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  • Author or Editor: Scott D. Wait x
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Francisco A. Ponce, Brendan D. Killory, Scott D. Wait, Nicholas Theodore and Curtis A. Dickman

Object

Thoracoscopy may be used in place of thoracotomy to resect intrathoracic neoplasms such as paraspinal neurogenic tumors. Although these tumors are rare, they account for the majority of tumors arising in the posterior mediastinum.

Methods

A database was maintained of all patients undergoing thoracoscopic surgery for tumors. The authors analyzed the presenting symptoms, pathological diagnoses, and outcomes of 26 patients (7 males and 19 females, mean age 37.2 years) who were treated for intrathoracic tumors via thoracoscopy between January 1995 and May 2009. Fourteen patients were diagnosed incidentally (54%). Five patients (19%) presented with dyspnea or shortness of breath, 4 (15%) with pain, 1 (4%) with pneumonia, 1 (4%) with hoarseness, and 1 (4%) with Horner syndrome.

Results

Pathology demonstrated schwannomas in 20 patients (77%). Other diagnoses included ganglioneurofibroma, paraganglioma, epithelioid angiosarcoma, benign hemangioma, benign granular cell tumor, and infectious granuloma. One patient required conversion to open thoracotomy due to pleural scarring to the tumor. One underwent initial laminectomy due to intraspinal extension of the tumor. Gross-total resection was obtained in 25 cases (96%). The remaining patient underwent biopsy followed by radiation therapy. The mean surgical time was 2.5 hours, and the mean blood loss was 243 ml. The mean duration of chest tube insertion was 1.3 days, and the mean length of hospital stay was 3.0 days. Cases that were treated in the second half of the cohort were more often diagnosed incidentally, performed in less time, and had less blood loss than those in the first half of the cohort. There was 1 case of permanent treatment-related morbidity (mild Horner syndrome). All previously employed patients were able to return to work (mean clinical follow-up 43 months). There were no recurrences (mean imaging follow-up 54 months).

Conclusions

Endoscopic transthoracic approaches can reduce approach-related soft-tissue morbidity and facilitate recovery by preserving the normal tissues of the chest wall, by avoiding rib retraction and muscle transection, and by reducing postoperative pain. This less invasive approach thus shortens hospital stay and recovery time.

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Scott D. Wait, Francisco A. Ponce, Brendan D. Killory, Donna Wallace and Harold L. Rekate

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a potentially life-threatening entity characterized by hyperthermia, autonomic deregulation, decreased mental status, increased muscle tone, and, frequently, by renal failure due to rhabdomyolysis. Classically, it follows administration of antipsychotic medication.

The authors report on 4 patients (2 children and 2 adults) in whom NMS was diagnosed after a CNS insult. No patient was receiving antipsychotic medication. The patients' hospital and clinic charts, radiographic data, and follow-up telephone conversations were reviewed retrospectively.

All 4 patients met diagnostic criteria for NMS. Three patients presented with shunt failure, and 1 patient had undergone a functional hemispherectomy 2 days earlier. One patient with shunt failure received the diagnosis retrospectively. An endoscopic third ventriculostomy alleviated his shunt failure and he remains free of NMS. The other 2 patients underwent treatment for shunt failure, but NMS remained. These 2 patients and the one who had undergone hemispherectomy underwent a trial of intrathecal baclofen, and the NMS resolved. Subsequently, an intrathecal baclofen infusion device was placed in all 3 patients, and the NMS resolved. The 2 patients in shunt failure had a lumbar intrathecal baclofen infusion device. The patient who had undergone hemispherectomy had an intracranial baclofen catheter.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a rare, life-threatening disorder that can occur without the administration of neuroleptic medications. Alleviation of any CNS insult is the first order of treatment. Some patients with persistent symptoms of NMS may benefit from intrathecal delivery of baclofen.

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Francisco A. Ponce, Robert F. Spetzler, Patrick P. Han, Scott D. Wait, Brendan D. Killory, Peter Nakaji and Joseph M. Zabramski

Object

The aim of this study was to clarify the surgical indications, risks, and long-term clinical outcomes associated with the use of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest for the surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 105 deep hypothermic circulatory arrest procedures performed in 103 patients (64 females and 39 males, with a mean age of 44.8 years) to treat 104 separate aneurysms. Patients' clinical histories, radiographs, and operative reports were evaluated. There were 97 posterior circulation aneurysms: at the basilar apex in 60 patients, midbasilar artery in 21, vertebrobasilar junction in 11, superior cerebellar artery in 4, and posterior cerebral artery in 1. Seven patients harbored anterior circulation aneurysms. Two additional patients harbored nonaneurysmal lesions.

Results

Perioperatively, 14 patients (14%) died. Five patients (5%) were lost to late follow-up. At a mean long-term follow-up of 9.7 years, 65 patients (63%) had the same or a better status after surgical intervention, 10 (10%) were worse, and 9 (9%) had died. There were 19 cases (18%) of permanent or severe complications. The combined rate of permanent treatment-related morbidity and mortality was 32%. The mean late follow-up Glasgow Outcome Scale score was 4, and the annual hemorrhage rate after microsurgical clipping during cardiac standstill was 0.5%/year. Ninety-two percent of patients required no further treatment of their aneurysm at the long-term follow-up.

Conclusions

Cardiac standstill remains an important treatment option for a small subset of complex and giant posterior circulation aneurysms. Compared with the natural history of the disease, the risk associated with this procedure is acceptable.