adult patients undergoing elective craniotomy was established between April 2010 and March 2011 at a single center. Exclusion criteria consisted of trauma, bur hole placement alone, and temporary CSF fluid diversion.

Results

Three hundred ninety-nine patients were included (mean follow-up 396.6 days). Nonautologous (synthetic) dural substitute was more likely to be used (n = 106) in cases of reoperation (p = 0.001). Seventeen patients developed a surgical site infection and 12 patients developed a CSF leak. Multivariate logistic regression modeling identified estimated blood loss (OR 1.002, 95% CI 1.001–1.003; p < 0.001) and cigarette smoking (OR 2.198, 95% CI 1.109–4.238; p = 0.019) as significant predictors of infection. Synthetic dural graft was not a predictor of infection in multivariate analysis. Infratentorial surgery (OR 4.348, 95% CI 1.234–16.722; p = 0.024) and more than 8 days of postoperative corticosteroid treatment (OR 3.886, 95% CI 1.052–16.607; p = 0.048) were significant predictors for the development of CSF leak. Synthetic dural graft was associated with a lower likelihood of CSF leak (OR 0.072, 95% CI 0.003–0.552; p = 0.036).

Conclusions

The use of synthetic dural closure material is not associated with surgical site infection and is associated with a reduced incidence of CSF leak. Modifiable risk factors exist for craniotomy complications that warrant vigilance and further study.

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Ahmed J. Awad, Brian P. Walcott, Christopher J. Stapleton, Vijay Yanamadala, Brian V. Nahed and Jean-Valery Coumans

Dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa) is a novel oral anticoagulant that has gained FDA approval for the prevention of ischemic stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. In randomized trials, the incidence of hemorrhagic events has been demonstrated to be lower in patients treated with dabigatran compared with the traditional anticoagulant warfarin. However, dabigatran does not have reliable laboratory tests to measure levels of anticoagulation and there is no pharmacological antidote. These drawbacks are challenging in the setting of intracerebral hemorrhage. In this article, the authors provide background information on dabigatran, review the existing anecdotal experiences with treating intracerebral hemorrhage related to dabigatran therapy, present a case study of intracranial hemorrhage in a patient being treated with dabigatran, and suggest clinical management strategies. The development of reversal agents is urgently needed given the growing number of patients treated with this medication.

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Brian P. Walcott, Churl-Su Kwon, Sameer A. Sheth, Corey R. Fehnel, Robert M. Koffie, Wael F. Asaad, Brian V. Nahed and Jean-Valery Coumans

Object

Decompressive craniectomy mandates subsequent cranioplasty. Complications of cranioplasty may be independent of the initial craniectomy, or they may be contingent upon the craniectomy. Authors of this study aimed to identify surgery- and patient-specific risk factors related to the development of surgical site infection and other complications following cranioplasty.

Methods

A consecutive cohort of patients of all ages and both sexes who had undergone cranioplasty following craniectomy for stroke or trauma at a single institution in the period from May 2004 to May 2012 was retrospectively established. Patients who had undergone craniectomy for infectious lesions or neoplasia were excluded. A logistic regression analysis was performed to model and predict determinants related to infection following cranioplasty.

Results

Two hundred thirty-nine patients met the study criteria. The overall rate of complication following cranioplasty was 23.85% (57 patients). Complications included, predominantly, surgical site infection, hydrocephalus, and new-onset seizures. Logistic regression analysis identified previous reoperation (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.30–8.11, p = 0.01) and therapeutic indication for stroke (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.11–5.39, p = 0.03) as significantly associated with the development of cranioplasty infection. Patient age, location of cranioplasty, presence of an intracranial device, bone flap preservation method, cranioplasty material, booking method, and time interval > 90 days between initial craniectomy and cranioplasty were not predictive of the development of cranioplasty infection.

Conclusions

Cranioplasty complications are common. Cranioplasty infection rates are predicted by reoperation following craniectomy and therapeutic indication (stroke). These variables may be associated with patient-centered risk factors that increase cranioplasty infection risk.

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Claire Blumenthal, Jill Curran, Edward C. Benzel, Rachel Potter, Subu N. Magge, J. Frederick Harrington Jr., Jean-Valery Coumans and Zoher Ghogawala

Object

It is not known whether adding fusion to lumbar decompression is necessary for all patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis with symptomatic stenosis. Determining specific radiographic traits that might predict delayed instability following decompression surgery might guide clinical decision making regarding the utility of up-front fusion in patients with degenerative Grade I spondylolisthesis.

Methods

Patients with Grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (3–14 mm) with symptomatic stenosis were prospectively enrolled from a single site between May 2002 and September 2009 and treated with decompressive laminectomy without fusion. Patients with mechanical back pain or with gross motion (> 3 mm) on flexion-extension lumbar radiographs were excluded. The baseline radiographic variables measured included amount of slippage, disc height, facet angle, motion at spondylolisthesis (flexion-extension), and sagittal rotation angle. Data were analyzed using multivariate forward selection stepwise logistic regression, chi-square tests, Student t-test, and ANOVA.

Results

Forty patients were enrolled and treated with laminectomy without fusion, and all patients had complete radiographic data sets that were available for analysis. Reoperation was performed in 15 (37.5%) of 40 patients, with a mean follow-up duration of 3.6 years. Reoperation was performed for pain caused by instability at the index level in all 15 cases. Using multivariate stepwise logistic regression with a threshold p value of 0.35, motion at spondylolisthesis, disc height, and facet angle were predictors of reoperation following surgery. Facet angle > 50° was associated with a 39% rate of reoperation, disc height > 6.5 mm was associated with a 45% rate of reoperation, and motion at spondylolisthesis > 1.25 mm was associated with a 54% rate of reoperation. Patients with all 3 risk factors for instability had a 75% rate of reoperation, whereas patients with no risk factors for instability had a 0% rate of reoperation (p = 0.14).

Conclusions

Patients with motion at spondylolisthesis > 1.25 mm, disc height > 6.5 mm, and facet angle > 50° are more likely to experience instability following decompression surgery for Grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. Identification of key risk factors for instability might improve patient selection for decompression without fusion surgery. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00109213

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Brandyn Castro, Brian P. Walcott, Navid Redjal, Jean-Valery Coumans and Brian V. Nahed

Frontal sinus fractures are heterogeneous, and management of these fractures is often modified based on injury pattern and institutional experience. The optimal initial treatment of frontal sinus fractures is controversial. Treatment strategies are aimed at correcting cosmetic deformity, as well as at preventing delayed complications, including CSF fistulas, mucocele formation, and infection. Existing treatment options include observation, reconstruction, obliteration, cranialization, or a combination thereof. Modalities for treatment encompass both open surgical approaches and endoscopic techniques. In the absence of Class I data, the authors review the existing literature related to treatment strategies of frontal sinus fractures, particularly as they relate to CSF fistulas, to provide recommendations based on the best available evidence.