Omar M. Qahwash, Ali Alaraj, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani
The goal of this study was to demonstrate feasibility and evaluate technical aspects of early endovascular access through extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass grafts.
Patients undergoing endovascular interventions through the graft in the acute postoperative period following EC-IC bypass are presented. Results, complications, and technical nuances are reviewed.
Fourteen endovascular procedures were performed in 5 patients after EC-IC bypass for ruptured aneurysms in 4 patients and posterior circulation ischemia in 1 patient. In 2 patients, a saphenous vein graft (SVG) was used to bypass the common carotid artery (CCA) to the middle cerebral artery (MCA). One patient underwent a superficial temporal artery (STA)–MCA bypass, and in 2 other patients the STA stump was connected to the intracranial circulation via an interposition SVG. The interval from surgery to endovascular intervention spanned 2–18 days; the indication was intracranial vasospasm in all patients. One case involved angioplasty of the proximal anastomosis on postoperative Day 14. All other interventions entailed proximal access through the bypass conduit for intraarterial infusion of vasodilators. Significant vasospasm of the STA itself was encountered in 2 patients during endovascular manipulation, and it was treated with intraarterial nitroglycerin. There were no cases of anastomotic disruption.
Endovascular catheterization and intervention involving a recent EC-IC bypass is feasible. The main limitation in this series was catheter-induced vasospasm involving the STA. A vein graft may be the more appropriate option in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage who may require subsequent endovascular intervention for vasospasm.
Ali Alaraj, Troy Munson, Sebastian R. Herrera, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani
Cerebrospinal fluid hypotension, or “brain sag,” is a recently described phenomenon most commonly seen following craniotomy for the clipping of ruptured aneurysms along with preoperative lumbar drain placement. The clinical features and CT findings have been previously described. Clinical presentation can be similar to and often mistaken for cerebral vasospasm. In this study, the authors report on the angiographic findings in patients with brain sag.
Five cases of brain sag were diagnosed (range 1–4 days) after the surgical treatment of ruptured aneurysms at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All patients met the clinical and CT criteria for brain sag. Admission cerebral angiograms and subsequent angiograms during symptoms of brain sag were obtained in all patients. In 3 patients, angiography was performed after the resolution of symptoms.
In all 5 patients, the level of the basilar artery apex was displaced inferiorly with respect to the posterior clinoid processes during brain sag. This displacement was significant enough to create a noticeable kink in the basilar artery (“cobra sign”) in 3 patients. Other angiographic findings included foreshortening or kinking of the intracranial vertebral artery. In all patients, the posterior cerebral arteries were displaced medially and inferiorly. Three patients were treated for simultaneous severe radiological vasospasm. In 4 patients, the brain sag was recognized, and the patients' conditions improved when they were placed flat or in the Trendelenburg position, at times combined with an epidural blood patch. Patients with follow-up angiography studies after the symptoms had resolved displayed a reversal of the angiographic features.
Brain sag appears to be associated with characteristic angiographic features. Recognizing these features may help to diagnose brain sag as the cause of neurological deterioration in this patient population.