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Prashant Chittiboina, S. Lalith Talagala, Hellmut Merkle, Joelle E. Sarlls, Blake K. Montgomery, Martin G. Piazza, Gretchen Scott, Abhik Ray-Chaudhury, Russell R. Lonser, Edward H. Oldfield, Alan P. Koretsky and John A. Butman

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary MR imaging fails to detect over 50% of microadenomas in Cushing's disease and nearly 80% of cases of dural microinvasion. Surface coils can generate exceptionally high-resolution images of the immediately adjacent tissues. To improve imaging of the pituitary gland, a receive-only surface coil that can be placed within the sphenoid sinus (the endosphenoidal coil [ESC]) during transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) was developed and assessed.

METHODS

Five cadaver heads were used for preclinical testing of the ESC. The ESC (a double-turn, 12-mm-diameter surface coil made from 1-mm-diameter copper wire) was developed to obtain images in a 1.5-T MR scanner. The ESC was placed (via a standard sublabial TSS approach) on the anterior sella face. Clinical MR scans were obtained using the 8-channel head coil and ESC as the receiver coils. Using the ESC, ultra–high-resolution, 3D, balanced fast field echo (BFFE) and T1-weighted imaging were performed at resolutions of 0.25 × 0.25 × 0.50 mm3 and 0.15 × 0.15 × 0.30 mm3, respectively.

RESULTS

Region-of-interest analysis indicated a 10-fold increase in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the pituitary when using the ESC compared with the 8-channel head coil. ESC-related improvements (p < 0.01) in the SNR were inversely proportional to the distance from the ESC tip to the anterior pituitary gland surface. High-resolution BFFE MR imaging obtained using ESC revealed a number of anatomical features critical to pituitary surgery that were not visible on 8-channel MR imaging, including the pituitary capsule, the intercavernous sinus, and microcalcifications in the pars intermedia. These ESC imaging findings were confirmed by the pathological correlation with whole-mount pituitary sections.

CONCLUSIONS

ESC can significantly improve SNR in the sellar region intraoperatively using current 1.5-T MR imaging platforms. Improvement in SNR can provide images of the sella and surrounding structures with unprecedented resolution. Clinical use of this ESC may allow for MR imaging detection of previously occult pituitary adenomas and identify microscopic invasion of the dura or cavernous sinus.

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Kristin Huntoon, Tianxia Wu, J. Bradley Elder, John A. Butman, Emily Y. Chew, W. Marston Linehan, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

OBJECT

Peritumoral cysts are frequently associated with CNS hemangioblastomas and often underlie neurological morbidity and mortality. To determine their natural history and clinical impact, the authors prospectively analyzed hemangioblastoma-associated peritumoral cysts in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.

METHODS

Patients with VHL disease who had 2 or more years of follow-up and who were enrolled in a prospective study at the National Institutes of Health were included. Serial prospectively acquired laboratory, genetic, imaging, and clinical data were analyzed.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-two patients (of 225 in the VHL study with at least 2 years of follow-up) had peritumoral cysts that were followed for more than 2 years (total of 292 CNS peritumoral cysts). The mean age at study entrance was 37.4 ± 13.1 years ([mean ± SD], median 37.9, range 12.3–65.1 years). The mean follow-up was 7.0 ± 1.7 years (median 7.3, range 2.1–9.0 years). Over the study period, 121 of the 292 peritumoral cysts (41.4%) became symptomatic. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number cysts at study enrollment (p = 0.002) and younger age (p < 0.0001). Cyst growth rate was associated with anatomical location (cerebellum cysts grew faster than spine and brainstem cysts; p = 0.0002 and p = 0.0008), younger age (< 35 years of age; p = 0.0006), and development of new neurological symptoms (p < 0.0001). Cyst size at symptom production depended on anatomical location (p < 0.0001; largest to smallest were found, successively, in the cerebellum, spinal cord, and brainstem). The most common location for peritumoral cysts was the cerebellum (184 cysts [63%]; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

Peritumoral cysts frequently underlie symptom formation that requires surgical intervention in patients with VHL disease. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number of cysts at study enrollment and younger age. Total peritumoral cyst burden was associated with germline partial deletion of the VHL gene.

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Russell R. Lonser, John A. Butman, Kristin Huntoon, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Tianxia Wu, Kamran D. Bakhtian, Emily Y. Chew, Zhengping Zhuang, W. Marston Linehan and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

The tumors most frequently associated with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease are hemangioblastomas. While they are associated with significant neurological impairment and mortality, their natural history and optimal management have not been fully defined.

Methods

Patients with VHL were enrolled in a prospective study designed to define the natural history of CNS hemangioblastomas. In the present analysis, serial imaging, laboratory, genetic, and clinical data were evaluated in those with at least 2 years of follow-up data.

Results

At study entrance 225 patients (111 males, 114 females) harbored 1921 CNS hemangioblastomas in the supratentorial compartment (21 tumors [1%]), cerebellum (865 [45%]), brainstem (129 [7%]), spinal cord (689 [36%]), cauda equina (212 [11%]), and nerve roots (5 [0.3%]; follow-up 15,819 hemangioblastoma-years). Increased tumor burden was associated with partial deletions in the VHL gene (p = 0.005) and male sex (p = 0.002). Hemangioblastoma development (median 0.3 new tumors/year) was associated with younger age (p < 0.0001) and more tumors at study entrance (p < 0.0001). While 1278 hemangioblastomas (51%) did not grow, 1227 hemangioblastomas (49%) grew in a saltatory (886 [72%]), linear (76 [6%]), or exponential (264 [22%]) pattern. Faster tumor growth was associated with male sex (p = 0.001), symptomatic tumors (p < 0.0001), and tumors associated with cysts (p < 0.0001). Location-dependent tumor size was the primary predictor of eventual symptom formation (159 symptomatic tumors [6.3%]; area under the curve > 0.9).

Conclusions

Central nervous system hemangioblastoma burden in VHL is associated with partial germline deletions and male sex. Unpredictable growth of hemangioblastomas compromises assessment of nonsurgical therapies. The judicious treatment of symptom-producing hemangioblastomas, while avoiding unnecessary treatment of asymptomatic tumors that may not progress, can provide clinical stability. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00005902 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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John D. Heiss, Kendall Snyder, Matthew M. Peterson, Nicholas J. Patronas, John A. Butman, René K. Smith, Hetty L. DeVroom, Charles A. Sansur, Eric Eskioglu, William A. Kammerer and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

The pathogenesis of syringomyelia in patients with an associated spinal lesion is incompletely understood. The authors hypothesized that in primary spinal syringomyelia, a subarachnoid block effectively shortens the length of the spinal subarachnoid space (SAS), reducing compliance and the ability of the spinal theca to dampen the subarachnoid CSF pressure waves produced by brain expansion during cardiac systole. This creates exaggerated spinal subarachnoid pressure waves during every heartbeat that act on the spinal cord above the block to drive CSF into the spinal cord and create a syrinx. After a syrinx is formed, enlarged subarachnoid pressure waves compress the external surface of the spinal cord, propel the syrinx fluid, and promote syrinx progression.

Methods

To elucidate the pathophysiology, the authors prospectively studied 36 adult patients with spinal lesions obstructing the spinal SAS. Testing before surgery included clinical examination; evaluation of anatomy on T1-weighted MRI; measurement of lumbar and cervical subarachnoid mean and pulse pressures at rest, during Valsalva maneuver, during jugular compression, and after removal of CSF (CSF compliance measurement); and evaluation with CT myelography. During surgery, pressure measurements from the SAS above the level of the lesion and the lumbar intrathecal space below the lesion were obtained, and cardiac-gated ultrasonography was performed. One week after surgery, CT myelography was repeated. Three months after surgery, clinical examination, T1-weighted MRI, and CSF pressure recordings (cervical and lumbar) were repeated. Clinical examination and MRI studies were repeated annually thereafter. Findings in patients were compared with those obtained in a group of 18 healthy individuals who had already undergone T1-weighted MRI, cine MRI, and cervical and lumbar subarachnoid pressure testing.

Results

In syringomyelia patients compared with healthy volunteers, cervical subarachnoid pulse pressure was increased (2.7 ± 1.2 vs 1.6 ± 0.6 mm Hg, respectively; p = 0.004), pressure transmission to the thecal sac below the block was reduced, and spinal CSF compliance was decreased. Intraoperative ultrasonography confirmed that pulse pressure waves compressed the outer surface of the spinal cord superior to regions of obstruction of the subarachnoid space.

Conclusions

These findings are consistent with the theory that a spinal subarachnoid block increases spinal subarachnoid pulse pressure above the block, producing a pressure differential across the obstructed segment of the SAS, which results in syrinx formation and progression. These findings are similar to the results of the authors' previous studies that examined the pathophysiology of syringomyelia associated with obstruction of the SAS at the foramen magnum in the Chiari Type I malformation and indicate that a common mechanism, rather than different, separate mechanisms, underlies syrinx formation in these two entities. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00011245.

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Ashok R. Asthagiri, Gautam U. Mehta, John A. Butman, Martin Baggenstos, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Despite the frequent multiplicity and development of new spinal cord hemangioblastomas that require multiple resections in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, the long-term effects of spinal surgery on spinal column stability in this neoplasia disorder are not known. To determine the effect of multilevel cervical laminectomy for spinal cord tumor resection in VHL, the authors analyzed long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes.

Methods

The authors included consecutive patients enrolled in a prospective VHL disease natural history study who underwent cervical laminectomy(s) for spinal cord hemangioblastoma resection. Serial clinical examinations, neck disability indices, and radiographs (static and dynamic), as well as operative records, were analyzed.

Results

Twenty-five adult patients (16 female, 9 male) with VHL disease underwent 34 operations (mean 1.4 ± 0.7 [± SD]/patient) for the resection of cervical spinal cord hemangioblastomas (mean number of lamina removed/surgery 3.0 ± 1.3). The mean age at surgery was 33.9 ± 11.9 years (range 18–61 years), and the mean follow-up duration was 9.1 ± 5.6 years. At last follow-up, radiographic criteria indicated that 9 patients (36%) had spinal column instability, 13 patients (52%) developed a cervical spinal deformity, 4 patients (16%) developed moderate to severe neck disability, and 3 patients (12%) met the criteria for clinical instability. Removal of the C-2 lamina was associated with the development of clinical instability (p = 0.02, Fisher exact test); older age at surgery was associated with the development of cervical deformity (p = 0.05, logistic regression); and a greater number of operations (suboccipital–T4) were associated with increased neck disability indices (p = 0.01, linear regression).

Conclusions

Whereas patients with VHL disease will often require multiple laminectomies for cervical spinal cord hemangioblastoma resection, a limited number of patients (12%) will develop clinical instability. Because prophylactic cervical instrumentation confers limited benefit at the time of spinal cord tumor resection for most patients, and because these patients need life-long MR imaging of the spinal cord, the quality of which may be affected by instrumentation, longitudinal clinical and radiological evaluation may be used to determine which patients will require stabilization.

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John D. Heiss, Giancarlo Suffredini, René Smith, Hetty L. DeVroom, Nicholas J. Patronas, John A. Butman, Francine Thomas and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Craniocervical decompression for Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) and syringomyelia has been reported to fail in 10%–40% of patients. The present prospective clinical study was designed to test the hypothesis that in cases in which syringomyelia persists after surgery, craniocervical decompression relieves neither the physiological block at the foramen magnum nor the mechanism of syringomyelia progression.

Methods

The authors prospectively evaluated and treated 16 patients with CM-I who had persistent syringomyelia despite previous craniocervical decompression. Testing before surgery included the following: 1) clinical examination; 2) evaluation of the anatomy using T1-weighted MR imaging; 3) assessment of the syrinx and CSF velocity and flow using cine phase-contrast MR imaging; and 4) appraisal of the lumbar and cervical subarachnoid pressures at rest, during a Valsalva maneuver, during jugular compression, and following the removal of CSF (CSF compliance measurement). During surgery, ultrasonography was performed to observe the motion of the cerebellar tonsils and syrinx walls; pressure measurements were obtained from the intracranial and lumbar intrathecal spaces. The surgical procedure involved enlarging the previous craniectomy and performing an expansile duraplasty with autologous pericranium. Three to 6 months after surgery, clinical examination, MR imaging, and CSF pressure recordings were repeated. Clinical examination and MR imaging studies were then repeated annually.

Results

Before reexploration, patients had a decreased size of the CSF pathways and a partial blockage in CSF transmission at the foramen magnum. Cervical subarachnoid pressure and pulse pressure were abnormally elevated. During surgery, ultrasonographic imaging demonstrated active pulsation of the cerebellar tonsils, with the tonsils descending during cardiac systole and concomitant narrowing of the upper pole of the syrinx. Three months after reoperation, patency of the CSF pathways was restored and pressure transmission was improved. The flow of syrinx fluid and the diameter of the syrinx decreased after surgery in 15 of 16 patients.

Conclusions

Persistent blockage of the CSF pathways at the foramen magnum resulted in increased pulsation of the cerebellar tonsils, which acted on a partially enclosed cervical subarachnoid space to create elevated cervical CSF pressure waves, which in turn affected the external surface of the spinal cord to force CSF into the spinal cord through the Virchow-Robin spaces and to propel the syrinx fluid caudally, leading to syrinx progression. A surgical procedure that reestablished the CSF pathways at the foramen magnum reversed this pathophysiological mechanism and resolved syringomyelia. Elucidating the pathophysiology of persistent syringomyelia has implications for its primary and secondary treatment.

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Ryszard M. Pluta, John A. Butman, Bawarjan Schatlo, Dennis L. Johnson and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Investigators in experimental and clinical studies have used the intrathecal route to deliver drugs to prevent or treat vasospasm. However, a clot near an artery or arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may hamper distribution and limit the effects of intrathecally delivered compounds. In a primate model of right middle cerebral artery (MCA) SAH, the authors examined the distribution of Isovue-M 300 and 3% Evans blue after infusion into the cisterna magna CSF.

Methods

Ten cynomolgus monkeys were assigned to SAH and sham SAH surgery groups (5 in each group). Monkeys received CSF injections as long as 28 days after SAH and were killed 3 hours after the contrast/Evans blue injection. The authors assessed the distribution of contrast material on serial CT within 2 hours after contrast injection and during autopsy within 3 hours after Evans blue staining.

Results

Computed tomography cisternographies showed no contrast in the vicinity of the right MCA (p < 0.05 compared with left); the distribution of contrast surrounding the entire right cerebral hemisphere was substantially reduced. Postmortem analysis demonstrated much less Evans blue staining of the right hemisphere surface compared with the left. Furthermore, the Evans blue dye did not penetrate into the right sylvian fissure, which occurred surrounding the left MCA. The authors observed the same pattern of changes and differences in contrast distribution between SAH and sham SAH animals and between the right and the left hemispheres on Days 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 after SAH.

Conclusions

Intrathecal drug distribution is substantially limited by SAH. Thus, when using intrathecal drug delivery after SAH, vasoactive drugs are unlikely to reach the arteries that are at the highest risk of delayed cerebral vasospasm.

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Russell R. Lonser, John A. Butman, Ruwan Kiringoda, Debbie Song and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Pituitary stalk hemangioblastomas are rare, and information on them is limited to a small number of case reports. To gain insight into the incidence, clinical effects, and management of pituitary stalk hemangioblastomas, the authors analyzed a series of patients with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease.

Methods

Patients with VHL disease who were enrolled in a prospective National Institutes of Health natural history study were included. Clinical, imaging, and laboratory findings were analyzed.

Results

Two hundred fifty patients were included in the study (120 male and 130 female patients). In 8 patients (3%), 8 pituitary stalk hemangioblastomas were identified on MR imaging. This anatomical location was the most common supratentorial site for these lesions; 29% of all supratentorial hemangioblastomas were found there. The mean (± standard deviation) pituitary stalk hemangioblastoma volume was 0.5 ± 0.9 cm3 (range 0.08–2.8 cm3). Results of endocrine laboratory profiles were normal in all patients. All patients remained asymptomatic and none required treatment during the follow-up period (mean duration 41.4 ± 14.4 months).

Conclusions

The pituitary stalk is the most common site for the development of supratentorial hemangioblastomas in patients with VHL disease. Pituitary stalk hemangioblastomas often remain asymptomatic and do not require treatment. These findings indicate that pituitary stalk hemangioblastomas in patients with VHL disease may be managed with observation and that surgery for them can be reserved until associated signs or symptoms occur.

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Jay Jagannathan, Stuart Walbridge, John A. Butman, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to investigate new treatments for central nervous system disorders. Although the properties of CED are well established in normal gray and white matter central nervous system structures, the effects on drug distribution imposed by ependymal and pial surfaces are not precisely defined. To determine the effect of these anatomical boundaries on CED, the authors infused low MW and high MW tracers for MR imaging near ependymal (periventricular) and pial (pericisternal) surfaces.

Methods

Five primates underwent CED of Gd-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA; MW 590 D) or Gd-bound albumin (Gd-albumin; MW 72,000 D) during serial real-time MR imaging (FLAIR and T1-weighted sequences). Periventricular (caudate) infusions were performed unilaterally in 1 animal (volume of infusion [Vi] 57 μl) and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 40 μl on each side), and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-albumin (Vi = 80 μl on each side). Pericisternal infusions were performed in 2 animals with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 190 μl) or with Gd-albumin (Vi = 185 μl) (1 animal each). Clinical effects, MR imaging, and histology were analyzed.

Results

Large regions of the brain and brainstem were perfused with both tracers. Intraparenchymal distribution was successfully tracked in real time by using T1-weighted MR imaging. During infusion, the volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (R2 = 0.98) with periventricular (mean Vd/Vi ratio ± standard deviation; 4.5 ± 0.5) and pericisternal (5.2 ± 0.3) Vi, but did so only until the leading edge of distribution reached the ependymal or pial surfaces, respectively. After the infusate reached either surface, the Vd/Vi decreased significantly (ependyma 2.9 ± 0.8, pia mater 3.6 ± 1.0; p < 0.05) and infusate entry into the ventricular or cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was identified on FLAIR but not on T1-weighted MR images.

Conclusions

Ependymal and pial boundaries are permeable to small and large molecules delivered interstitially by convection. Once infusate reaches these surfaces, a portion enters the adjacent ventricular or cisternal CSF and the tissue Vd/Vi ratio decreases. Although T1-weighted MR imaging is best for tracking intraparenchymal infusate distribution, FLAIR MR imaging is the most sensitive and accurate for detecting entry of Gd-labeled imaging compounds into CSF during CED.

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Martin Baggenstos, Emily Chew, John A. Butman, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Hemangioblastomas are frequently associated with peritumoral edema caused by extravasation of plasma ultrafiltrate through permeable neoplastic vessels. The authors report the clinical and imaging findings in a 62-year-old man with von Hippel–Lindau disease who presented with rapid (within 24 hours) loss of color vision and nearcomplete loss of left eye vision (acuity too poor to test). Serial MR imaging demonstrated a stable vascular tumor in the medioinferior aspect of the left optic nerve, associated with progressive edema extending from the nerve through to the bilateral optic radiations. Complete resection of the lesion was performed via an extended transsphenoidal approach, and histological examination confirmed the lesion was a hemangioblastoma. Postoperatively, the patient recovered color vision and had improvement in visual acuity (20/320). Serial imaging in this unique case captured the progressive extravasation of peritumoral edema that tracked and defined the parallel white matter tracts of first- and second-order neurons of the optic system, causing vision loss. Tumor resection led to resolution of the edema and improvement in visual function.