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Satoshi Tateshima, John Grinstead, Shantanu Sinha, Yih-Lin Nien, Yuichi Murayama, J. Pablo Villablanca, Kazuo Tanishita, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of complex intraaneurysmal flow visualization with the currently available phase-contrast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging modality.

Methods. A geometrically realistic in vitro aneurysm model, in which detailed flow velocity analysis had already been conducted using laser Doppler velocimetry was used for this in vitro hemodynamic simulation, so that the results of phase-contrast velocity measurements could be compared with the previous reliable results. On a 1.5-tesla unit, three orthogonal components of velocity were obtained using a standard two-dimensional fast low—angle shot flow quantification sequence. Three-dimensional (3D) intraaneurysmal flow structures recorded during one cardiac cycle were depicted in one midsagittal and three axial cross-sectional planes with the aid of gray scale phase-contrast velocity maps. Isovelocity contour maps and secondary flow vectors were also created based on the phase-contrast velocity maps by using MATLAB software. The isovelocity contours in those three axial sections could demonstrate the shapes of inward and outward flow areas and their alternation over one cardiac cycle. The secondary flow vectors demonstrated twin vortices within the outward flow area adjacent to the boundary layer of inward and outward flow in all axial planes.

Conclusions. The phase-contrast MR imaging method was able to depict the complex 3D intraaneurysmal flow structures in the in vitro aneurysm model. Detailed 3D intraaneurysmal flow information will be obtainable in vivo after improvements are made in spatial resolution, which is expected in the near future. The capability to visualize intraaneurysmal flow structures directly with the use of noninvasive MR imaging technology will have a positive impact on future clinical practice.

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Fernando Viñuela, Luis Nombela, Margot R. Roach, Allan J. Fox, and David M. Pelz

✓ Angiograms obtained prior to treatment in 53 cases of deep-seated cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) were retrospectively analyzed with particular attention to the topography of the AVM nidus and the venous drainage. The location of the lesion was determined by a combination of angiography and computerized tomography. Twenty-seven AVM's involved the basal ganglia and thalamus, 12 were located in the corpus callosum, six were intraventricular, and eight involved the mesencephalon and brain stem. Forty-one patients (77.3%) presented with intracranial hemorrhage. Vessel wall irregularities and/or stenosis of the system of the vein of Galen were observed in 14 cases, and occlusion of the deep venous system was present in seven cases. These AVM's showed numerous collateral venous pathways through enlarged medullary and cortical regional veins. There was dominant participation of the basal vein of Rosenthal in all cases. Unique local hemodynamic factors produced by the convergence of the draining veins of the AVM's into the vein of Galen and straight sinus may lead to a higher incidence of stenosis and/or occlusion of the venous drainage. The relatively high incidence of intracranial hemorrhage in these deep-seated AVM's may suggest a relationship between an increased incidence of intracranial bleeding and impaired venous outlets.

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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.

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Ichiro Yuki, Robert H. Kim, Gary Duckwiler, Reza Jahan, Satoshi Tateshima, Nestor Gonzalez, Alessandra Gorgulho, Jorge Lee Diaz, Antonio A. De Salles, and Fernando Viñuela


High-flow fistulas associated with brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) pose a significant challenge to both stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and surgical treatment. The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes of multimodality treatment of AVMs in association with a large arteriovenous fistula (AVF), with a special focus on endovascular embolization and its associated complications.


One hundred ninety-two patients harboring cerebral AVMs underwent endovascular treatment in the authors' department between 1997 and 2003. Of these, the authors selected 74 patients presenting with an AVM associated with high-flow AVF(s) for a retrospective analysis based on the findings of superselective angiography. After endovascular embolization, 32 patients underwent resection, 33 underwent either SRS or hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (HSRT), and 3 underwent both surgery and SRS. Six patients underwent embolization only. Immediate and midterm treatment outcomes were analyzed.


Fifty-seven (77%) of the 74 patients had AVMs that were Spetzler-Martin Grade III or higher. A complete resection was achieved in all 32 patients. Of patients who underwent SRS/HSRT, 13 patients (39.3%) had either complete or > 90% obliteration of the AVM, and 2 patients (6.1%) had incomplete obliteration. Fourteen patients (42.4%) with residual AVM underwent repeated radiotherapy (and remain under observation). Of the 3 patients who underwent both SRS and resection, resection was complete in 2 and incomplete in one. No follow-up was obtained in 6 patients (8.1%). An endovascular complication was observed in 4 patients (5.4%). Fistula embolization was safely performed in every patient, whereas every endovascular complication was associated with other procedures such as nidus embolization.


Endovascular occlusion of the fistulous component was successfully achieved in every patient; every endovascular complication in this series was related to other procedures such as nidus embolization. The importance of the fistula treatment should be emphasized to minimize the endovascular complications and to maximize the treatment effect when a multimodality therapy is used to treat brain AVMs with large AVF.

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Ichiro Yuki, Daniel Lee, Yuichi Murayama, Alexander Chiang, Harry V. Vinters, Ichiro Nishimura, Chiachien J. Wang, Akira Ishii, Benjamin M. Wu, and Fernando Viñuela


Bioabsorbable polymeric material coils are being used in the endovascular treatment of aneurysms to achieve better thrombus organization than is possible using bare platinum coils. We used immunohistochemical and molecular biological analysis techniques in experimental aneurysms implanted with three different bioabsorbable polymer coils and platinum coils.


The degradation kinetics of nine polymer candidates for further analysis were first analyzed in vitro, and three materials with different degradation rates were selected. Seventy-four aneurysms were created in 37 swine using the venous pouch technique. The aneurysms were surgically implanted with one of the materials as follows (time points = 3, 7, and 14 days): Group 1, Guglielmi detachable coils (platinum); Group 2, Polysorb (90:10 polyglycolic acid [PGA]/polylactic acid); Group 3, Maxon (PGA/trimethylene carbonate); and Group 4, poly-l-lactic acid. Histological, immunohistochemical, and cDNA microarray analyses were performed on tissue specimens.


Groups 1 and 4 showed minimal inflammatory response adjacent to the coil mass. In Group 2, Polysorb elicited a unique, firm granulation tissue that accelerated intraaneurysmal thrombus organization. In Group 3 intermediate inflammatory reactions were seen. Microarray analysis with Expression Analysis Sytematic Explorer software showed functional-cluster-gene activation to be increased at Day 7, preceding the histologic manifestation of polymer-induced granulation tissue at Day 14. A profile of expression changes in cytokine-related and extracellular membrane–related genes was compiled.


Degradation speed was not the only factor determining the strength of the biological response. Polysorb induced an early, unique granulation tissue that conferred greater mechanical strength to the intraaneurysmal coil–thrombus complex. Enhancing the formation of this polymer-induced granulation tissue may provide a new direction for improving long-term anatomical outcomes in cases involving aneurysms embolized with detachable coils.

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J. Pablo Villablanca, Neil Martin, Reza Jahan, Y. Pierre Gobin, John Frazee, Gary Duckwiler, John Bentson, Marcella Hardart, Domingos Coiteiro, James Sayre, and Fernando Vinuela

Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate the utility of volume-rendered helical computerized tomography (CT) angiography in patients with intracranial aneurysms. The authors compared the abilities of CT angiography, digital subtraction (DS) angiography, and three-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance (MR) angiography to characterize aneurysms.

Methods. Helical CT angiography was performed in 45 patients with suspected intracranial aneurysms by using volume-rendered multiplanar reformatted (MPR) images. Digital subtraction angiography was performed using biplane angiography. These studies and those performed using MR angiography were interpreted in a blinded manner. Two neurosurgeons and two interventional neuroradiologists independently graded the utility of CT angiography with respect to aneurysm characterization.

Fifty-five aneurysms were detected. Of these, 48 were evaluated for treatment. Computerized tomography angiography was judged to be superior to both DS and MR angiography in the evaluation of the arterial branching pattern at the aneurysm neck (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.001, and with MR angiography, p = 0.007), aneurysm neck geometry (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.001, and with MR angiography, p = 0.001), arterial branch incorporation (compared with DS angiography, p = 0.021, and with MR angiography, p = 0.001), mural thrombus (compared with DS angiography, p < 0.001), and mural calcification (compared with DS angiography, p < 0.001, and with MR angiography, p < 0.001). For surgical cases, CT angiography had a significant impact on treatment path (p = 0.001), operative approach (p = 0.001), and preoperative clip selection (p < 0.001). For endovascular cases, CT angiography had an impact on treatment path (p < 0.02), DS angiography study time (p = 0.01), contrast agent usage (p = 0.01), and coil selection (p = 0.02). Computerized tomography angiography provided unique information about 39 (81%) of 48 aneurysms, especially when compared with DS angiography (p = 0.003). The sensitivity and specificity of CT angiography compared with DS angiography was 1. The sensitivity and specificity of CT and DS angiography studies compared with operative findings were 0.98 and 1, respectively.

Conclusions. Computerized tomography angiography is equal to DS angiography in the detection and superior to DS angiography and MR angiography in the characterization of brain aneurysms. Information contained in volume-rendered CT angiography images had a significant impact on case management.

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Guido Guglielmi, Fernando Viñuela, Gary Duckwiler, Jacques Dion, Pedro Lylyk, Alex Berenstein, Charles Strother, Virgil Graves, Van Halbach, Douglas Nichols, Nick Hopkins, Robert Ferguson, and Ivan Sepetka

✓ In a multicenter study, 120 patients with intracranial aneurysms presenting a high surgical risk were treated using electrolytically detachable coils and electrothrombosis via an endovascular approach. The results of treatment in patients with posterior fossa aneurysms (42 patients with 43 aneurysms) are presented. The most frequent clinical presentation was subarachnoid hemorrhage (24 cases). The clinical follow-up periods ranged from 1 week to 18 months. Complete aneurysm occlusion was obtained in 13 of 16 aneurysms with a small neck and in four of 26 wide-necked aneurysms. A 70% to 98% thrombosis of the aneurysm was achieved in 22 of 26 aneurysms with a wide neck and in three of 16 small-necked aneurysms. One aneurysm could not be treated due to a technical complication. Two cases required postprocedural surgical clipping of a residual aneurysm.

One patient (originally in Hunt and Hess Grade V) experienced procedural rupture of the aneurysm requiring an emergency parent artery occlusion. He eventually died 5 days later. Another patient (originally in Grade IV) had coil migration and posterior cerebral artery territory ischemia. A third patient developed a permanent neurological deficit (hemianopsia) after complete occlusion of a wide-necked basilar bifurcation aneurysm. One patient, harboring an inoperable giant basilar bifurcation aneurysm, died from aneurysm bleeding 18 months after partial occlusion.

Overall morbidity and mortality rates related to treatment were 4.8% (two cases) and 2.4% (one case), respectively (2.6% and 0% if considering only patients in Hunt and Hess Grades I, II, and III).

It is suggested that this technique is a viable alternative in the management of patients with posterior fossa aneurysms associated with high surgical risk. Longer angiographic and clinical follow-up study is necessary to determine the long-term efficacy of this recently developed endovascular occlusion technique. Close postoperative angiographic and clinical monitoring of patients with wide-necked subtotally occluded aneurysms is mandatory to check for potential aneurysmal recanalization, regrowth, and rupture.

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J. Pablo Villablanca, Parizad Hooshi, Neil Martin, Reza Jahan, Gary Duckwiler, Sylvester Lim, John Frazee, Y. Pierre Gobin, James Sayre, John Bentson, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms can be difficult to detect and characterize. The authors describe the utility and impact of helical computerized tomography (CT) angiography for the evaluation of aneurysms in this location, and compare this modality with digital subtraction (DS) angiography and intraoperative findings.

Methods. Two hundred fifty-one patients with suspected cerebral aneurysms underwent CT angiography. Two-dimensional multiplanar reformatted images and three-dimensional CT angiograms were examined by two independent readers in a blinded fashion. Results were compared with findings on DS angiograms to determine the relative efficacy of these modalities in the detection and characterization of aneurysms. Questionnaires completed by neurosurgeons and endovascular therapists were used to determine the impact of CT angiograms on aneurysm management.

Twenty-eight patients harboring 31 MCA aneurysms and 26 patients without aneurysms were identified using CT angiography. The sensitivity of CT angiography and DS angiography for MCA aneurysms was 97%; both techniques showed 100% specificity. In 76% of evaluations, the CT angiography studies provided information not available on DS angiography examinations. For the characterization of aneurysms, CT angiography was rated superior (72%) or equal (20%) to DS angiography in 92% of cases evaluated (p < 0.001). Computerized tomography angiography was evaluated as the only study needed for patient triage in 82% of cases (p < 0.001), and as the only study needed for treatment planning in 89% of surgically treated (p < 0.001) and in 63% of endovascularly treated cases (p < 0.001). The information acquired on CT angiograms changed the initial treatment plan in 24 (67%) of these 36 complex lesions (p < 0.01). The aneurysm appearance intraoperatively was identical or nearly identical to that seen on CT angiograms in 17 (89%) of 19 of the surgically treated cases.

Conclusions. Computerized tomography angiography has unique advantages over DS angiography and is a viable alternative to the latter modality in the diagnosis, triage, and treatment planning in patients with MCA aneurysms.

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J. Pablo Villablanca, Adina Achiriolaie, Parizad Hooshi, Neil Martin, Gary Duckwiler, Reza Jahan, John Frazee, Pierre Gobin, James Sayre, and Fernando Viñuela

Object. The aim of this study was to determine whether computerized tomography (CT) angiography could be used to identify and characterize aneurysms of the posterior circulation and guide optimal treatment selection, and how data obtained using this method compared with intraoperative findings.

Methods. Patients suspected of harboring brain aneurysms underwent CT angiography and digital subtraction (DS) angiography; the results were prospectively interpreted by blinded independent evaluators. All patients with posterior circulation aneurysms were consecutively enrolled in the study. After treatment, neurosurgeons and endovascular therapists evaluated the ability of CT and DS angiography to demonstrate features of the lesions important for triage between treatment options (Wilcoxon signed-rank test) and to allow for coil or clip preselection and complete treatment planning (McNemar test of proportions), while using intraoperative findings as the basis of truth.

In 242 patients overall, CT angiography detected 38 aneurysms and two aneurysmal blisters in 32 patients. The sensitivity of CT angiography in revealing posterior circulation aneurysms was 100% compared with DS angiography, with no false-positive results. Furthermore, CT angiography was sufficient as the sole study at triage for 65% of the posterior circulation aneurysms (26 of 40 lesions; p < 0.001), including 62% of the complex lesions (p < 0.001), and permitted coil or clip preselection in 74% of treated cases (20 of 27 cases; p < 0.002). Results of CT angiography revealed information about mural calcification and intraluminal thrombus not available on DS angiography, which affected patient care.

Conclusions. In this study population, CT angiography was comparable to DS angiography in the detection and characterization of aneurysms of the posterior circulation. Computerized tomography angiography was used successfully to triage patients between endovascular and neurosurgical treatment options in a significant proportion of cases and permitted treatment planning in more than 70% of treated cases.