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Ketan R. Bulsara, Matthew J. McGirt, Lawrence Liao, Alan T. Villavicencio, Cecil Borel, Michael J. Alexander and Allan H. Friedman

Object. Differentiating myocardial infarction (MI) from reversible neurogenic left ventricular dysfunction (stunned myocardium [SM]) associated with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is critical for early surgical intervention. The authors hypothesized that the cardiac troponin (cTn) trend and/or echocardiogram could be used to differentiate between the two entities.

Methods. A retrospective study was conducted for the period between 1995 and 2000. All patients included in the study met the following criteria: 1) no history of cardiac problems; 2) new onset of abnormal cardiac function (ejection fraction [EF] < 40% on echocardiograms); 3) serial cardiac markers (cTn and creatine kinase MB isoform [CK-MB]); 4) surgical intervention for their aneurysm; and 5) cardiac output monitoring either by repeated echocardiograms or invasive hemodynamic monitoring during the first 4 days post-SAH when the patients were euvolemic.

Of the 350 patients with SAH, 10 (2.9%) had severe cardiac dysfunction. Of those 10, six were women and four were men. The patients' mean age was 53.5 years (range 29–75 years) and their SAH was classified as Hunt and Hess Grade III or IV. Aneurysm distribution was as follows: basilar artery tip (four); anterior communicating artery (two); middle cerebral artery (one); posterior communicating artery (two); and posterior inferior cerebellar artery (one). The mean EF at onset was 33%. The changes on echocardiograms in these patients did not match the findings on electrocardiograms (EKGs). Within 4.5 days, dramatic improvement was seen in cardiac output (from 4.93 ± 1.16 L/minute to 7.74 ± 0.88 L/minute). Compared with historical controls in whom there were similar levels of left ventricular dysfunction after MI, there was no difference in peak CK-MB. A 10-fold difference, however, was noted in cTn values (0.22 ± 0.25 ng/ml; control 2.8 ng/ml; p < 0.001).

Conclusions. The authors determined the following: 1) that the CK-MB trend does not allow differentiation between SM and MI; 2) that echocardiograms revealing significant inconsistencies with EKGs are indicative of SM; and 3) that cTn values less than 2.8 ng/ml in patients with EFs less than 40% are consistent with SM.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Ketan R. Bulsara, Thomas J. Cummings, Kent C. New, Kenneth M. Little, Henry S. Friedman and Allan H. Friedman

Object. The prognostic value of differentiating between recurrent malignant glioma and a lesion due to radiation effect by performing stereotactic biopsy has not been assessed. Thus, this study was undertaken to determine such value.

Methods. Between 1995 and 2001, 114 patients underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging—guided stereotactic biopsy to differentiate lesions caused by a recurrence of malignant astrocytoma and by radiation effect. All patients had previously undergone tumor resection (World Health Organization Grade III or IV) followed by radiotherapy. Disease diagnosis based on biopsy and patient characteristics were assessed as predictors of survival according to results of a multivariate Cox regression analysis. The diagnosis determined with the aid of biopsy was compared with that established during a subsequent resection in 26 patients.

Survival following stereotactic biopsy was markedly increased in patients suffering from radiation effect compared with those harboring recurrent malignant glioma (p < 0.0001). In patients with radiation effect on biopsy, an increasing patient age (p < 0.05), having had two compared with one prior resection (p < 0.05), and a decreasing time from radiotherapy to biopsy (p < 0.001) were factors associated with decreased survival. Nevertheless, in patients with biopsy-defined radiation effect at second progression or with an age younger than 50 years the survival rate remained higher than that in patients with recurrent tumor on biopsy (p < 0.01). A biopsy-based diagnosis of radiation effect obtained less than 5 months after radiotherapy was not associated with an increased rate of patient survival compared with a diagnosis of recurrent malignant glioma on biopsy (p = 0.286). Eighty-six percent of lesions initially determined to be due to radiation effect on biopsy fewer than 5 months after radiotherapy were characterized as recurrent glioma by a mean of 11 months later. In contrast, only 25% of lesions initially diagnosed as attributable to radiation effect on biopsy more than 5 months after radiotherapy were classified as recurrent glioma a mean of 12 months later (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. With the aid of stereotactic biopsy the authors demonstrated prognostic significance in differentiating recurrent malignant astrocytoma from a lesion due to radiation effect in patients presenting more than 5 months after having undergone radiotherapy. In patients who presented earlier than 5 months after radiotherapy, radiation effect on biopsy was not associated with an improved rate of survival compared with that in patients harboring recurrent malignant astrocytoma.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Alan T. Villavicencio, Ketan R. Bulsara, Henry S. Friedman and Allan H. Friedman

✓ Adjuvant use of 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) wafers with surgical resection is becoming common for the treatment of malignant gliomas. Cyst formation in the tumor resection cavity is a recently described complication associated with the use of BCNU wafers. There is currently no report in which successful management of this complication without additional surgical intervention is described.

The authors describe four patients in whom postoperative cysts developed in the tumor resection cavity after placement of BCNU wafers. These include a 38-year-old man with a left frontoparietal tumor, a 48-year-old man with a right frontal lobe tumor, a 78-year-old man with a left parietooccipital tumor, and a 61-year-old woman with a left frontotemporal tumor. Histopathological studies of biopsy samples revealed malignant glioma in each patient. All four patients had unremarkable perioperative courses, were discharged within 3 to 8 days of surgery, and subsequently returned with acute neurological deterioration. Follow-up magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated cyst formation with significant mass effect at the previous resection site. Three patients were treated with high-dose dexamethasone and returned to their neurological baseline over an 8-day period. The fourth patient improved after surgical drainage and biopsy sampling of the cyst, which revealed no evidence of infection or recurrent tumor, but again sought medical care 2 weeks later with cyst recurrence necessitating high-dose steroid therapy. On MR images at least a 30% reduction in cyst size was demonstrated in all four patients, each of whom remained clinically stable at 2, 6, 6, and 4 months of follow-up review.

Neurosurgeons should be aware of the potential for postoperative cyst formation accompanied by clinically significant mass effect after BCNU wafer implantation, as well as the potential for successful nonsurgical management leading to clinical and radiological improvement.