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  • Author or Editor: John R. W. Kestle x
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Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford and John R. W. Kestle

✓ To determine the natural history of brain cavernous malformations, the authors entered patients referred to their center into a prospective registry between 1987 and 1993. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging, which showed the typical appearance of this lesion, and conservative management was recommended in all. Patients or their referring physicians were contacted for follow-up data. The purpose of the study was to define the rate of symptomatic hemorrhage and to determine the outcome in those patients who had suffered seizures.

Follow-up data were available for 122 patients with a mean age at entry of 37 years (range 4–82 years). The malformation was located in the brainstem in 43 cases (35%), the basal ganglia/thalamus in 20 (17%), and a hemispheric area in 59 (48%). Fifty percent of patients had never had a symptomatic hemorrhage, 41% had one bleed, 7% had two, and 2% had three. Seizures were reported in 23% of patients and headaches in 15%. Lesions were solitary in 80% of patients and multiple in 20%. The retrospective annual hemorrhage rate (61 bleeds/4550.6 patient-years of life) was 1.3%.

The mean prospective follow-up period was 34 months. There were nine bleeds during this time, six with new neurological deficits. In patients without a prior bleed, the prospective annual rate of hemorrhage was 0.6%. In contrast, patients with prior hemorrhage had an annual bleed rate of 4.5% (p = 0.028). Patient sex (p = 0.97) or the presence of seizures (p = 0.11), headaches (p = 0.06), or solitary versus multiple lesions (p = 0.15) were not significant predictors of later hemorrhage. There was no difference in the rate of bleeds between brain locations. Four patients with seizures became seizurefree and four patients without seizures later developed seizures; only one patient developed intractable seizures. Fourteen patients (11%) underwent surgery (two after hemorrhage, five with seizures, and seven with progressive deficits), and five had radiosurgery. No patient died in the follow-up period. This study indicates that conservative versus operative management strategies may need to be redefined, especially in patients who present with hemorrhage and who appear to have a significantly increased risk of subsequent rehemorrhage.

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Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, John C. Flickinger and John R. W. Kestle

✓ The benefits of radiosurgery for cavernous malformations are difficult to assess because of the unclear natural history of this vascular lesion, the inability to image malformation vessels, and the lack of an imaging technique that defines “cure.” The authors selected for radiosurgery 47 patients who harbored a hemorrhagic malformation in a critical intraparenchymal location remote from a pial or ependymal surface. Of these, 44 patients had experienced at least two hemorrhages before radiosurgery. The mean patient age was 39 years; six patients had previously undergone attempted surgical removal. The malformation was located in the pons/midbrain in 24 cases, the medulla in three, the thalamus in nine, the basal ganglia in three, deep in a parietal lobe in four, and deep in a temporal lobe in four. Patients had sustained initial hemorrhages from 0.5 to 12 years prior to radiosurgery (mean 4.12 years). In these patients, who were not typical of the majority of patients with cavernous malformations, there were 109 bleeds before radiosurgery in 193 prior observation-years, for a 56.5% annual hemorrhage rate (including the first hemorrhage), or an annual rate of 32% subsequent to the first hemorrhage.

The mean follow-up period after radiosurgery was 3.6 years (range 0.33–6.4 years). The proportion of patients with hemorrhage after radiosurgery was significantly reduced (p < 0.0001), as was the mean number of hemorrhages per patient (p = 0.00004). In the first 2 years after radiosurgery, there were seven bleeds in 80 observation-years (8.8% annual hemorrhage rate). In the 2- to 6-year interval after radiosurgery, the annual rate decreased to 1.1% (one bleed). After radiosurgery, 12 patients (26%) sustained neurological worsening that correlated with imaging changes. In eight patients these deficits were temporary; two underwent surgical resection and died. Two patients had new permanent deficits (4%). A significant reduction was observed in the hemorrhage rate after radiosurgery in patients who had deep hemorrhagic cavernous malformations, especially after a 2-year latency interval. This evidence provides further support to the belief that radiosurgery is an effective strategy for cavernous malformations, especially when located within the parenchyma of the brainstem or diencephalon.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Thomas Lemley, John R. W. Kestle, L. Dade Lunsford, Gerhard H. Fromm and Peter J. Jannetta

✓ To evaluate the reported benefit of ipsilateral single-application ophthalmic anesthetic eyedrops in patients with typical trigeminal neuralgia, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial was performed. Forty-seven patients were randomly assigned to receive two drops of either proparacaine (25 cases) or saline placebo (22 cases). The experimental and placebo groups were equivalent in regard to patient age, distribution of trigeminal neuralgia pain, duration of pain, current medication regimens, and number of prior procedures performed. Pain response was assessed at 3, 10, and 30 days after instillation using two pain rating scales and a measure of pain frequency. Treatment failure was defined in advance as any of the following: a lack of clinical response, the need for an increase in medication, or the need for surgery. No significant difference in outcomes was found between the two groups either when using a verbal pain rating scale (p = 0.24) or when comparing overall pain status (unchanged, improved throughout the study period, or temporarily improved) (p = 0.98). No difference in the frequency of trigeminal neuralgia attacks between the two treatment groups (scaled within five levels of pain frequency) was detected (p = 0.09). During follow-up monitoring, 11 patients in the test drug group and 14 in the placebo group required surgery because of persistent pain (p = 0.24). The results of this study indicate that single-application topical ophthalmic anesthesia reduces neither the severity nor the frequency of pain in comparison to placebo administration. Although a simple and safe treatment, the single application of topical ophthalmic eyedrops provides no short- or long-term benefit to patients with trigeminal neuralgia.