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Ching-Jen Chen, Thomas J. Buell, Daniel M. S. Raper, Min S. Park, M. Yashar Kalani, Natasha Ironside, Robert F. James and Dale Ding

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Mayur Sharma, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Enzo M. Fortuny, Nicolas K. Khattar, Noberto Andaluz, Robert F. James, Brian J. Williams, Maxwell Boakye and Dale Ding

OBJECTIVE

The development and recent widespread dissemination of flow diverters may have reduced the utilization of surgical bypass procedures to treat complex or giant unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to observe trends in cerebral revascularization procedures for UIAs in the United States before and after the introduction of flow diverters by using the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS).

METHODS

The authors extracted data from the NIS database for the years 1998–2015 using the ICD-9/10 diagnostic and procedure codes. Patients with a primary diagnosis of UIA with a concurrent bypass procedure were included in the study. Outcomes and hospital charges were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 216,212 patients had a primary diagnosis of UIA during the study period. The number of patients diagnosed with a UIA increased by 128% from 1998 (n = 7718) to 2015 (n = 17,600). Only 1328 of the UIA patients (0.6%) underwent cerebral bypass. The percentage of patients who underwent bypass in the flow diverter era (2010–2015) remained stable at 0.4%. Most patients who underwent bypass were white (51%), were female (62%), had a median household income in the 3rd or 4th quartiles (57%), and had private insurance (51%). The West (33%) and Midwest/North Central regions (30%) had the highest volume of bypasses, whereas the Northeast region had the lowest (15%). Compared to the period 1998–2011, bypass procedures for UIAs in 2012–2015 shifted entirely to urban teaching hospitals (100%) and to an elective basis (77%). The median hospital stay (9 vs 3 days, p < 0.0001), median hospital charges ($186,746 vs $66,361, p < 0.0001), and rate of any complication (51% vs 17%, p < 0.0001) were approximately threefold higher for the UIA patients with bypass than for those without bypass.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite a significant increase in the diagnosis of UIAs over the 17-year study period, the proportion of bypass procedures performed as part of their treatment has remained stable. Therefore, advances in endovascular aneurysm therapy do not appear to have affected the volume of bypass procedures performed in the UIA population. The authors’ findings suggest a potentially ongoing niche for bypass procedures in the contemporary treatment of UIAs.

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Robert F. James, Nicolas K. Khattar, Zaid S. Aljuboori, Paul S. Page, Elaine Y. Shao, Lacey M. Carter, Kimberly S. Meyer, Michael W. Daniels, John Craycroft, John R. Gaughen Jr., M. Imran Chaudry, Shesh N. Rai, D. Erik Everhart and J. Marc Simard

OBJECTIVE

Cognitive dysfunction occurs in up to 70% of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) survivors. Low-dose intravenous heparin (LDIVH) infusion using the Maryland protocol was recently shown to reduce clinical vasospasm and vasospasm-related infarction. In this study, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to evaluate cognitive changes in aSAH patients treated with the Maryland LDIVH protocol compared with controls.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of all patients treated for aSAH between July 2009 and April 2014 was conducted. Beginning in 2012, aSAH patients were treated with LDIVH in the postprocedural period. The MoCA was administered to all aSAH survivors prospectively during routine follow-up visits, at least 3 months after aSAH, by trained staff blinded to treatment status. Mean MoCA scores were compared between groups, and regression analyses were performed for relevant factors.

RESULTS

No significant differences in baseline characteristics were observed between groups. The mean MoCA score for the LDIVH group (n = 25) was 26.4 compared with 22.7 in controls (n = 22) (p = 0.013). Serious cognitive impairment (MoCA ≤ 20) was observed in 32% of controls compared with 0% in the LDIVH group (p = 0.008). Linear regression analysis demonstrated that only LDIVH was associated with a positive influence on MoCA scores (β = 3.68, p =0.019), whereas anterior communicating artery aneurysms and fevers were negatively associated with MoCA scores. Multivariable linear regression analysis resulted in all 3 factors maintaining significance. There were no treatment complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This preliminary study suggests that the Maryland LDIVH protocol may improve cognitive outcomes in aSAH patients. A randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the safety and potential benefit of unfractionated heparin in aSAH patients.

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J. Marc Simard, E. Francois Aldrich, David Schreibman, Robert F. James, Adam Polifka and Narlin Beaty

Object

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) predisposes to delayed neurological deficits, including stroke and cognitive and neuropsychological abnormalities. Heparin is a pleiotropic drug that antagonizes many of the pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in secondary brain injury after aSAH.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis in 86 consecutive patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH due to rupture of a supratentorial aneurysm who presented within 36 hours and were treated by surgical clipping within 48 hours of their ictus. Forty-three patients were managed postoperatively with a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion (Maryland low-dose intravenous heparin infusion protocol: 8 U/kg/hr progressing over 36 hours to 10 U/kg/hr) beginning 12 hours after surgery and continuing until Day 14 after the ictus. Forty-three control patients received conventional subcutaneous heparin twice daily as deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis.

Results

Patients in the 2 groups were balanced in terms of baseline characteristics. In the heparin group, activated partial thromboplastin times were normal to mildly elevated; no clinically significant hemorrhages or instances of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or deep vein thrombosis were encountered. In the control group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy (induced hypertension, selective intraarterial verapamil, and angioplasty) was 20 (47%) of 43 patients, and 9 (21%) of 43 patients experienced a delayed infarct on CT scanning. In the heparin group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy was 9% (4 of 43, p = 0.0002), and no patient suffered a delayed infarct (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

In patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH whose aneurysm is secured, postprocedure use of a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion may be safe and beneficial.

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Robert F. James, Viktoras Palys, Jason R. Lomboy, J. Richard Lamm Jr. and Scott D. Simon

New anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications have been approved and are prescribed with increased frequency. Intracranial hemorrhage is associated with the use of these medications. Therefore, neurosurgeons need to be aware of these new medications, how they are different from their predecessors, and the strategies for the urgent reversal of their effects. Utilization of intraluminal stents by endovascular neurosurgeons has resulted in the need to have a thorough understanding of antiplatelet agents. Increased use of dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban as oral anticoagulants for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and acute deep venous thrombosis has increased despite the lack of known antidotes to these medications.