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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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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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Allan J. Fox, Fernando Viñuela, David M. Pelz, Sydney J. Peerless, Gary G. Ferguson, Charles G. Drake, and Gerard Debrun

✓ Of 68 patients with unclippable aneurysms treated by proximal artery occlusion with detachable balloons, permanent occlusion was achieved in 65; of these patients, 37 had carotid artery aneurysms below the origin of the ophthalmic artery, 21 had aneurysms arising from the supraclinoid portion of the carotid artery, six had basilar trunk aneurysms, and one had a distal vertebral aneurysm. Examination for treatment selection included assessment of the circle of Willis by compression angiography and xenon blood flow studies, with the ultimate evaluation being test occlusion under systemic heparinization with the balloon temporarily placed in the desired position. Of 67 patients who underwent a formal occlusion test, eight with carotid artery aneurysms did not initially tolerate the occlusion test, and ischemic signs disappeared instantaneously with deflation and removal of the balloon. During test occlusion, two additional patients had ischemic events that proved to be embolic; these reversed immediately upon balloon deflation.

Of the 65 patients in whom permanent occlusion was effected by detachable balloon, there were nine instances of delayed cerebral events. One of these was a seizure leading to respiratory arrest and resuscitation 3 days following occlusion in a patient who had presented with seizures. The other eight cases were delayed ischemic events; seven were completely reversed and one patient had residual weakness in one leg (1.5% permanent morbidity). Extracranial-intracranial bypass procedures were performed in 25 of the 65 cases. All aneurysms of the carotid artery below the level of the ophthalmic artery presented angiographic proof of complete thrombosis. Ten of 21 aneurysms arising from the supraclinoid portion of the carotid artery were completely thrombosed by proximal occlusion alone, without additional trapping procedures. Similarly, in three of six basilar trunk aneurysms, proximal occlusion alone initiated complete aneurysm thrombosis without trapping. The conclusion is that proximal balloon occlusion for unclippable cerebral aneurysms is a convenient, safe, and effective way of producing arterial occlusion in these cases.

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

Object

The authors describe the process of thrombus organization in the swine surgical aneurysm model.

Methods

Lateral carotid artery aneurysms with immediately induced thrombosis were created in 31 swine for a time-course study. Aneurysms were evaluated at 1, 3, 7, 14, 30, and 90 days after they were created. Histological analyses included quantitative immunohistochemical studies and evaluation of collagen deposition. Complementary DNA microarray analysis was performed for gene expression profiling. The lists of up- and downregulated genes were cross-matched with lists of genes known to be associated with cytokines or the extracellular matrix. The expression of selected genes was quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Functional clustering was performed with the Expression Analysis Systematic Explorer (EASE) bioinformatics package.

Results

Histological analysis demonstrated leukocyte and macrophage infiltration in the thrombus at Day 3, myofibroblast infiltration at Days 7 to 14, and progressive collagen deposition and contraction thereafter. Tissue organization occurred in a centripetal fashion. A previously undescribed reticular network of connective tissue was observed at the periphery of the aneurysm at Day 3. Macrophages appeared critical to this thrombus organization. A total of 1109 genes were significantly changed from reference time zero during the time course: CXCL14, which produces a monocyte-specific chemokine, was upregulated over 100-fold throughout the time course; IGF1 was upregulated fourfold at Day 7, whereas IGFBP2 was downregulated approximately 50% at Days 7 and 14. Osteopontin (SPP1) upregulation increased from 30-fold at Day 30 to 45-fold at Day 14. The EASE analysis yielded eight functional classes of gene expression.

Conclusions

This investigation provides a detailed histological and molecular analysis of thrombus organization in the swine aneurysm model. The companion study will describe the effect of embolic bioabsorbable polymers on this process.