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Luigi A. Lanterna, Carlo Brembilla and Paolo Gritti

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Giuseppe Lanzino, Anthony M. Burrows, Kelly D. Flemming and Harry J. Cloft

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Nancy McLaughlin, Radoslav Raychev, Gary Duckwiler and Neil A. Martin

The finding of dilated, elongated, and tortuous vessels on brain imaging should prompt clinicians to determine what vascular anomaly is present. Importantly, not all suspicious serpentine flow voids are manifestations of arteriovenous malformations or arteriovenous fistulas. Other types of intracranial vasculopathies should also be considered. The authors report a rare case of dilated, tortuous, and redundant left posterior communicating artery and left P2 segment of the posterior cerebral artery identified in a young healthy adult that remained stable over a 30-year period. Dynamic and 3D images were critical for determining the type of vascular anomaly and for guiding appropriate management. The authors propose that this case represents a pure arterial malformation and discuss its distinguishing features.

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Tim W. Malisch, Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Gary Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, Neil A. Martin, John G. Frazee and Joan S. Chmiel

Object. Embolization of intracranial aneurysms by using Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs) is proving to be a safe method of protecting aneurysms from rupture. Occasionally, patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms present with symptoms related to the aneurysm's mass effect on either the brain parenchyma or cranial nerves. In the present study, the authors conducted a retrospective review to evaluate the response to GDC embolization in a series of 19 patients presenting with cranial nerve dysfunction due to mass effect.

Methods. Aneurysms were classified by size, shape, wall calcification, and amount of intraluminal thrombus. Patients were classified by duration of symptoms prior to GDC treatment (range < 1 month to > 10 years). Clinical assessment was performed within days of the GDC procedure and at later follow-up appointments (range 1–70 months, mean 24 months).

In the immediate post-GDC period, four patients experienced worsening of cranial nerve deficits. Two of the four patients had transient worsening of visual acuity, which later improved to better than baseline status. Another patient who had presented with headache and seventh and eighth cranial nerve deficits from a vertebrobasilar junction aneurysm had improvement in these symptoms, but developed a new diplopia. The fourth patient had worsening of her visual acuity, which had not resolved at the 1-month follow-up examination; this patient later underwent surgical decompression.

Conclusions. On late follow-up review, the response was classified as complete resolution of symptoms in six patients (32%), improvement in eight patients (42%), no significant change in four patients (21%), and symptom worsening in one patient (5%). Patients with smaller aneurysms and those with shorter pretreatment duration of symptoms were more likely to experience an improvement in their symptoms following GDC treatment, although statistical significance was not reached in this series (p = 0.603 and p = 0.111, respectively). The presence of aneurysmal wall calcification (six patients) or intraluminal thrombus (12 patients) showed no correlation with the response of mass effect symptoms in these patients.

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Tim W. Malisch, Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Gary Duckwiler, Y. Pierre Gobin, Neil A. Martin and John G. Frazee

✓ A prospective study was designed to evaluate clinical outcome in a series of 100 consecutively treated patients who underwent endovascular embolization of 104 intracranial aneurysms using Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs). Midterm clinical outcome (2–6 years, average 3.5 years) was obtained for 94 patients and was classified according to a modified Glasgow Outcome Scale.

Of nine patients treated in the acute phase of severe subarachnoid hemorrhage (Grade IV or V), seven died from the initial hemorrhage, one had a poor outcome, and one had a fair midterm outcome, with no post-GDC embolization hemorrhages.

Twenty patients underwent subsequent surgical or endovascular procedures that did not include the use of GDCs. These included aneurysm clipping in nine patients and parent vessel sacrifice in 11 patients. None of these 20 patients experienced post-GDC embolization hemorrhage. The postoperative midterm clinical outcomes of these 20 patients did not significantly differ from the outcomes of patients who underwent GDC embolization as their definitive treatment.

Six patients died of unrelated causes prior to reaching the 2-year survival point, with no post-GDC embolization hemorrhage. The midterm outcomes of the remaining 61 patients who underwent GDC embolization as their definitive treatment were classified as excellent (46 patients [75%]), good (seven patients [11%]), fair (three patients [5%]), poor (one patient [2%]), or dead (four patients [7%]). All four patients died from giant lesions. At midterm follow up, the surviving 57 patients' neurological statuses were unchanged or improved in 54 cases and worsened in three cases. The midterm post-GDC embolization hemorrhage rate was 0% for small aneurysms, 4% (one case) for large aneurysms, and 33% (five cases) for giant lesions.

The GDC procedure is a safe, effective, and reliable means of preventing aneurysm hemorrhage in patients with small and large intracranial aneurysms. Results, however, are less satisfactory in cases involving giant lesions. Further follow-up review is necessary to establish durability in the longer term. Patients with Grade IV or V subarachnoid hemorrhage in this series generally had poor outcomes even if the GDC procedure was successful in occluding the aneurysm.

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Fernando Viñuela, Jacques E. Dion, Gary Duckwiler, Neil A. Martin, Pedro Lylyk, Allan Fox, David Pelz, Charles G. Drake, John J. Girvin and Gerard Debrun

✓ The authors describe their experience with 101 cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) treated by endovascular embolization followed by surgical removal. Fifty-three patients presented with intracranial hemorrhage and 35 had seizures. Based on the classification of Spetzler and Martin, two AVM's were Grade I, 13 were Grade II, 26 were Grade III, 43 were Grade IV, and 17 were Grade V, Fifty-six AVM's were in the right hemisphere, 28 were in the left hemisphere, 12 were in the corpus callosum, and five involved the cerebellum. In 50 cases, presurgical obliteration of 50% to 75% of the AVM nidus was achieved by embolization, and in 31 cases this percentage increased to between 75% and 90%. In 97 (96%) patients, complete surgical removal of the AVM was obtained.

Morbidity resulting from preoperative endovascular embolization was classified as mild in 3.9% of the cases, moderate in 6.9%, and severe in 1.98%. The death rate related to embolization was 0.9%. The immediate postsurgical morbidity was classified as mild in 5.9% of the cases, moderate in 10.8%, and severe in 5.9%. The overall long-term morbidity was mild in 5.9% of the cases, moderate in 6.9%, and severe in 1.98%. Two patients (1.98%) died due to intractable intraoperative hemorrhage and two (1.98%) as a result of postsurgical pulmonary complications.