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William J. Ares, Brian T. Jankowitz, Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross and Ramesh Grandhi

OBJECTIVE

Penetrating cerebrovascular injury (PCVI) is a subset of traumatic brain injury (TBI) comprising a broad spectrum of cerebrovascular pathology, including traumatic pseudoaneurysms, direct arterial injury, venous sinus stenosis or occlusion, and traumatic dural arteriovenous fistulas. These can result in immediate or delayed vascular injury and consequent neurological morbidity. Current TBI guidelines recommend cerebrovascular imaging for detection, but there is no consensus on the optimum modality. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to compare CT angiography (CTA) and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) for the diagnosis of PCVI.

METHODS

The records of all patients presenting to two level I trauma centers in the United States between January 2010 and July 2016 with penetrating head or neck trauma were reviewed. Only those who had undergone both CTA and DSA were included. Clinical and neuroimaging data were collected, and PCVIs were stratified using a modified Biffl grading scheme. DSA and CTA results were then compared.

RESULTS

Of 312 patients with penetrating trauma over the study period, 56 patients (91% male, mean age 32 years) with PCVI met inclusion criteria and constituted the study cohort. The mechanism of injury was a gunshot wound in 86% (48/56) of patients. Twenty-four (43%) patients had sustained an angiographically confirmed arterial or venous injury. Compared with DSA as the gold standard, CTA had a sensitivity and specificity of 72% and 63%, respectively, for identifying PCVI. CTA had a positive predictive value of 61% and negative predictive value of 70%. Seven patients (13%) required immediate endovascular treatment of PCVI; in 3 (43%) of these patients, the injury was not identified on CTA. Twenty-two patients (39%) underwent delayed DSA an average of 25 days after injury; 2 (9%) of these patients were found to harbor new pathological conditions requiring treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective analysis of PCVI at two large trauma centers, CTA demonstrated low sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for the diagnosis of PCVI. These findings suggest that DSA provides better accuracy than CTA in the diagnosis of both immediate and delayed PCVI and should be considered for patients experiencing penetrating head or neck trauma.

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Xiaoran Zhang, William J. Ares, Philipp Taussky, Andrew F. Ducruet and Ramesh Grandhi

Intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are a result of complex interactions between biochemical and mechanical forces and can lead to significant morbidity if they rupture and cause subarachnoid hemorrhage. This review explores the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the pathogenesis and progression of IAs. In addition to providing a review of the normal function of MMPs, it is intended to explore the interaction between inflammation and abnormal blood flow and the resultant pathological vascular remodeling processes seen in the development and rupture of IAs. Also reviewed is the potential for the use of MMPs as a diagnostic tool for assessment of aneurysm development and progression.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, William J. Ares, David O. Okonkwo and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Large interhemispheric subdural hematomas (iSDHs) causing falx syndrome are rare; therefore, a paucity of data exists regarding the outcomes of contemporary management of iSDH. There is a general consensus among neurosurgeons that large iSDHs with neurological deficits represent a particular treatment challenge with generally poor outcomes. Thus, radiological and clinical outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical management for iSDH bear further study, which is the aim of this report.

METHODS

A prospectively collected, single-institution trauma database was searched for patients with isolated traumatic iSDH causing falx syndrome in the period from January 2008 to January 2018. Information on demographic and radiological characteristics, serial neurological examinations, clinical and radiological outcomes, and posttreatment complications was collected and tallied. The authors subsequently dichotomized patients by management strategy to evaluate clinical outcome and 30-day survival.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients (0.4% of those with intracranial injuries, 0.05% of those with trauma) with iSDH and falx syndrome represented the study cohort. The average age was 73.4 years, and most patients (23 [92%] of 25) were taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications. Six patients were managed nonoperatively, and 19 patients underwent craniotomy for iSDH evacuation; of the latter patients, 17 (89.5%) had improvement in or resolution of motor deficits postoperatively. There were no instances of venous infarction, reaccumulation, or infection after evacuation. In total, 9 (36%) of the 25 patients died within 30 days, including 6 (32%) of the 19 who had undergone craniotomy and 3 (50%) of the 6 who had been managed nonoperatively. Patients who died within 30 days were significantly more likely to experience in-hospital neurological deterioration prior to surgery (83% vs 15%, p = 0.0095) and to be comatose prior to surgery (100% vs 23%, p = 0.0031). The median modified Rankin Scale score of surgical patients who survived hospitalization (13 patients) was 1 at a mean follow-up of 22.1 months.

CONCLUSIONS

iSDHs associated with falx syndrome can be evacuated safely and effectively, and prompt surgical evacuation prior to neurological deterioration can improve outcomes. In this study, craniotomy for iSDH evacuation proved to be a low-risk strategy that was associated with generally good outcomes, though appropriately selected patients may fare well without evacuation.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, William J. Ares, David O. Okonkwo and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Large interhemispheric subdural hematomas (iSDHs) causing falx syndrome are rare; therefore, a paucity of data exists regarding the outcomes of contemporary management of iSDH. There is a general consensus among neurosurgeons that large iSDHs with neurological deficits represent a particular treatment challenge with generally poor outcomes. Thus, radiological and clinical outcomes of surgical and nonsurgical management for iSDH bear further study, which is the aim of this report.

METHODS

A prospectively collected, single-institution trauma database was searched for patients with isolated traumatic iSDH causing falx syndrome in the period from January 2008 to January 2018. Information on demographic and radiological characteristics, serial neurological examinations, clinical and radiological outcomes, and posttreatment complications was collected and tallied. The authors subsequently dichotomized patients by management strategy to evaluate clinical outcome and 30-day survival.

RESULTS

Twenty-five patients (0.4% of those with intracranial injuries, 0.05% of those with trauma) with iSDH and falx syndrome represented the study cohort. The average age was 73.4 years, and most patients (23 [92%] of 25) were taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet medications. Six patients were managed nonoperatively, and 19 patients underwent craniotomy for iSDH evacuation; of the latter patients, 17 (89.5%) had improvement in or resolution of motor deficits postoperatively. There were no instances of venous infarction, reaccumulation, or infection after evacuation. In total, 9 (36%) of the 25 patients died within 30 days, including 6 (32%) of the 19 who had undergone craniotomy and 3 (50%) of the 6 who had been managed nonoperatively. Patients who died within 30 days were significantly more likely to experience in-hospital neurological deterioration prior to surgery (83% vs 15%, p = 0.0095) and to be comatose prior to surgery (100% vs 23%, p = 0.0031). The median modified Rankin Scale score of surgical patients who survived hospitalization (13 patients) was 1 at a mean follow-up of 22.1 months.

CONCLUSIONS

iSDHs associated with falx syndrome can be evacuated safely and effectively, and prompt surgical evacuation prior to neurological deterioration can improve outcomes. In this study, craniotomy for iSDH evacuation proved to be a low-risk strategy that was associated with generally good outcomes, though appropriately selected patients may fare well without evacuation.

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Ramesh Grandhi, Gregory M. Weiner, Nitin Agarwal, David M. Panczykowski, William J. Ares, Jesse S. Rodriguez, Jonathan A. Gelfond, John G. Myers, Louis H. Alarcon, David O. Okonkwo and Brian T. Jankowitz

OBJECTIVE

Blunt cerebrovascular injuries (BCVIs) following trauma carry risk for morbidity and mortality. Since patients with BCVI are often asymptomatic at presentation and neurological sequelae often occur within 72 hours, timely diagnosis is essential. Multidetector CT angiography (CTA) has been shown to be a noninvasive, cost-effective, reliable means of screening; however, the false-positive rate of CTA in diagnosing patients with BCVI represents a key drawback. Therefore, the authors assessed the role of DSA in the screening of BCVI when utilizing CTA as the initial screening modality.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients who experienced BCVI between 2013 and 2015 at 2 Level I trauma centers. All patients underwent CTA screening for BCVI according to the updated Denver Screening Criteria. Patients who were diagnosed with BCVI on CTA underwent confirmatory digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Patient demographics, screening indication, BCVI grade on CTA and DSA, and laboratory values were collected. Comparison of false-positive rates stratified by BCVI grade on CTA was performed using the chi-square test.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients (64% males, mean age 50 years) with 156 cerebrovascular blunt injuries to the carotid and/or vertebral arteries were identified. After comparison with DSA findings, CTA findings were incorrect in 61.5% of vessels studied, and the overall CTA false-positive rates were 47.4% of vessels studied and 47.9% of patients screened. The positive predictive value (PPV) for CTA was higher among worse BCVI subtypes on initial imaging (PPV 76% and 97%, for BCVI Grades II and IV, respectively) compared with Grade I injuries (PPV 30%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In the current series, multidetector CTA as a screening test for blunt cerebrovascular injury had a high-false positive rate, especially in patients with Grade I BCVI. Given a false-positive rate of 47.9% with an estimated average of 132 patients per year screening positive for BCVI with CTA, approximately 63 patients per year would potentially be treated unnecessarily with antithrombotic therapy at a busy United States Level I trauma center. The authors’ data support the use of DSA after positive findings on CTA in patients with suspected BCVI. DSA as an adjunctive test in patients with positive CTA findings allows for increased diagnostic accuracy in correctly diagnosing BCVI while minimizing risk from unnecessary antithrombotic therapy in polytrauma patients.