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Badih Daou, Edison P. Valle-Giler, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, David Hasan, Robert H. Rosenwasser, Ryan Hebert and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

The Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) has become an effective treatment strategy for some cerebral aneurysms. Concerns regarding the patency of branch arteries have been raised. The objective of this study was to assess the patency of the posterior communicating artery (PCoA) following treatment of PCoA aneurysms using the PED.

METHODS

All patients with PCoA aneurysms treated with the PED who had angiographic follow-up were retrospectively identified. The patency of the PCoA at follow-up was evaluated by 2 authors who were not involved in the intervention. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with the following: 1) PCoA patency versus no or diminished flow, and 2) PCoA patency and diminished flow versus PCoA occlusion.

RESULTS

Thirty patients with an angiographic follow-up of 6 months were included. Aneurysm obliteration was achieved in 25 patients (83.3%). The PCoA was patent in 7 patients (23.3%), had diminished flow in 7 patients (23.3%), and was occluded in 16 patients (53.3%). In the univariate analysis of outcome, there was a trend for aneurysms with incomplete occlusion, aneurysms not previously treated, those with presence of a fetal PCoA, and those with an artery coming from the aneurysm to have higher odds of the PCoA remaining patent. In univariate and multivariate analyses of factors associated with outcome, fetal PCoA and presence of an artery coming from the aneurysm were associated with the PCoA remaining open with or without diminished flow. No patients had symptoms related to PCoA occlusion.

CONCLUSIONS

Occlusion and diminished flow through the PCoA is common following PED treatment of PCoA aneurysms. However, it is clinically insignificant in most cases.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Mario Zanaty, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Philip Manasseh, David Hasan, Ketan R. Bulsara, Robert M. Starke, Kevin Lawson, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECT

Endovascular interventions have become an essential part of a neurosurgeon’s practice. Whether endovascular procedures have been effectively integrated into residency curricula, however, remains uncertain. The purpose of this study was to assess the preparedness of US neurosurgery graduate trainees for neuroendovascular fellowship.

METHODS

A multidomain, global assessment survey was sent to all directors/faculty of neuroendovascular fellowship programs involved in training of US neurosurgery graduates. Surveyees were asked to assess trainees as they entered fellowship.

RESULTS

The response rate was 78% (25/32). Of respondent program directors, 38% reported that new fellows did not know the history and imaging of the patient and 50% were unable to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. As many as 79% of fellows were unfamiliar with endovascular devices and 75% were unfamiliar with angiographic equipment. Furthermore, 58% of fellows were unable to perform femoral access, 54% were unable to perform femoral closure, 79% were unable to catheterize a major vessel, 86% were unable to perform a 4-vessel angiogram, and 100% were unable to catheterize an aneurysm. Additionally, program directors reported that over 50% of fellows could not recognize neurovascular anatomy and 54% could not recognize/classify vascular abnormalities. There was an overall agreement that fellows demonstrated professionalism and interest in research and had good communication/clinical skills.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest potential gaps in the training of neurosurgery residents with regard to endovascular neurosurgery. In an era of minimally invasive therapies, changes in residency curricula may be needed to keep pace with the ever-changing field of neurosurgery.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert M. Starke, David Hasan, Nimrita Sidhu, Saurabh Singhal, Shannon Hann, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

Object

Endovascular therapy has become a widely used method for achieving arterial recanalization in patients who are ineligible for intravenous thrombolysis or those in whom it is unsuccessful. Young stroke patients with large vessel occlusions may particularly benefit from endovascular intervention. This study aims to assess the authors' experience with the use of modern endovascular techniques to treat young patients (≤ 55 years old) with acute ischemic stroke and large vessel occlusions.

Methods

Young patients (≤ 55 years old) undergoing endovascular intervention for acute ischemic stroke at the authors' institution were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Only those patients with a confirmed large vessel occlusion were included. Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were determined at 90 days during a follow-up visit. A multivariate analysis was performed to determine predictors of outcome (mRS score 0–2).

Results

A total of 45 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the patients in this series was 45 ± 9.6 years. The mean admission NIH Stroke Scale score was 14.1 ± 5 (median 13.5). Mechanical thrombectomy was performed using the Solitaire FR device in 13 (29%) patients and the Merci/Penumbra systems in 32 (71%) patients. The rate of successful recanalization (Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction [TIMI] scale Grade II–III) was 93% (42/45). Only 1 patient (2.2%) had a symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage following intervention. One patient (2.2%) sustained a vessel perforation intraoperatively. The rate of 90-day favorable outcome (mRS score 0–2) was 77.5% and the rate of 90-day satisfactory outcome (mRS score 0–3) was 90%. The 90-day mortality rate was 7.5%. In multivariate analysis, postprocedure TIMI grade was the only statistically significant independent predictor of 90-day outcome (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.01–1.19; p = 0.05).

Conclusions

The results of this study demonstrate that endovascular therapy provides remarkably high rates of arterial recanalization and favorable outcomes in young patients with acute ischemic stroke and large vessel occlusions. These findings support aggressive interventional strategies in these patients. Randomized, controlled trials reflecting modern acute ischemic stroke treatment will be needed to confirm the findings of this study.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Mario Zanaty, Alex Whiting, Steven Yang, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, David Hasan, Robert M. Starke, Shannon Hann, Christine Hammer, David Kung, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECT

Flow diverters are increasingly used for treatment of intracranial aneurysms. In most series, the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) was used for the treatment of large, giant, complex, and fusiform aneurysms. Little is known about the use of the PED in small aneurysms. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of the PED in small aneurysms (≤ 7 mm).

METHODS

A total of 100 consecutive patients were treated with the PED at the authors' institution between May 2011 and September 2013. Data on procedural safety and efficacy were retrospectively collected.

RESULTS

The mean aneurysm size was 5.2 ± 1.5 mm. Seven patients (7%) had sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage. All except 5 aneurysms (95%) arose from the anterior circulation. The number of PEDs used was 1.2 per aneurysm. Symptomatic procedure-related complications occurred in 3 patients (3%): 1 distal parenchymal hemorrhage that was managed conservatively and 2 ischemic events. At the latest follow-up (mean 6.3 months), 54 (72%) aneurysms were completely occluded (100%), 10 (13%) were nearly completely occluded (≥ 90%), and 11 (15%) were incompletely occluded (< 90%). Six aneurysms (8%) required further treatment. Increasing aneurysm size (OR 3.8, 95% CI 0.99–14; p = 0.05) predicted retreatment. All patients achieved a favorable outcome (modified Rankin Scale Score 0–2) at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, treatment of small aneurysms with the PED was associated with low complication rates and high aneurysm occlusion rates. These findings suggest that the PED is a safe and effective alternative to conventional endovascular techniques for small aneurysms. Randomized trials with long-term follow-up are necessary to determine the optimal treatment that leads to the highest rate of obliteration and the best clinical outcomes.

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Joseph S. Hudson, Yasunori Nagahama, Daichi Nakagawa, Robert M. Starke, Brian J. Dlouhy, James C. Torner, Pascal Jabbour, Lauren Allan, Colin P. Derdeyn, Jeremy D. W. Greenlee and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial stenting and flow diversion require the use of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) to prevent in-stent thrombosis. DAPT may significantly increase the risk of hemorrhagic complications in patients who require subsequent surgical interventions. In this study, the authors sought to investigate whether DAPT is a risk factor for hemorrhagic complications associated with ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Moreover, the authors sought to compare VP shunt complication rates with respect to the shunt’s location from the initial external ventricular drain (EVD) site.

METHODS

Patients with aSAH who presented to the authors’ institution from July 2009 through November 2016 and required VP shunt placement for persistent hydrocephalus were included. The rates of hemorrhagic complications associated with VP shunt placement were compared between patients who were on a regimen of DAPT (aspirin and clopidogrel) for use of a stent or flow diverter, and patients who underwent microsurgical clipping or coiling only and were not on DAPT using a backward stepwise multivariate analysis. Rates of radiographic hemorrhage and infection-related VP shunt revision were compared between patients who underwent VP shunt placement along the same track and those who underwent VP shunt placement at a different site (contralateral or posterior) from the initial EVD.

RESULTS

A total of 443 patients were admitted for the management of aSAH. Eighty of these patients eventually required VP shunt placement. Thirty-two patients (40%) had been treated with stent-assisted coiling or flow diverters and required DAPT, whereas 48 patients (60%) had been treated with coiling without stents or surgical clipping and were not on DAPT at the time of VP shunt placement. A total of 8 cases (10%) of new hemorrhage were observed along the intracranial proximal catheter of the VP shunt. Seven of these hemorrhages were observed in patients on DAPT, and 1 occurred in a patient not on DAPT. After multivariate analysis, only DAPT was significantly associated with hemorrhage (OR 31.23, 95% CI 2.98–327.32; p = 0.0001). One patient (3%) on DAPT who experienced hemorrhage required shunt revision for hemorrhage-associated proximal catheter blockage. The remaining 7 hemorrhages were clinically insignificant. The difference in rates of hemorrhage between shunt placement along the same track and placement at a different site of 0.07 was not significant (6/47 vs 2/32, p = 0.46). The difference in infection-related VP shunt revision rate was not significantly different (1/47 vs 3/32, p = 0.2978).

CONCLUSIONS

This clinical series confirms that, in patients with ruptured aneurysms who are candidates for stent-assisted coiling or flow diversion, the risk of clinically significant VP shunt–associated hemorrhage with DAPT is low. In an era of evolving endovascular therapeutics, stenting or flow diversion is a viable option in select aSAH patients.

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Yasunori Nagahama, Lauren Allan, Daichi Nakagawa, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Robert D. Brown Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn, Enrique C. Leira, Joseph Broderick, Marc Chimowitz, James C. Torner and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Clinical vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) are devastating complications of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Several theories involving platelet activation have been postulated as potential explanations of the development of clinical vasospasm and DCI. However, the effects of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT; aspirin and clopidogrel) on clinical vasospasm and DCI have not been previously investigated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of DAPT on clinical vasospasm and DCI in aSAH patients.

METHODS

Analysis of patients treated for aSAH during the period from July 2009 to April 2014 was performed in a single-institution retrospective study. Patients were divided into 2 groups: patients who underwent stent-assisted coiling or placement of flow diverters requiring DAPT (DAPT group) and patients who underwent coiling only without DAPT (control group). The frequency of symptomatic clinical vasospasm and DCI and of hemorrhagic complications was compared between the 2 groups, utilizing univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

Of 312 aSAH patients considered for this study, 161 met the criteria for inclusion and were included in the analysis (85 patients in the DAPT group and 76 patients in the control group). The risks of clinical vasospasm (OR 0.244, CI 95% 0.097–0.615, p = 0.003) and DCI (OR 0.056, CI 95% 0.01–0.318, p = 0.001) were significantly lower in patients receiving DAPT. The rates of hemorrhagic complications associated with placement of external ventricular drains and ventriculoperitoneal shunts were similar in both groups (4% vs 2%, p = 0.9).

CONCLUSIONS

The use of DAPT was associated with a lower risk of clinical vasospasm and DCI in patients treated for aSAH, without an increased risk of hemorrhagic complications.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Alex Whiting, Eliza C. Anderson, Samantha Witte, Mario Zanaty, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, David Hasan, Robert M. Starke, Shannon Hann, George M. Ghobrial, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

Object

It is common practice to use a new contralateral bur hole for ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients with an existing ventriculostomy. At Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, the authors have primarily used the ventriculostomy site for the VPS. The purpose of this study was to compare the safety of the 2 techniques in patients with SAH.

Methods

The rates of VPS-related hemorrhage, infection, and proximal revision were compared between the 2 techniques in 523 patients undergoing VPS placement (same site in 464 and contralateral site in 59 patients).

Results

The rate of new VPS-related hemorrhage was significantly higher in the contralateral-site group (1.7%) than in the same-site group (0%; p = 0.006). The rate of VPS infection did not differ between the 2 groups (6.4% for same site vs 5.1% for contralateral site; p = 0.7). In multivariate analysis, higher Hunt and Hess grades (p = 0.05) and open versus endovascular treatment (p = 0.04) predicted shunt infection, but the VPS technique was not a predictive factor (p = 0.9). The rate of proximal shunt revision was 6% in the same-site group versus 8.5% in the contralateralsite group (p = 0.4). In multivariate analysis, open surgery was the only factor predicting proximal VPS revision (p = 0.05).

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that the use of the ventriculostomy site for VPS placement may be feasible and safe and may not add morbidity (infection or need for revision) compared with the use of a fresh contralateral site. This rapid and simple technique also was associated with a lower risk of shunt-related hemorrhage. While both techniques appear to be feasible and safe, a definitive answer to the question of which technique is superior awaits a higher level of medical evidence.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Adam E. Flanders, Robert M. Starke, Michael P. Baldassari, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Michael Reid Gooch, Syed Omar Shah, David Hasan, Nabeel Herial, Robin D’Ambrosio, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

MRI and MRA studies are routinely obtained to identify the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA in the setting of an acute ICH, however, remains unclear. The authors’ goal was to determine the utility of early MRI/MRA in detecting underlying structural lesions in ICH and to identify patients in whom additional imaging during hospitalization could safely be foregone.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data obtained in 400 patients with spontaneous ICH diagnosed on noncontrast head CT scans who underwent MRI/MRA between 2015 and 2017 at their institution. MRI/MRA studies were reviewed to identify underlying lesions, such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, tumors, sinus thrombosis, moyamoya disease, and abscesses.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 65 ± 15.8 years. Hypertension was the most common (72%) comorbidity. Structural abnormalities were detected on MRI/MRA in 12.5% of patients. Structural lesions were seen in 5.7% of patients with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH, 14.1% of those with lobar ICH, 20.4% of those with cerebellar ICH, and 27.8% of those with brainstem ICH. Notably, the diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA was 0% in patients > 65 years with a basal ganglia/thalamic hemorrhage and 0% in those > 85 years with any ICH location, whereas it was 37% in patients < 50 years and 23% in those < 65 years. Multivariate analysis showed that decreasing age, absence of hypertension, and non–basal ganglia/thalamic location were predictors of finding an underlying lesion.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of MRI/MRA in ICH is highly variable, depending on patient age and hemorrhage location. The findings of this study do not support obtaining early MRI/MRA studies in patients ≥ 65 years with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH or in any ICH patients ≥ 85 years. In all other situations, early MRI/MRA remains valuable in ruling out underlying lesions.

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Mario Zanaty, Susanna Howard, Jorge A. Roa, Carlos M. Alvarez, David K. Kung, David J. McCarthy, Edgar A. Samaniego, Daichi Nakagawa, Robert M. Starke, Kaustubh Limaye, Sami Al Kasab, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, James Torner, Daniel Tranel and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Revascularization of a symptomatic, medically refractory, cervical chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) using endovascular techniques (ETs) has surfaced as a viable alternative to extracranial-intracranial bypass. The authors aimed to assess the safety, success, and neurocognitive outcomes of recanalization of COICA using ETs or hybrid treatment (ET plus carotid endarterectomy) and to identify candidate radiological markers that could predict success.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of their prospectively collected institutional database and used their previously published COICA classification to assess the potential benefits of ETs or hybrid surgery to revascularize symptomatic patients with COICA. Subjects who had undergone CT perfusion (CTP) imaging and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) testing, both pre- and postprocedure, were included. The authors then performed a review of the literature on patients with COICA to further evaluate the success and safety of these treatment alternatives.

RESULTS

The single-center study revealed 28 subjects who had undergone revascularization of symptomatic COICA. Five subjects had CTP imaging and MoCA testing pre- and postrevascularization and thus were included in the study. All 5 patients had very large penumbra involving the entire hemisphere supplied by the ipsilateral COICA, which resolved postoperatively. Significant improvement in neurocognitive outcome was demonstrated by MoCA testing after treatment (preprocedure: 19.8 ± 2.4, postprocedure: 27 ± 1.6; p = 0.0038). Moreover, successful revascularization of COICA led to full restoration of cerebral hemodynamics in all cases. Review of the literature identified a total of 333 patients with COICA. Of these, 232 (70%) showed successful recanalization after ETs or hybrid surgery, with low major and minor complication rates (3.9% and 2.7%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

ETs and hybrid surgery are safe and effective alternatives to revascularize patients with symptomatic COICA. CTP imaging could be used as a radiological marker to assess cerebral hemodynamics and predict the success of revascularization. Improvement in CTP parameters is associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive functions.

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David Hasan, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Amit Singla, Waldo R. Guerrero, Daichi Nakagawa, Edgar A. Samaniego, Nnenna Mbabuike, Rabih G. Tawk, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Roberta L. Novakovic, Jonathan White, Clemens M. Schirmer, Thomas G. Brott, Hussain Shallwani and L. Nelson Hopkins

OBJECTIVE

The overall risk of ischemic stroke from a chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) is around 5%–7% per year despite receiving the best available medical therapy. Here, authors propose a radiographic classification of COICA that can be used as a guide to determine the technical success and safety of endovascular recanalization for symptomatic COICA and to assess the changes in systemic blood pressure following successful revascularization.

METHODS

The radiographic images of 100 consecutive subjects with COICA were analyzed. A new classification of COICA was proposed based on the morphology, location of occlusion, and presence or absence of reconstitution of the distal ICA. The classification was used to predict successful revascularization in 32 symptomatic COICAs in 31 patients, five of whom were female (5/31 [16.13%]). Patients were included in the study if they had a COICA with ischemic symptoms refractory to medical therapy. Carotid artery occlusion was defined as 100% cross-sectional occlusion of the vessel lumen as documented on CTA or MRA and confirmed by digital subtraction angiography.

RESULTS

Four types (A–D) of radiographic COICA were identified. Types A and B were more amenable to safe revascularization than types C and D. Recanalization was successful at a rate of 68.75% (22/32 COICAs; type A: 8/8; type B: 8/8; type C: 4/8; type D: 2/8). The perioperative complication rate was 18.75% (6/32; type A: 0/8 [0%]; type B: 1/8 [12.50%]; type C: 3/8 [37.50%], type D: 2/8 [25.00%]). None of these complications led to permanent morbidity or death. Twenty (64.52%) of 31 subjects had improvement in their symptoms at the 2–6 months’ follow-up. A statistically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was noted in 17/21 (80.95%) patients who had successful revascularization, which persisted on follow-up (p = 0.0001). The remaining 10 subjects in whom revascularization failed had no significant changes in SBP (p = 0.73).

CONCLUSIONS

The pilot study suggested that our proposed classification of COICA may be useful as an adjunctive guide to determine the technical feasibility and safety of revascularization for symptomatic COICA using endovascular techniques. Additionally, successful revascularization may lead to a significant decrease in SBP postprocedure. A Phase 2b trial in larger cohorts to assess the efficacy of endovascular revascularization using our COICA classification is warranted.