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  • Author or Editor: Robert G. Ojemann x
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Bradford B. Walters, Robert G. Ojemann and Roberto C. Heros

✓ A retrospective review of carotid endarterectomies performed by the Neurosurgical Service at Massachusetts General Hospital from July, 1976, through December, 1985, disclosed 64 procedures that were performed on an emergency basis. The patients included 40 men and 24 women, with a mean age of 64 years (range 32 to 87 years). Correlation of angiographic findings with outcome revealed that of the 27 patients with severe stenosis, usually with delay in blood flow, 25 (93%) were the same or improved postoperatively; of the 11 patients with stenosis and an intraluminal filling defect (six of whom had an intraluminal clot), eight (73%) were the same or improved after surgery; of the 16 patients with complete occlusion, 14 (88%) were the same or improved (backflow was established in all cases); and of the 10 patients with moderate to severe stenosis and/or severe ulceration (including three with transient ischemic attacks who were receiving heparin), eight (80%) were the same or improved.

Pre- and postoperative clinical status were graded into five categories: intact; mild deficit; moderate deficit (significant impairment but able to perform activities of daily living); severe deficit (requiring assistance for daily activities); and death. Of the 36 patients who preoperatively were intact or had mild deficits, 33 (92%) were the same or improved postoperatively, three were worse, and there were no deaths. Among 15 patients presenting with moderate deficits, 12 (80%) were the same or improved, two were worse, and one died. Of the 13 patients with severe deficits, 10 (77%) were the same or improved and three died. Two patients with sudden severe deficits associated with loss of contralateral bruit were operated on without angiography and were intact postoperatively. Of the four deaths in the total series, two were attributed to cardiac causes and two to unrelated disease processes. The indications for emergency carotid endarterectomy are discussed.

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Christopher S. Ogilvy, Roberto C. Heros, Robert G. Ojemann and Paul F. New

✓ Eight cases of histopathologically proven arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) which were not visualized on angiography are presented. As is typical with these lesions, most of the patients in this series presented with hemorrhage, seizures, or episodic or progressive neurological symptoms suggestive of a neoplasm. The diagnosis of angiographically occult AVM was highly suspected preoperatively in each case based on the combination of computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) findings. The CT scans in all cases showed moderately hyperdense lesions which enhanced mildly or moderately in a nonhomogeneous pattern with administration of contrast material. The MR image showed one or more bright areas interspersed with areas of low or absent signal peripherally or centrally on both T1- and T2-weighted images. The AVM was totally excised in seven patients and partially excised in one patient, with favorable results in all. The clinical management and differential diagnosis of angiographically occult AVM's are discussed. In patients with a clinical course and radiological studies suggestive of an occult AVM, removal of the lesion, if accessible, should be performed in order to rule out a neoplasm and prevent subsequent hemorrhage and progression of symptoms.

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Roberto C. Heros, Gerard M. Debrun, Robert G. Ojemann, Pierre L. Lasjaunias and Pierre J. Naessens

✓ A patient presenting with progressive paraparesis was found to have a spinal arteriovenous fistula at the T3–4 vertebral level. The lesion consisted of a direct communication of the anterior spinal artery with a very distended venous varix that drained mostly superiorly to the posterior fossa and simulated a posterior fossa arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on vertebral angiography. The patient was treated by surgical ligation of the fistula through an anterior transthoracic approach. He deteriorated abruptly on the 4th postoperative day, probably because of retrograde thrombosis of the enlarged anterior spinal artery. Over the next few months, he improved to the point of being able to walk with crutches. He has also regained sphincter control.

The different types of spinal AVM's are reviewed. Our case does not fit into any of these groups. A new category, Type IV, is proposed to designate direct arteriovenous fistulas involving the intrinsic arterial supply of the spinal cord.