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Matthew J. McGirt, Giannina L. Garces Ambrossi, Judy Huang and Rafael J. Tamargo

Object

Vasospasm is the major cause of disability and death after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Although the results of 2 randomized clinical trials demonstrated that statin decreases the incidence of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm after aSAH, retrospective studies have failed to confirm this. The authors conducted a prospective observational study to determine whether a standardized regimen of simvastatin would reduce the incidence of cerebral vasospasm and improve neurological outcomes in patients with aSAH.

Methods

Since 1991, all patients with aSAH admitted to the authors' institution have been prospectively followed up with standardized outcomes recording. Starting in September 2005, all patients admitted with aSAH were given enteral simvastatin (80 mg/day for 14 days) in addition to the standard care. The incidence of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm, length of hospitalization, in-hospital mortality rate, and discharge Glasgow Outcome Scale scores in these 170 patients were compared to data obtained in 170 consecutive patients who underwent treatment in our unit prior to the introduction of statin therapy.

Results

The 5-year study period included 340 consecutively treated patients (170 who received statins and 170 who did not). Patients who received simvastatin therapy were more frequently male (29 vs 20%) and had a smaller median aneurysm diameter (6 vs 7 mm). Baseline characteristics were otherwise similar between the cohorts. There were no differences in the incidence of symptomatic vasospasm (25.3 vs 30.5%; p = 0.277), in-hospital mortality rate (18 vs 15%; p = 0.468), length of hospitalization (21 ± 15 vs 19 ± 12 days; p = 0.281), or poor outcome at discharge (Glasgow Outcome Scale Scores 1–2: 21.7 vs 18.2%; p = 0.416) between the simvastatin and nonstatin cohorts. There were no statin-related complications.

Conclusions

The uniform introduction of simvastatin did not reduce the incidence of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm, death, or poor outcome in patients with aSAH. Simvastatin was well tolerated, but its benefit may be less than has been previously reported.

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Andrew S. Luksik, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Wuyang Yang, Judy Huang and George I. Jallo

OBJECTIVE

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors comprise 1%–10% of all childhood central nervous system neoplasms, with astrocytomas representing the most common subtype. Due to their rarity and poor prognosis, large population-based studies are needed to assess the epidemiology and survival risk factors associated with these tumors in the hope of improving outcome. The authors undertook this retrospective study to explore factors that may influence survival in pediatric patients with spinal cord astrocytomas.

METHODS

Utilizing the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, a prospective cancer registry, the authors retrospectively assessed survival in histologically confirmed, primary spinal cord astrocytomas in patients 21 years of age and younger. Survival was described with Kaplan-Meyer curves, and a multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the association of several variables with survival while controlling for confounding variables.

RESULTS

This analysis of 348 cases showed that age (hazard ratio [HR] 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09, p = 0.017), nonwhite race (HR 1.74, 95% CI 1.11–2.74, p = 0.014), high-grade tumor status (HR 14.67, 95% CI 6.69–32.14, p < 0.001), distant or invasive extension of the tumor (HR 2.37, 95% CI 1.02–5.49, p = 0.046), and radiation therapy (HR 3.74, 95% CI 2.18–6.41, p < 0.001) were associated with decreased survival. Partial resection (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.16–0.83, p = 0.017) and gross-total resection (HR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16–0.95, p = 0.039) were associated with improved survival.

CONCLUSIONS

Younger age appears to be protective, while high-grade tumors have a much worse prognosis. Early diagnosis and access to surgery appears necessary for improving outcomes, while radiation therapy has an unclear role. There is still much to learn about this disease in the hope of curing children with the misfortune of having one of these rare tumors.

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Patrick B. Senatus, Shearwood McClelland III, Kurenai Tanji, Alexander Khandji, Judy Huang and Neil Feldstein

P Cerebellar glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a rare entity in adults and an extremely rare entity in children. Approximately 30 cases have been reported in the literature. The authors report the case of a histologically confirmed cerebellar GBM presenting initially as supra- and infratentorial gliomatosis cerebri. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis had been diagnosed in the patient and that diagnosis remained until near the end of his treatment. This case underscores the need for recognizing the clinical presentation of gliomatosis cerebri and multifocal GBM in the pediatric subpopulation thought to harbor demyelinating disease.

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Justin M. Caplan, Eric Sankey, David Gullotti, Joanna Wang, Erick Westbroek, Brian Hwang and Judy Huang

Patients with bilateral anterior circulation aneurysms present a management challenge. These lesions may be treated in a staged manner or alternatively, for select patients, a contralateral approach may be utilized to treat bilateral aneurysms with a single surgery. In this narrated video illustration, we present the case of a 57-year-old woman with incidentally discovered bilateral aneurysms (left middle cerebral artery [MCA], left anterior choroidal artery and right MCA). A contralateral approach through a left pterional craniotomy was performed formicrosurgical clipping of all three aneurysms. The techniques of pterional craniotomy, contralateral approach, microsurgical clipping and intraoperative angiography are reviewed.

The authors are grateful to Wuyang Yang, M.D. for his assistance.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/MlPIu3hQZkg.

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Mohamad Bydon, Nicholas B. Abt, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Mohamed Macki, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon and Judy Huang

OBJECT

The authors sought to determine the impact of resident participation on overall 30-day morbidity and mortality following neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for all patients who had undergone neurosurgical procedures between 2006 and 2012. The operating surgeon(s), whether an attending only or attending plus resident, was assessed for his or her influence on morbidity and mortality. Multivariate logistic regression, was used to estimate odds ratios for 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality outcomes for the attending-only compared with the attending plus resident cohorts (attending group and attending+resident group, respectively).

RESULTS

The study population consisted of 16,098 patients who had undergone elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures. The mean patient age was 56.8 ± 15.0 years, and 49.8% of patients were women. Overall, 15.8% of all patients had at least one postoperative complication. The attending+resident group demonstrated a complication rate of 20.12%, while patients with an attending-only surgeon had a statistically significantly lower complication rate at 11.70% (p < 0.001). In the total population, 263 patients (1.63%) died within 30 days of surgery. Stratified by operating surgeon status, 162 patients (2.07%) in the attending+resident group died versus 101 (1.22%) in the attending group, which was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Regression analyses compared patients who had resident participation to those with only attending surgeons, the referent group. Following adjustment for preoperative patient characteristics and comorbidities, multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that patients with resident participation in their surgery had the same odds of 30-day morbidity (OR = 1.05, 95% CI 0.94–1.17) and mortality (OR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.66–1.28) as their attendingonly counterparts.

CONCLUSIONS

Cases with resident participation had higher rates of mortality and morbidity; however, these cases also involved patients with more comorbidities initially. On multivariate analysis, resident participation was not an independent risk factor for postoperative 30-day morbidity or mortality following elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures.

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Daniel Lubelski, Roy Xiao, Debraj Mukherjee, William W. Ashley, Timothy Witham, Henry Brem, Judy Huang and Stacey Quintero Wolfe

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery seeks to attract the best and brightest medical students; however, there is often a lack of early exposure to the field, among other possible barriers. The authors sought to identify successful practices that can be implemented to improve medical student recruitment to neurosurgery.

METHODS

United States neurosurgery residency program directors were surveyed to determine the number of medical student rotators and medical students matching into a neurosurgery residency from their programs between 2010 and 2016. Program directors were asked about the ways their respective institutions integrated medical students into departmental clinical and research activities.

RESULTS

Complete responses were received from 30/110 institutions. Fifty-two percent of the institutions had neurosurgery didactic lectures for 1st- and 2nd-year medical students (MS1/2), and 87% had didactics for MS3/4. Seventy-seven percent of departments had a neurosurgery interest group, which was the most common method used to integrate medical students into the department. Other forms of outreach included formal mentorship programs (53%), lecture series (57%), and neurosurgery anatomy labs (40%). Seventy-three percent of programs provided research opportunities to medical students, and 57% indicated that the schools had a formal research requirement. On average, 3 medical students did a rotation in each neurosurgery department and 1 matched into neurosurgery each year. However, there was substantial variability among programs. Over the 2010–2016 period, the responding institutions matched as many as 4% of the graduating class into neurosurgery per year, whereas others matched 0%–1%. Departments that matched a greater (≥ 1% per year) number of medical students into neurosurgery were significantly more likely to have a neurosurgery interest group and formal research requirements. A greater percentage of high-matching programs had neurosurgery mentorship programs, lecture series, and cadaver training opportunities compared to the other institutions.

CONCLUSIONS

In recent decades, the number of applicants to neurosurgery has decreased. A major deterrent may be the delayed exposure of medical students to neurosurgery. Institutions with early preclinical exposure, active neurosurgery interest groups, research opportunities, and strong mentorship recruit and match more students into neurosurgery. Implementing such initiatives on a national level may increase the number of highly qualified medical students pursuing neurosurgery.

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Matthew T. Bender, Geoffrey P. Colby, Li-Mei Lin, Bowen Jiang, Erick M. Westbroek, Risheng Xu, Jessica K. Campos, Judy Huang, Rafael J. Tamargo and Alexander L. Coon

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion requires neointimal stent overgrowth to deliver aneurysm occlusion. The existing literature on aneurysm occlusion is limited by heterogeneous follow-up, variable antiplatelet regimens, noninvasive imaging modalities, and nonstandard occlusion assessment. Using a large, single-center cohort with low attrition and standardized antiplatelet tapering, the authors evaluated outcomes after flow diversion of anterior circulation aneurysms to identify predictors of occlusion and aneurysm persistence.

METHODS

Data from a prospective, IRB-approved database was analyzed for all patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated by flow diversion with the Pipeline embolization device (PED) at the authors’ institution. Follow-up consisted of catheter cerebral angiography at 6 and 12 months postembolization. Clopidogrel was discontinued at 6 months and aspirin was reduced to 81 mg daily at 12 months. Occlusion was graded as complete, trace filling, entry remnant, or aneurysm filling. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify predictors of aneurysm persistence.

RESULTS

Follow-up catheter angiography studies were available for 445 (91%) of 491 PED procedures performed for anterior circulation aneurysms between August 2011 and August 2016. Three hundred eighty-seven patients accounted for these 445 lesions with follow-up angiography. The population was 84% female; mean age was 56 years and mean aneurysm size was 6.6 mm. Aneurysms arose from the internal carotid artery (83%), anterior cerebral artery (13%), and middle cerebral artery (4%). Morphology was saccular in 90% of the lesions, and 18% of the aneurysms has been previously treated. Overall, complete occlusion was achieved in 82% of cases at a mean follow-up of 14 months. Complete occlusion was achieved in 72%, 78%, and 87% at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. At 12 months, adjunctive coiling predicted occlusion (OR 0.260, p = 0.036), while male sex (OR 2.923, p = 0.032), aneurysm size (OR 3.584, p = 0.011), and incorporation of a branch vessel (OR 2.206, p = 0.035) predicted persistence. Notable variables that did not predict aneurysm occlusion were prior treatments, vessel of origin, fusiform morphology, and number of devices used.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest single-institution study showing high rates of anterior circulation aneurysm occlusion after Pipeline embolization. Predictors of persistence after flow diversion included increasing aneurysm size and incorporated branch vessel, whereas adjunctive coiling predicted occlusion.

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Matthew T. Bender, Geoffrey P. Colby, Li-Mei Lin, Bowen Jiang, Erick M. Westbroek, Risheng Xu, Jessica K. Campos, Judy Huang, Rafael J. Tamargo and Alexander L. Coon

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion requires neointimal stent overgrowth to deliver aneurysm occlusion. The existing literature on aneurysm occlusion is limited by heterogeneous follow-up, variable antiplatelet regimens, noninvasive imaging modalities, and nonstandard occlusion assessment. Using a large, single-center cohort with low attrition and standardized antiplatelet tapering, the authors evaluated outcomes after flow diversion of anterior circulation aneurysms to identify predictors of occlusion and aneurysm persistence.

METHODS

Data from a prospective, IRB-approved database was analyzed for all patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated by flow diversion with the Pipeline embolization device (PED) at the authors’ institution. Follow-up consisted of catheter cerebral angiography at 6 and 12 months postembolization. Clopidogrel was discontinued at 6 months and aspirin was reduced to 81 mg daily at 12 months. Occlusion was graded as complete, trace filling, entry remnant, or aneurysm filling. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify predictors of aneurysm persistence.

RESULTS

Follow-up catheter angiography studies were available for 445 (91%) of 491 PED procedures performed for anterior circulation aneurysms between August 2011 and August 2016. Three hundred eighty-seven patients accounted for these 445 lesions with follow-up angiography. The population was 84% female; mean age was 56 years and mean aneurysm size was 6.6 mm. Aneurysms arose from the internal carotid artery (83%), anterior cerebral artery (13%), and middle cerebral artery (4%). Morphology was saccular in 90% of the lesions, and 18% of the aneurysms has been previously treated. Overall, complete occlusion was achieved in 82% of cases at a mean follow-up of 14 months. Complete occlusion was achieved in 72%, 78%, and 87% at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. At 12 months, adjunctive coiling predicted occlusion (OR 0.260, p = 0.036), while male sex (OR 2.923, p = 0.032), aneurysm size (OR 3.584, p = 0.011), and incorporation of a branch vessel (OR 2.206, p = 0.035) predicted persistence. Notable variables that did not predict aneurysm occlusion were prior treatments, vessel of origin, fusiform morphology, and number of devices used.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest single-institution study showing high rates of anterior circulation aneurysm occlusion after Pipeline embolization. Predictors of persistence after flow diversion included increasing aneurysm size and incorporated branch vessel, whereas adjunctive coiling predicted occlusion.

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Geoffrey P. Colby, Bowen Jiang, Matthew T. Bender, Narlin B. Beaty, Erick M. Westbroek, Risheng Xu, Li-Mei Lin, Jessica K. Campos, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang, Alan R. Cohen and Alexander L. Coon

Intracranial aneurysms in the pediatric population are rare entities. The authors recently treated a 9-month-old infant with a 19-mm recurrent, previously ruptured, and coil-embolized left middle cerebral artery (MCA) pseudoaneurysm, which was treated definitively with single-stage Pipeline-assisted coil embolization. The patient was 5 months old when she underwent resection of a left temporal Grade 1 desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma at an outside institution, which was complicated by left MCA injury with a resultant 9-mm left M1 pseudoaneurysm. Within a month, the patient had two aneurysmal rupture events and underwent emergency craniectomy for decompression and evacuation of subdural hematoma. The pseudoaneurysm initially underwent coil embolization; however, follow-up MR angiography (MRA) revealed aneurysm recanalization with saccular enlargement to 19 mm. The patient underwent successful flow diversion–assisted coil embolization at 9 months of age. At 7 months after the procedure, follow-up MRA showed complete aneurysm occlusion without evidence of in-stent thrombosis or stenosis. Experience with flow diverters in the pediatric population is still in its early phases, with the youngest reported patient being 22 months old. In this paper the authors report the first case of such a technique in an infant, whom they believe to be the youngest patient to undergo cerebral flow diversion treatment.

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Geoffrey P. Colby, Matthew T. Bender, Li-Mei Lin, Narlin Beaty, Justin M. Caplan, Bowen Jiang, Erick M. Westbroek, Bijan Varjavand, Jessica K. Campos, Judy Huang, Rafael J. Tamargo and Alexander L. Coon

OBJECTIVE

The second-generation Pipeline embolization device (PED), Flex, has several design upgrades, including improved opening and the ability to be resheathed, in comparison with the original device (PED classic). The authors hypothesized that Flex is associated with a lower rate of major complications.

METHODS

A prospective, IRB-approved, single-institution database was analyzed for all patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated by flow diversion. The PED classic was used from August 2011 to January 2015, and the Pipeline Flex has been used since February 2015.

RESULTS

A total of 568 PED procedures (252 classic and 316 Flex) were performed for anterior circulation aneurysms. The average aneurysm size was 6.8 mm. Patients undergoing treatment with the Flex device had smaller aneurysms (p = 0.006) and were more likely to have undergone previous treatments (p = 0.001). Most aneurysms originated along the internal carotid artery (89% classic and 75% Flex) but there were more anterior cerebral artery (18%) and middle cerebral artery (7%) deployments with Flex (p = 0.001). Procedural success was achieved in 96% of classic and 98% of Flex cases (p = 0.078). Major morbidity or death occurred in 3.5% of cases overall: 5.6% of classic cases, and 1.9% of Flex cases (p = 0.019). On multivariate logistic regression, predictors of major complications were in situ thrombosis (OR 4.3, p = 0.006), classic as opposed to Flex device (OR 3.7, p = 0.008), and device deployment in the anterior cerebral artery or middle cerebral artery as opposed to the internal carotid artery (OR 3.5, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion of anterior circulation cerebral aneurysms is associated with an overall low rate of major complications. The complication rate is significantly lower since the introduction of the second-generation PED (Flex).