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Peter D. Lees and John D. Pickard

✓ The intrasellar pressure has been studied in a consecutive series of 24 patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma. The mean intrasellar pressure for the group was 23 ± 2.5 mm Hg (± standard error of the mean), with a mean pulse pressure of 3.5 ± 1 mm Hg. The waveform partly resembled the arterial configuration. The results are correlated with the radiological and endocrinological features of the tumors. A hypothesis is proposed to explain the mechanism of hyperprolactinemia associated with the pituitary stalk compression syndrome.

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Zofia Czosnyka, John D. Pickard, and Marek Czosnyka

Object

Independent testing of hydrocephalus shunts provides information about the quality of CSF drainage after shunt implantation. Moreover, hydrodynamic parameters of a valve assessed in the laboratory create a comparative pattern for testing of shunt performance in vivo. This study sought to assess the hydrodynamic parameters of the Certas valve, a new model of a hydrocephalus shunt.

Methods

The Certas valve is an adjustable ball-on-spring hydrocephalus valve. It can be adjusted magnetically in vivo in 7 steps, equally distributed within the therapeutic limit for hydrocephalus, and the eighth step at high pressures intended to block CSF drainage. The magnetically adjustable rotor is designed to prevent accidental readjustment of the valve in a magnetic field, including clinical MRI.

Results

The pressure-flow performance curves, as well as the operating, opening, and closing pressures, were stable, fell within the specified limits, and changed according to the adjusted performance levels. The valve at settings 1–7 demonstrated low hydrodynamic resistance of 1.4 mm Hg/ml/min, increasing to 5.1 mm Hg/ml/min after connection of a distal drain provided by the manufacturer. At performance Level 8 the hydrodynamic resistance was greater than 20 mm Hg/ml/min. External programming of the valve proved to be easy and reliable. The valve is safe in 3-T MRI and the performance level of the valve is unlikely to be changed. However, with the valve implanted, distortion of the image is substantial. Integration of the valve with the SiphonGuard limits the drainage rate.

Conclusions

In the laboratory the Certas valve appears to be a reliable differential-pressure adjustable valve. Laboratory evaluation should be supplemented by results of a clinical audit in the future.

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Hugh K. Richards, Helen M. Seeley, and John D. Pickard

Object

In recent years CSF shunt catheters impregnated with rifampicin and clindamycin have been introduced to the United Kingdom (UK) market. These catheters have been shown to be effective in vitro against cultures of Staphylococcus epidermidis. The authors used data collected by the UK Shunt Registry to assess the efficacy of antibiotic-impregnated catheters (AICs) against shunt infection by using a matched-pair study design.

Methods

The UK Shunt Registry contains data on nearly 33,000 CSF shunt-related procedures. The authors identified 1139 procedures in which impregnated catheters had been used, and accurate information was known about diagnosis, number of revisions, sex, and age in these cases. The database was ordered chronologically and searched forward and backward for cases with these same characteristics but involving conventional catheters. Matches were found for 994 procedures.

Results

Among the 994 procedures in which AICs had been used, 30 shunts were subsequently revised because of shunt infection. Among the 994 controls, 47 were subsequently revised for infection (p = 0.048, chi-square test).

Conclusions

The UK Shunt Registry does not collect data on causative organisms, and the surgeon is relied on entirely for the diagnosis of infection. However, with the large number of matched pairs evaluated, the authors attempted to reduce bias to a minimum. Their data suggest that AICs have the potential to significantly reduce shunt infections.

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John D. Pickard, Margaret Matheson, James Patterson, and David Wyper

✓ The response of cerebral blood flow (CBF) to drug-induced hypotension was measured in 20 patients who underwent craniotomy for clipping of a cerebral aneurysm following subarachnoid hemorrhage. A modified intravenous xenon-133 injection technique was used to monitor CBF. In 15 patients, CBF increased significantly with hypotension, and only one developed a late neurological deficit. In five patients, CBF fell with halothane-induced hypotension, and four developed delayed neurological deficits. Measurement of the intraoperative CBF response to halothane-induced hypotension may reveal those patients at greatest risk of developing late neurological deficits and who require more intensive postoperative monitoring and early use of the induced hypertension technique.

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Marek Czosnyka, Hugh K. Richards, Helen E. Whitehouse, and John D. Pickard

✓ Clinical studies with transcranial Doppler suggest that the pulsatility of the flow velocity (FV) waveform increases when the distal cerebrovascular resistance (CVR) increases. To clarify this relationship, the authors studied animal models in which the resistance may be decreased in a controlled manner by an increase in arterial CO2 tension, or by a decrease in cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) in autoregulating animals. Twelve New Zealand white rabbits were anesthetized, paralyzed, and ventilated. Transcranial Doppler basilar artery FV, laser Doppler cortical blood flow, arterial pressure, intracranial pressure, and end-tidal CO2 concentration were measured continuously. Cerebrovascular resistance (CPP divided by laser Doppler cortical flux) and Gosling Pulsatility Index (PI, defined as an FV pulse amplitude divided by a timed average FV) were calculated as time-dependent variables for each animal.

Four groups of animals undergoing controlled manipulations of CVR were analyzed. In Group I, arterial CO2 concentration was changed gradually from hypocapnia to hypercapnia. In Group II, gradual hemorrhagic hypotension was used to reduce CPP. In Group III, the short-acting ganglion blocking drug trimetaphan was injected intravenously to induce transient hypotension. Intracranial hypertension was produced by subarachnoid saline infusion in Group IV. During the hypercapnic challenge the correlation between the cortical resistance and Doppler flow pulsatility was positive (r = 0.77, p < 0.001). In all three groups in which cerebral perfusion pressure was reduced a negative correlation between pulsatility index and cerebrovascular resistance was found (r = −20.84, p < 0.001). The authors conclude that PI cannot be interpreted simply as an index of CVR in all circumstances.

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Richard J. Nelson, Sheila Perry, Tony K. Hames, and John D. Pickard

✓ The authors describe a method for Doppler ultrasound recording of flow velocity in the basilar artery of normal rabbits and rabbits with experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). With this transcranial Doppler (TCD) model, clinical assumptions regarding flow velocity/cerebral blood flow (CBF) relationships, autoregulatory responses, and Doppler spectral waveform analysis can be tested under controlled conditions and compared with established methods of CBF measurement (hydrogen clearance).

The time course of changes in flow velocity following SAH (cerebral vasospasm) is successfully demonstrated using the experimental TCD method. There are significant differences in the flow velocity and CBF responses to hypercapnia, hypocapnia, and trimethaphan-induced hypotension which indicate that TCD cannot be considered a simple alternative to CBF measurement for the study of cerebrovascular reactivity and cerebral autoregulation.

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Piotr Smielewski, Marek Czosnyka, Peter Kirkpatrick, and John D. Pickard

✓ The transient hyperemic response test has been shown to provide an index of cerebral autoregulation in healthy individuals and in patients who have suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. In this study, the test was applied to patients who had received a severe head injury, and the value of the test was assessed by comparing its result with the individual's clinical condition (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), transcranial Doppler wave form—derived index for cerebral autoregulation (relationship between the CPP and the middle cerebral artery flow velocity), and outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] score).

Forty-seven patients, aged 16 to 63 years, with head injuries were included in the study. Signals of intracranial pressure, arterial blood pressure, flow velocity, and cortical microcirculatory flux were digitized and recorded for a period of 30 minutes using special computer software. Two carotid compressions were performed at the beginning of each recording. The transient hyperemic response ratio (THRR: the ratio of the hyperemic flow velocity recorded after carotid release and the precompression baseline flow velocity) was calculated, as was the correlation coefficient Sx used to describe the relationship between slow fluctuations in the systolic flow velocity and CPP throughout the period of recording.

No significant changes in CPP were found during compression. There was a significant correlation between the THRR and the Sx (r = 0.49, p < 0.0001). The hyperemic response proved to be lower in patients who exhibited a poor clinical grade at presentation (GCS scores < 6, p = 0.01) and lower in patients achieving a poor outcome (GOS scores of 3, 4, and 5, p = 0.003). Loss of postcompression hyperemia occurred when the CPP fell below 50 mm Hg.

The carotid compression test provides a simple index of cerebral autoregulation that is relevant to the clinical condition and outcome of the severely head injured patient.

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Peter C. Whitfield, Eric P. Guazzo, and John D. Pickard

✓ The authors describe a simple technique that reduces the incidence of retained ventricular catheters and minimizes the risk of life-threatening intraventricular hemorrhage during the removal of an obstructed, adherent ventricular catheter in patients with hydrocephalus. The technique requires no special equipment and has been successfully used, without complications, in a prospective series of 12 patients with 13 blocked, adherent ventricular catheters.

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James D. Palmer, John L. Francis, John D. Pickard, and Fausto Iannotti

Object. The aim of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of prophylactic high-dose intravenous aprotinin in reducing intraoperative blood loss in the neurosurgical population.

Methods. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in parallel groups in two regional neurosurgical departments. One hundred patients with a preoperative diagnosis of intracranial meningioma or vestibular schwannoma subsequently confirmed on histological studies were included. All patients were older than 18 years of age, pregnancy had been excluded, there was no history of bleeding diathesis, no previous exposure to aprotinin, and no ingestion of antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications within the 2 weeks preceding surgery. Aprotinin was administered in doses of 30,000 kallikrein-inhibiting units (KIU)/kg body weight on induction of anesthesia and was continued as an infusion of 10,000 KIU/kg/hr until surgery was complete, or for a maximum of 8 hours. Intraoperative blood loss, blood transfusion, the Glasgow Outcome Scale score, and the Index of Independence were measured, and screening for deep vein thrombosis and the Mini-Mental State Examination were performed.

Conclusions. Intraoperative blood loss was reduced from 1014 ml (geometric mean) to 508 ml (p = 0.028). Although this study was not designed to evaluate the need for blood transfusion, 37 U of blood was used in 11 patients in the aprotinin group and 58 U in 13 patients in the placebo group (not significant). There were no significant differences in postoperative thrombotic risk or other outcome measures between treatment groups. Aprotinin therefore can be safely used to reduce intraoperative blood loss in patients who are not receiving anticoagulation therapy.