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  • Author or Editor: Alex Alfieri x
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Alex Alfieri, Mauro Campello, Maximilian Broger, Mario Vitale and Andreas Schwarz

Giant sacral tumors present unique challenges to surgeons because there is no established consensus regarding the best treatment options. The authors report on the care of and outcome in a patient presenting with low-back pain only, who underwent preoperative biopsy sampling and subsequent embolization of the feeding vessels of a giant, sacral cellular schwannoma. The main procedure was performed via a combined posterior-anterior approach with complete microsurgical removal of the tumor, without the use of instrumentation, bracing, or adjuvant radio- and chemotherapy. At the 10-year follow-up, no evidence of residual tumor, recurrence, or instability was recognizable. Giant, sacral cellular schwannomas can be aggressively completely removed without any significant morbidity, achieving long-term control of the disease.

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Alex Alfieri, Vera Unterhuber, Martina Pircher, Andreas Schwarz, Roberto Gazzeri, Michael Reinert and Hans R. Widmer


In this study, the authors prospectively evaluated long-term psychosocial and neurocognitive performance in patients suffering from nonaneurysmal, nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and investigated the association between the APOE-ε4 genotype and outcome in these patients.


All patients admitted to the authors' institution between January 2001 and January 2003 with spontaneous nonaneurysmal SAH were prospectively examined (mean follow-up 59.8 months). The APOE genotype was determined in all patients by polymerase chain reaction from a blood sample. Of the 30 patients included in this study, 11 were carriers of the ε4 allele.


All patients showed a good recovery and regained full independence with no persisting neurological deficits. The patients with the ε4 allele, however, scored significantly higher on the Beck Depression Inventory (22.1 ± 6.3 vs 14.1 ± 5.1). At follow-up, depression was more persistent in the group with the ε4 allele compared with the group that lacked the allele. This finding reached statistical significance (p < 0.05). Selective attention was impaired in all patients during the first year of follow-up, with an earlier recovery noted in the patients without the ε4 allele. Moreover, there was a tendency toward a linear relationship between the Beck Depression Inventory and the d2 Test of Attention. Two patients who carried the ε4 allele did not return to their employment even after 5 years.


The findings in this study suggest that the APOE genotypes may be associated with the psychosocial and neurocognitive performance after spontaneous nonaneurysmal SAH, even in the absence of neurological impairment. Physicians should consider patient genotype in assessing the long-term consequences of nonaneurysmal SAH.