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Unruptured intracranial aneurysms: natural history and management decisions

Leodante B. da Costa, Thorsteinn Gunnarsson, and M. Christopher Wallace

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) carries a grim prognosis, with high mortality and morbidity rates. The mortality rate in the first 30 days postrupture is estimated to be in the range of 40 to 50%, and almost half of the survivors will be left with a neurological deficit. Unlike patients with aneurysmal SAH, those with unruptured intracranial aneurysms usually experience no neurological deficit, and their treatment is prophylactic, aiming to reduce the risk of future bleeding and its consequences. The risk of rupture therefore assumes special importance when making decisions regarding which patient or aneurysm to treat.

In previous reports the risk of bleeding for unruptured aneurysms has been stated as approximately 2% per year. The retrospective part of the International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms (ISUIA) reported very low annual bleeding rates (0.05–1%) and high surgical morbidity and mortality rates (8–18%), prompting discussion in which the benefits of prophylactic treatment in the majority of these lesions were questioned. Prospective data from the second part of the ISUIA recently included rupture rates ranging from 0 to 10% per year. The aim of this paper was to review the evidence that is currently available for neurosurgeons to use when making decisions regarding patients who would benefit from treatment of an unruptured intracranial aneurysm.

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Overview of the current role of endovascular and surgical treatment in spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas

Amir R. Dehdashti, Leodante B. Da Costa, Karel G. terBrugge, Robert A. Willinsky, Michael Tymianski, and M. Christopher Wallace

Dural arteriovenous fistulas are the most common vascular malformations of the spinal cord. These benign vascular lesions are considered straightforward targets of surgical treatment and possibly endovascular embolization, but the outcome in these cases depends mainly on the extent of clinical dysfunction at the time of the diagnosis. A timely diagnosis is an equally important factor, with early treatment regardless of the type more likely to yield significant improvements in neurological functioning. The outcomes after surgical and endovascular treatment are similar if complete obliteration of the fistulous site is obtained. In the present study, the authors evaluated the current role of each modality in the management of these interesting lesions.