Journal of Neurosurgery
Wilson Z. Ray, Russel G. Strom, Spiros L. Blackburn, William W. Ashley Jr., Gregorio A. Sicard and Keith M. Rich
The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of venous ultrasonography in screening for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A large cohort of patients who had suffered SAH was evaluated with the primary end points of ascertaining the incidence of asymptomatic DVT with venous Doppler ultrasonography screening and of identifying risk factors for the development of DVT and subsequent pulmonary embolism.
Data from patients with aneurysmal SAH who had been admitted to the neurosurgical intensive care unit (ICU) between December 2002 and October 2006 were retrospectively evaluated. Patients who had undergone surgical or endovascular treatment of an aneurysm following SAH and survived ≥ 15 days were included in the study.
The overall incidence of DVT among the entire study cohort was 18%. A subgroup analysis identified all patients, with or without symptoms for DVT, who had undergone venous Doppler ultrasonography screening. The incidence of asymptomatic DVT was 24%. Univariate analysis of all patients revealed a significant correlation between the risk of DVT and Hunt and Hess grade (r = 0.38, p < 0.0001), Fisher grade (r = 0.31, p < 0.0001), total hospital stay (r = 0.49, p < 0.0001), and number of days in the ICU (r = 0.48, p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the total hospital stay and number of days in the ICU were significant predictors of DVT in all patients (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0002, respectively). In the subgroup of screened patients, Hunt and Hess grade, total hospital stay, and number of days in the ICU were significant predictors of DVT. Although screened patients were more likely to have DVT (χ2 = 6.0976, p < 0.02), there was no significant difference in the incidence of DVT or pulmonary embolism between patients who did and those who did not undergo routine lower-extremity Doppler ultrasonography screening.
Routine compressive venous Doppler ultrasonography is an efficient, noninvasive means of identifying DVT as a screening modality in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients following aneurysmal SAH. The ability to confirm or deny the presence of DVT in this patient population allows one to better identify the indications for chemoprophylaxis. Prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism in neurosurgical patients is common. Emerging literature and anecdotal experience have exposed risks of complications with prophylactic anticoagulation protocols. The identification of patients at high risk—for example, those with asymptomatic DVT—will allow physicians to better assess the role of prophylactic anticoagulation.
Spiros L. Blackburn, William W. Ashley Jr., Keith M. Rich, Joseph R. Simpson, Robert E. Drzymala, Wilson Z. Ray, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Michael R. Chicoine, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn and Gregory J. Zipfel
Large cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are often not amenable to direct resection or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment. An alternative treatment strategy is staged endovascular embolization followed by SRS (Embo/SRS). The object of this study was to examine the experience at Washington University in St. Louis with Embo/SRS for large AVMs and review the results in earlier case series.
Twenty-one cases involving patients with large AVMs treated with Embo/SRS between 1994 and 2006 were retrospectively evaluated. The AVM size (before and after embolization), procedural complications, radiological outcome, and neurological outcome were examined. Radiological success was defined as AVM obliteration as demonstrated by catheter angiography, CT angiography, or MR angiography. Radiological failure was defined as residual AVM as demonstrated by catheter angiography, CT angiography, or MR angiography performed at least 3 years after SRS.
The maximum diameter of all AVMs in this series was > 3 cm (mean 4.2 cm); 12 (57%) were Spetzler-Martin Grade IV or V. Clinical follow-up was available in 20 of 21 cases; radiological follow-up was available in 19 of 21 cases (mean duration of follow-up 3.6 years). Forty-three embolization procedures were performed; 8 embolization-related complications occurred, leading to transient neurological deficits in 5 patients (24%), minor permanent neurological deficits in 3 patients (14%), and major permanent neurological deficits in none (0%). Twenty-one SRS procedures were performed; 1 radiation-induced complication occurred (5%), leading to a permanent minor neurological deficit. Of the 20 patients with clinical follow-up, none experienced cerebral hemorrhage. In the 19 patients with radiological follow-up, AVM obliteration was confirmed by catheter angiography in 13, MR angiography in 2, and CT angiography in 1. Residual nidus was found in 3 patients. In patients with follow-up catheter angiography, the AVM obliteration rate was 81% (13 of 16 cases).
Staged endovascular embolization followed by SRS provides an effective means of treating large AVMs not amenable to standard surgical or SRS treatment. The outcomes and complication rates reported in this series compare favorably to the results of other reported therapeutic strategies for this very challenging patient population.