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Dallas L. Sheinberg, David J. McCarthy, Omar Elwardany, Jean-Paul Bryant, Evan Luther, Stephanie H. Chen, John W. Thompson and Robert M. Starke

Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction is known to contribute to cerebral aneurysm (CA) pathogenesis. Evidence shows that damage or injury to the EC layer is the first event in CA formation. The mechanisms behind EC dysfunction in CA disease are interrelated and include hemodynamic stress, hazardous nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, oxidative stress, estrogen imbalance, and endothelial cell-to-cell junction compromise. Abnormal variations in hemodynamic stress incite pathological EC transformation and inflammatory zone formation, ultimately leading to destruction of the vascular wall and aneurysm dilation. Hemodynamic stress activates key molecular pathways that result in the upregulation of chemotactic cytokines and adhesion molecules, leading to inflammatory cell recruitment and infiltration. Concurrently, oxidative stress damages EC-to-EC junction proteins, resulting in interendothelial gap formation. This further promotes leukocyte traffic into the vessel wall and the release of matrix metalloproteinases, which propagates vascular remodeling and breakdown. Abnormal hemodynamic stress and inflammation also trigger adverse changes in NOS activity, altering proper EC mediation of vascular tone and the local inflammatory environment. Additionally, the vasoprotective hormone estrogen modulates gene expression that often suppresses these harmful processes. Crosstalk between these sophisticated pathways contributes to CA initiation, progression, and rupture. This review aims to outline the complex mechanisms of EC dysfunction in CA pathogenesis.

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John W. Thompson, Omar Elwardany, David J. McCarthy, Dallas L. Sheinberg, Carlos M. Alvarez, Ahmed Nada, Brian M. Snelling, Stephanie H. Chen, Samir Sur and Robert M. Starke

Cerebral aneurysm rupture is a devastating event resulting in subarachnoid hemorrhage and is associated with significant morbidity and death. Up to 50% of individuals do not survive aneurysm rupture, with the majority of survivors suffering some degree of neurological deficit. Therefore, prior to aneurysm rupture, a large number of diagnosed patients are treated either microsurgically via clipping or endovascularly to prevent aneurysm filling. With the advancement of endovascular surgical techniques and devices, endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms is becoming the first-line therapy at many hospitals. Despite this fact, a large number of endovascularly treated patients will have aneurysm recanalization and progression and will require retreatment. The lack of approved pharmacological interventions for cerebral aneurysms and the need for retreatment have led to a growing interest in understanding the molecular, cellular, and physiological determinants of cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis, maturation, and rupture. To this end, the use of animal cerebral aneurysm models has contributed significantly to our current understanding of cerebral aneurysm biology and to the development of and training in endovascular devices. This review summarizes the small and large animal models of cerebral aneurysm that are being used to explore the pathophysiology of cerebral aneurysms, as well as the development of novel endovascular devices for aneurysm treatment.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Adam E. Flanders, Robert M. Starke, Michael P. Baldassari, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Michael Reid Gooch, Syed Omar Shah, David Hasan, Nabeel Herial, Robin D’Ambrosio, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

MRI and MRA studies are routinely obtained to identify the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA in the setting of an acute ICH, however, remains unclear. The authors’ goal was to determine the utility of early MRI/MRA in detecting underlying structural lesions in ICH and to identify patients in whom additional imaging during hospitalization could safely be foregone.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data obtained in 400 patients with spontaneous ICH diagnosed on noncontrast head CT scans who underwent MRI/MRA between 2015 and 2017 at their institution. MRI/MRA studies were reviewed to identify underlying lesions, such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, tumors, sinus thrombosis, moyamoya disease, and abscesses.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 65 ± 15.8 years. Hypertension was the most common (72%) comorbidity. Structural abnormalities were detected on MRI/MRA in 12.5% of patients. Structural lesions were seen in 5.7% of patients with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH, 14.1% of those with lobar ICH, 20.4% of those with cerebellar ICH, and 27.8% of those with brainstem ICH. Notably, the diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA was 0% in patients > 65 years with a basal ganglia/thalamic hemorrhage and 0% in those > 85 years with any ICH location, whereas it was 37% in patients < 50 years and 23% in those < 65 years. Multivariate analysis showed that decreasing age, absence of hypertension, and non–basal ganglia/thalamic location were predictors of finding an underlying lesion.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of MRI/MRA in ICH is highly variable, depending on patient age and hemorrhage location. The findings of this study do not support obtaining early MRI/MRA studies in patients ≥ 65 years with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH or in any ICH patients ≥ 85 years. In all other situations, early MRI/MRA remains valuable in ruling out underlying lesions.

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Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Michael J. Lang, Kaitlyn Barkley, Guilherme Barros, Justin Turpin, Ahmad Sweid, Robert M. Starke, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to determine the predictors of late neurological and hospital-acquired medical complications (HACs) in patients with low-grade aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 424 patients with low-grade aSAH admitted to their institution from 2008 to 2015. Data collected included patient comorbidities, Hunt and Hess (HH) grade, ICU length of stay (LOS), and complications. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the predictors for neurological and hospital-associated complications.

RESULTS

Out of 424 patients, 50 (11.8%) developed neurological complications after the first week, with a mean ICU stay of 16.3 ± 6.5 days. Of the remaining 374 patients without late neurological complications, 83 (22.2%) developed late HACs with a mean LOS of 15.1 ± 7.6 days, while those without medical complications stayed 11.8 ± 6.2 days (p = 0.001). Of the 83 patients, 55 (66.3%) did not have any HACs in the first week. Smoking (p = 0.062), history of cardiac disease (p = 0.043), HH grade III (p = 0.012), intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) (p = 0.012), external ventricular drain (EVD) placement (p = 0.002), and early pneumonia/urinary tract infection (UTI)/deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (p = 0.001) were independently associated with late HACs. Logistic regression showed early pneumonia/UTI/DVT (p = 0.026) and increased HH grade (p = 0.057) to be significant risk factors for late medical complications.

CONCLUSIONS

While an extended ICU admission allows closer monitoring, low-grade aSAH patients develop HACs despite being at low risk for neurological complications. The characteristics of low-grade aSAH patients who would benefit from early discharge are reported in detail.

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Mario Zanaty, Susanna Howard, Jorge A. Roa, Carlos M. Alvarez, David K. Kung, David J. McCarthy, Edgar A. Samaniego, Daichi Nakagawa, Robert M. Starke, Kaustubh Limaye, Sami Al Kasab, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, James Torner, Daniel Tranel and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Revascularization of a symptomatic, medically refractory, cervical chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) using endovascular techniques (ETs) has surfaced as a viable alternative to extracranial-intracranial bypass. The authors aimed to assess the safety, success, and neurocognitive outcomes of recanalization of COICA using ETs or hybrid treatment (ET plus carotid endarterectomy) and to identify candidate radiological markers that could predict success.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of their prospectively collected institutional database and used their previously published COICA classification to assess the potential benefits of ETs or hybrid surgery to revascularize symptomatic patients with COICA. Subjects who had undergone CT perfusion (CTP) imaging and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) testing, both pre- and postprocedure, were included. The authors then performed a review of the literature on patients with COICA to further evaluate the success and safety of these treatment alternatives.

RESULTS

The single-center study revealed 28 subjects who had undergone revascularization of symptomatic COICA. Five subjects had CTP imaging and MoCA testing pre- and postrevascularization and thus were included in the study. All 5 patients had very large penumbra involving the entire hemisphere supplied by the ipsilateral COICA, which resolved postoperatively. Significant improvement in neurocognitive outcome was demonstrated by MoCA testing after treatment (preprocedure: 19.8 ± 2.4, postprocedure: 27 ± 1.6; p = 0.0038). Moreover, successful revascularization of COICA led to full restoration of cerebral hemodynamics in all cases. Review of the literature identified a total of 333 patients with COICA. Of these, 232 (70%) showed successful recanalization after ETs or hybrid surgery, with low major and minor complication rates (3.9% and 2.7%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

ETs and hybrid surgery are safe and effective alternatives to revascularize patients with symptomatic COICA. CTP imaging could be used as a radiological marker to assess cerebral hemodynamics and predict the success of revascularization. Improvement in CTP parameters is associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive functions.

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Robert M. Starke, David J. McCarthy, Ching-Jen Chen, Hideyuki Kano, Brendan J. McShane, John Lee, Mohana Rao Patibandla, David Mathieu, Lucas T. Vasas, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Wei Gang Wang, Inga S. Grills, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gabriella Paisan, John Vargo, Tomas Chytka, Ladislava Janouskova, Caleb E. Feliciano, Nanthiya Sujijantarat, Charles Matouk, Veronica Chiang, Judith Hess, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Daniel A. Tonetti, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a study to evaluate the hemorrhagic rates of cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and the risk factors of hemorrhage following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS).

METHODS

Data from a cohort of patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. The annual posttreatment hemorrhage rate was calculated as the number of hemorrhages divided by the patient-years at risk. Risk factors for dAVF hemorrhage prior to GKRS and during the latency period after radiosurgery were evaluated in a multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 147 patients with dAVFs were treated with GKRS. Thirty-six patients (24.5%) presented with hemorrhage. dAVFs that had any cortical venous drainage (CVD) (OR = 3.8, p = 0.003) or convexity or torcula location (OR = 3.3, p = 0.017) were more likely to present with hemorrhage in multivariate analysis. Half of the patients had prior treatment (49.7%). Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients, with an overall annual risk of 0.84% during the latency period. The annual risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage for Borden type 2–3 dAVFs and Borden type 2–3 hemorrhagic dAVFs were 1.45% and 0.93%, respectively. No hemorrhage occurred after radiological confirmation of obliteration. Independent predictors of hemorrhage following GKRS included nonhemorrhagic neural deficit presentation (HR = 21.6, p = 0.027) and increasing number of past endovascular treatments (HR = 1.81, p = 0.036).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients have similar rates of hemorrhage before and after radiosurgery until obliteration is achieved. dAVFs that have any CVD or are located in the convexity or torcula were more likely to present with hemorrhage. Patients presenting with nonhemorrhagic neural deficits and a history of endovascular treatments had higher risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage.

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Robert M. Starke, David J. McCarthy, Ching-Jen Chen, Hideyuki Kano, Brendan McShane, John Lee, David Mathieu, Lucas T. Vasas, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Wei Gang Wang, Inga S. Grills, Mohana Rao Patibandla, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gabriella Paisan, John A. Vargo, Tomas Chytka, Ladislava Janouskova, Caleb E. Feliciano, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Daniel A. Tonetti, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

In this multicenter study, the authors reviewed the results obtained in patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and determined predictors of outcome.

METHODS

Data from a cohort of 114 patients who underwent GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as dAVF obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and dAVF characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome in a multivariate logistic regression analysis; dAVF-free obliteration was calculated in a competing-risk survival analysis; and Youden indices were used to determine optimal radiosurgical dose.

RESULTS

A mean margin dose of 21.8 Gy was delivered. The mean follow-up duration was 4 years (range 0.5–18 years). The overall obliteration rate was 68.4%. The postradiosurgery actuarial rates of obliteration at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 41.3%, 61.1%, 70.1%, and 82.0%, respectively. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients (annual risk of 0.9%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 10.4% of patients; 5.2% were symptomatic, and 3.5% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 63.2% of patients. Patients with middle fossa and tentorial dAVFs (OR 2.4, p = 0.048) and those receiving a margin dose greater than 23 Gy (OR 2.6, p = 0.030) were less likely to achieve a favorable outcome. Commonly used grading scales (e.g., Borden and Cognard) were not predictive of outcome. Female sex (OR 1.7, p = 0.03), absent venous ectasia (OR 3.4, p < 0.001), and cavernous carotid location (OR 2.1, p = 0.019) were predictors of GKRS-induced dAVF obliteration.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for cerebral dAVFs achieved obliteration and avoided permanent complications in the majority of patients. Those with cavernous carotid location and no venous ectasia were more likely to have fistula obliteration following radiosurgery. Commonly used grading scales were not reliable predictors of outcome following radiosurgery.

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Allan D. Levi, Robert M. Starke, Ricardo J. Komotar and Robert E. Harbaugh

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I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Kenneth C. Liu, E. Kelly Mrachek, M. Beatriz Lopes and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a commonly employed treatment modality for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, due to the low frequency of delayed cyst formation after AVM SRS, as well as the prolonged time interval between treatment and its occurrence, the characteristics of post-SRS cyst formation are not well defined. Therefore, the aims of this retrospective cohort study are to determine the rate of cyst formation after SRS for AVMs, identify predictive factors, and evaluate the clinical sequelae of post-SRS cysts.

METHODS

The authors analyzed an SRS database for AVM patients who underwent SRS at the University of Virginia and identified those who developed post-SRS cysts. Statistical analyses were performed to determine predictors of post-SRS cyst formation and the effect of cyst formation on new or worsening seizures after SRS.

RESULTS

The study cohort comprised 1159 AVM patients treated with SRS; cyst formation occurred in 17 patients (post-SRS cyst rate of 1.5%). Compared with patients who did not develop post-SRS cysts, those with cyst formation were treated with a greater number of radiosurgical isocenters (mean 3.8 vs 2.8, p = 0.047), had a longer follow-up (mean 132 vs 71 months, p < 0.001), were more likely to develop radiological radiation-induced changes (RIC) (64.7% vs 36.1%, p = 0.021), and had a longer duration of RIC (57 vs 21 months, p < 0.001). A higher number of isocenters (p = 0.014), radiological RIC (p = 0.002), and longer follow-up (p = 0.034) were found to be independent predictors of post-SRS cyst formation in the multivariate analysis. There was a trend toward a significant association between cyst formation and new or worsening seizures in univariate analysis (p = 0.054).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with greater nidal complexity appear to be more prone to post-SRS cyst formation. The findings of this study emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up for patients who have undergone AVM SRS, even after nidal obliteration is achieved. Post-SRS cysts may be epileptogenic, although seizure outcomes after AVM SRS are multifactorial.