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  • Author or Editor: Adib A. Abla x
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Richard W. Williamson, David A. Wilson, Adib A. Abla, Cameron G. McDougall, Peter Nakaji, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECT

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms is uncommon, and long-term outcome data for patients who have suffered such hemorrhages is lacking. This study investigated in-hospital and long-term clinical data from a prospective cohort of patients with SAH from ruptured PICA aneurysms enrolled in a randomized trial; their outcomes were compared with those of SAH patients who were treated for other types of ruptured intracranial aneurysms. The authors hypothesize that PICA patients fare worse than those with aneurysms in other locations and this difference is related to the high rate of lower cranial nerve dysfunction in PICA patients.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data for 472 patients enrolled in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) and retrospectively reviewed vasospasm data not collected prospectively. In the initial cohort, 57 patients were considered angiographically negative for aneurysmal SAH source and did not receive treatment for aneurysms, leaving 415 patients with aneurysmal SAH.

RESULTS

Of 415 patients with aneurysmal SAH, 22 (5.3%) harbored a ruptured PICA aneurysm. Eight of them had dissecting/fusiform-type aneurysms while 14 had saccular-type aneurysms. Nineteen PICA patients were treated with clipping (1 crossover from coiling), 2 were treated with coiling, and 1 died before treatment. When comparing PICA patients to all other aneurysm patients in the study cohort, there were no statistically significant differences in age (mean 57.6 ± 11.8 vs 53.9 ± 11.8 years, p = 0.17), Hunt and Hess grade median III [IQR II–IV] vs III [IQR II–III], p = 0.15), Fisher grade median 3 [IQR 3–3] vs 3 [IQR 3–3], p = 0.53), aneurysm size (mean 6.2 ± 3.0 vs 6.7 ± 4.0 mm, p = 0.55), radiographic vasospasm (53% vs 50%, p = 0.88), or clinical vasospasm (12% vs 23%, p = 0.38). PICA patients were more likely to have a fusiform aneurysm (36% vs 12%, p = 0.004) and had a higher incidence of lower cranial nerve dysfunction and higher rate of tracheostomy/percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement compared with non-PICA patients (50% vs 16%, p < 0.001). PICA patients had a significantly higher incidence of poor outcome at discharge (91% vs 67%, p = 0.017), 1-year follow-up (63% vs 29%, p = 0.002), and 3-year follow-up (63% vs 32%, p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with ruptured PICA aneurysms had a similar rate of radiographic vasospasm, equivalent admission Fisher grade and Hunt and Hess scores, but poorer clinical outcomes at discharge and at 1- and 3-year follow-up when compared with the rest of the BRAT SAH patients with ruptured aneurysms. The PICA's location at the medulla and the resultant high rate of lower cranial nerve dysfunction may play a role in the poor outcome for these patients. Furthermore, PICA aneurysms were more likely to be fusiform than saccular, compared with non-PICA aneurysms; the complex nature of these aneurysms may also contribute to their poorer outcome.

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Adib A. Abla, Andrew F. Ducruet, Robert F. Spetzler, R. Webster Crowley, Cameron G. McDougall and Felipe C. Albuquerque

The authors report the case of a 7-year-old boy with headaches, in whom CT angiography showed multiple intracranial aneurysms from the terminus region of the right internal carotid artery through the proximal right middle cerebral artery (MCA). Initially, the patient underwent clip reconstruction of the M1 segment. Multiple microsurgical and endovascular treatments were required because the largest of these aneurysms recurred several times over the next 1.5 years. The first recurrence was treated with stent coiling and the second by microsurgical occlusion of the MCA combined with the use of a radial artery graft in a common carotid artery–to-MCA bypass. The aneurysm again recurred and was treated by proximal coil occlusion 15 months after the first treatment session. At a 7.5-year follow-up examination, the aneurysms remained occluded. This case highlights the benefit of combined endovascular and microsurgical techniques in the treatment of a complex and unusual case of proximal MCA aneurysmal disease. The patient, now 15 years old, is neurologically intact and able to participate in all activities.

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Gregory J. Velat, Steve W. Chang, Adib A. Abla, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Cameron G. McDougall and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Intramedullary, or glomus, spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are rare vascular lesions amenable to resection with or without adjuvant embolization. The authors retrospectively reviewed the senior author's (R.F.S.'s) surgical series of intramedullary spinal AVMs to evaluate clinical and radiographic outcomes.

Methods

Detailed chart and radiographic reviews were performed for all patients with intramedullary spinal AVMs who underwent surgical treatment between 1994 and 2011. Presenting and follow-up neurological examination results were obtained and graded using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and McCormick Scale. Surgical technique, outcomes, complications, and long-term angiographic studies were reviewed.

Results

During the study period, 20 patients (10 males and 10 females) underwent resection of glomus spinal AVMs. The mean age at presentation was 30 ± 17 years (range 7–62 years). The location of the AVMs was as follows: cervical spine (n = 10), thoracic spine (n = 9), and cervicothoracic junction (n = 1). The most common presenting signs and symptoms included paresis or paralysis (65%), paresthesias (40%), and myelopathy (40%). Perioperative embolization was performed in the majority (60%) of patients. Pial AVM resection was performed in 17 cases (85%). Angiographically verified AVM obliteration was achieved in 15 patients (75%). At a mean follow-up duration of 45.4 ± 52.4 months (range 2–176 months), 14 patients (70%) remained functionally independent (mRS and McCormick Scale scores ≤ 2). One perioperative complication occurred, yielding a surgical morbidity rate of 5%. Three symptomatic spinal cord tetherings occurred at a mean of 5.7 years after AVM resection. No neurological decline was observed after endovascular and surgical interventions. No deaths occurred. Long-term angiographic follow-up data were available for 9 patients (40%) at a mean of 67.6 ± 60.3 months (range 5–176 months) following AVM resection. Durable AVM obliteration was documented in 5 (83%) of 6 patients.

Conclusions

Intramedullary AVMs may be safely resected with satisfactory clinical and angiographic results. The pial resection technique, which provides subtotal AVM nidus resection, effectively devascularized these lesions, as confirmed on postoperative angiography, without violating the spinal cord parenchyma, thereby potentially reducing iatrogenic injury.

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Felipe C. Albuquerque, Yin C. Hu, Shervin R. Dashti, Adib A. Abla, Justin C. Clark, Brian Alkire, Nicholas Theodore and Cameron G. McDougall

Object

Chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine is a known cause of craniocervical arterial dissections. In this paper, the authors describe the patterns of arterial injury after chiropractic manipulation and their management in the modern endovascular era.

Methods

A prospectively maintained endovascular database was reviewed to identify patients presenting with craniocervical arterial dissections after chiropractic manipulation. Factors assessed included time to symptomatic presentation, location of the injured arterial segment, neurological symptoms, endovascular treatment, surgical treatment, clinical outcome, and radiographic follow-up.

Results

Thirteen patients (8 women and 5 men, mean age 44 years, range 30–73 years) presented with neurological deficits, head and neck pain, or both, typically within hours or days of chiropractic manipulation. Arterial dissections were identified along the entire course of the vertebral artery, including the origin through the V4 segment. Three patients had vertebral artery dissections that continued rostrally to involve the basilar artery. Two patients had dissections of the internal carotid artery (ICA): 1 involved the cervical ICA and 1 involved the petrocavernous ICA. Stenting was performed in 5 cases, and thrombolysis of the basilar artery was performed in 1 case. Three patients underwent emergency cerebellar decompression because of impending herniation. Six patients were treated with medication alone, including either anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy. Clinical follow-up was obtained in all patients (mean 19 months). Three patients had permanent neurological deficits, and 1 died of a massive cerebellar stroke. The remaining 9 patients recovered completely. Of the 12 patients who survived, radiographic follow-up was obtained in all but 1 of the most recently treated patients (mean 12 months). All stents were widely patent at follow-up.

Conclusions

Chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine can produce dissections involving the cervical and cranial segments of the vertebral and carotid arteries. These injuries can be severe, requiring endovascular stenting and cranial surgery. In this patient series, a significant percentage (31%, 4/13) of patients were left permanently disabled or died as a result of their arterial injuries.

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Adib A. Abla, David A. Wilson, Richard W. Williamson, Peter Nakaji, Cameron G. McDougall, Joseph M. Zabramski, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) causes significant morbidity in a delayed fashion. The authors recently published a new scale that grades the maximum thickness of SAH on axial CT and is predictive of vasospasm incidence. In this study, the authors further investigate whether different aneurysm locations result in different SAH clot burdens and whether any concurrent differences in ruptured aneurysm location and maximum SAH clot burden affect vasospasm incidence.

Methods

Two hundred fifty patients who were part of a prospective randomized controlled trial were reviewed. Most outcome and demographic variables were included as part of the prospective randomized controlled trial. Additional variables were also collected at a later time, including vasospasm data and maximum clot thickness.

Results

Aneurysms were categorized into 1 of 6 groups: intradural internal carotid artery aneurysms, vertebral artery (VA) aneurysms (including the posterior inferior cerebellar artery), basilar trunk or basilar apex aneurysms, middle cerebral artery aneurysms, pericallosal aneurysms, and anterior communicating artery aneurysms. Twenty-nine patients with nonaneurysmal SAH were excluded. Patients with pericallosal aneurysms had the least average maximum clot burden (5.3 mm), compared with 6.4 mm for the group overall, but had the highest rate of symptomatic vasospasm (56% vs 22% overall, OR 4.9, RR 2.7, p = 0.026). Symptomatic vasospasm occurrence was tallied in patients with clinical deterioration attributable to delayed cerebral ischemia. There were no significant differences in maximum clot thickness between aneurysm sites. Middle cerebral artery aneurysms resulted in the thickest mean maximum clot (7.1 mm) but rates of symptomatic and radiographic vasospasm in this group were statistically no different compared with the overall group. Vertebral artery aneurysms had the worst 1-year modified Rankin scale (mRS) scores (3.0 vs 1.9 overall, respectively; p = 0.0249). A 1-year mRS score of 0–2 (good outcome) was found in 72% of patients overall, but in only 50% of those with pericallosal and VA aneurysms, and in 56% of those with basilar artery aneurysms (p = 0.0044). Patients with stroke from vasospasm had higher mean clot thickness (9.71 vs 6.15 mm, p = 0.004).

Conclusions

The location of a ruptured aneurysm minimally affects the maximum thickness of the SAH clot but is predictive of symptomatic vasospasm or clinical deterioration from delayed cerebral ischemia in pericallosal aneurysms. The worst 1-year mRS outcomes in this cohort of patients were noted in those with posterior circulation aneurysms or pericallosal artery aneurysms. Patients experiencing stroke had higher mean clot burden.

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Adib A. Abla, Hasan A. Zaidi, R. Webster Crowley, Gavin W. Britz, Cameron G. McDougall, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Robert F. Spetzler

Pipeline Embolization Devices (PEDs) have been shown to be effective for intracranial internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms, and are now approved by the FDA specifically for this use. Potential pitfalls, however, have not yet been described in the pediatric neurosurgical literature. The authors report on a 10-year-old boy who presented to the Barrow Neurological Institute after progressive visual decline. He had undergone placement of a total of 7 telescoping PEDs at another facility for a large ICA aneurysm. Residual filling of the aneurysm and significant expansion of intraaneurysmal thrombus with chiasmal compression on admission images were causes for concern. The patient underwent a surgical bailout with a superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery bypass, with parent artery occlusion. Postoperative vascular imaging was notable for successful occlusion of the parent vessel, with no evidence of filling of the aneurysm.

Reports on the pitfalls of PEDs in the neurosurgical literature are scarce. To the authors' knowledge this represents the first paper describing a successful open surgical bailout for residual aneurysmal filling and expansion of thrombus after placement of a PED.