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Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Robert M. Starke, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Samantha Witte, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Aaron S. Dumont

Object

Surgical clipping of posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms can be challenging and carries a potentially significant risk of morbidity and mortality. Experience with endovascular therapy has been limited to a few studies. The authors assess the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of endovascular therapy in the largest series of proximal and distal PICA aneurysms to date.

Methods

A total of 76 patients, 54 with proximal and 22 with distal PICA aneurysms, underwent endovascular treatment at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience between 2001 and 2011.

Results

Endovascular treatment was successful in 52 patients (96.3%) with proximal aneurysms and 19 patients (86.4%) with distal aneurysms. Treatment consisted of selective aneurysm coiling in 60 patients (84.5%) (including 4 with stent assistance and 4 with balloon assistance) and parent vessel trapping in 11 patients (15.5%). Specifically, a deconstructive procedure was necessary in 9.6% of proximal aneurysms (5 of 52) and 31.6% of distal aneurysms (6 of 19). There were 9 overall procedural complications (12.7%), 6 infarcts (8.5%; 4 occurring after deliberate occlusion of the PICA), and 3 intraprocedural ruptures (4.2%). The rate of procedure-related permanent morbidity was 2.8%. Complete aneurysm occlusion was achieved in 63.4% of patients (45 of 71). One patient (1.4%) treated with selective aneurysm coiling suffered a rehemorrhage on postoperative Day 15. The mean angiographic follow-up time was 17.2 months. Recurrence and re-treatment rates were, respectively, 20% and 17.1% for proximal aneurysms compared with 30.8% and 23.1% for distal aneurysms. Favorable outcomes (moderate, mild, or no disability) at follow-up were seen in 93% of patients with unruptured aneurysms and in 78.7% of those with ruptured aneurysms.

Conclusions

Endovascular therapy is a feasible, safe, and effective treatment in patients with proximal and distal PICA aneurysms, providing excellent patient outcomes and adequate protection against rehemorrhage. The long-term incidence of aneurysm recanalization appears to be high, especially in distal aneurysms, and requires careful angiographic follow-up.

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Ana Rodríguez-Hernández, Ahmed J. Awad and Michael T. Lawton

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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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Thana Theofanis, Nohra Chalouhi, Richard Dalyai, Robert M. Starke, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

The authors conducted a study to assess the safety and efficacy of microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and determine predictors of complications.

Methods

A total of 264 patients with cerebral AVMs were treated with microsurgical resection between 1994 and 2010 at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. A review of patient data was performed, including initial hemorrhage, clinical presentation, Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, treatment modalities, clinical outcomes, and obliteration rates. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to determine predictors of operative complications.

Results

Of the 264 patients treated with microsurgery, 120 (45%) patients initially presented with hemorrhage. There were 27 SM Grade I lesions (10.2%), 101 Grade II lesions (38.3%), 96 Grade III lesions (36.4%), 31 Grade IV lesions (11.7%), and 9 Grade V lesions (3.4%). Among these patients, 102 (38.6%) had undergone prior endovascular embolization. In all patients, resection resulted in complete obliteration of the AVM. Complications occurred in 19 (7.2%) patients and resulted in permanent neurological deficits in 5 (1.9%). In multivariate analysis, predictors of complications were increasing AVM size (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.5–6.6; p = 0.001), increasing number of embolizations (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2; p = 0.01), and unruptured AVMs (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1–7.2; p = 0.05).

Conclusions

Microsurgical resection of AVMs is highly efficient and can be undertaken with low rates of morbidity at high-volume neurovascular centers. Unruptured and larger AVMs were associated with higher complication rates.

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Richard Dalyai, Robert M. Starke, Nohra Chalouhi, Thana Theofanis, Christopher Busack, Pascal Jabbour, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

Cigarette smoking has been well established as a risk factor in vascular pathology, such as cerebral aneurysms. However, tobacco’s implications for patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are controversial. The object of this study was to identify predictors of AVM obliteration and risk factors for complications.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database for all patients with AVMs treated using surgical excision, staged endovascular embolization (with N-butyl-cyanoacrylate or Onyx), stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife or Linear Accelerator), or a combination thereof between 1994 and 2010. Medical risk factors, such as smoking, abuse of alcohol or intravenous recreational drugs, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and coronary artery disease, were documented. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to detect predictors of periprocedural complications, obliteration, and posttreatment hemorrhage.

Results

Of 774 patients treated at a single tertiary care cerebrovascular center, 35% initially presented with symptomatic hemorrhage and 57.6% achieved complete obliteration according to digital subtraction angiography (DSA) or MRI. In a multivariate analysis a negative smoking history (OR 1.9, p = 0.006) was a strong independent predictor of AVM obliteration. Of the patients with obliterated AVMs, 31.9% were smokers, whereas 45% were not (p = 0.05). Multivariate analysis of obliteration, after controlling for AVM size and location (eloquent vs noneloquent tissue), revealed that nonsmokers were more likely (0.082) to have obliterated AVMs through radiosurgery. Smoking was not predictive of treatment complications or posttreatment hemorrhage. Abuse of alcohol or intravenous recreational drugs, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease had no discernible effect on AVM obliteration, periprocedural complications, or posttreatment hemorrhage.

Conclusions

Cerebral AVM patients with a history of smoking are significantly less likely than those without a smoking history to have complete AVM obliteration on follow-up DSA or MRI. Therefore, patients with AVMs should be strongly advised to quit smoking.

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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, Cory D. Bovenzi, Vismay Thakkar, Jeremy Dressler, Pascal Jabbour, Robert M. Starke, Sonia Teufack, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Richard Dalyai, Aaron S. Dumont, Robert Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

Aneurysm recurrence after coil therapy remains a major shortcoming in the endovascular management of cerebral aneurysms. The need for long-term imaging follow-up was recently investigated. This study assessed the diagnostic yield of long-term digital subtraction angiography (DSA) follow-up and determined predictors of delayed aneurysm recurrence and retreatment.

Methods

Inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) available short-term and long-term (> 36 months) follow-up DSA images, and 2) no or only minor aneurysm recurrence (not requiring further intervention, i.e., < 20%) documented on short-term follow-up DSA images.

Results

Of 209 patients included in the study, 88 (42%) presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. On shortterm follow-up DSA images, 158 (75%) aneurysms showed no recurrence, and 51 (25%) showed minor recurrence (< 20%, not retreated). On long-term follow-up DSA images, 124 (59%) aneurysms showed no recurrence, and 85 (41%) aneurysms showed recurrence, of which 55 (26%) required retreatment. In multivariate analysis, the predictors of recurrence on long-term follow-up DSA images were as follows: 1) larger aneurysm size (p = 0.001), 2) male sex (p = 0.006), 3) conventional coil therapy (p = 0.05), 4) aneurysm location (p = 0.01), and 5) a minor recurrence on short-term follow-up DSA images (p = 0.007). Ruptured aneurysm status was not a predictive factor. The sensitivity of short-term follow-up DSA studies was only 40.0% for detecting delayed aneurysm recurrence and 45.5% for detecting delayed recurrence requiring further treatment.

Conclusions

The results of this study highlight the importance of long-term angiographic follow-up after coil therapy for ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Predictors of delayed recurrence and retreatment include large aneurysms, recurrence on short-term follow-up DSA images (even minor), male sex, and conventional coil therapy.

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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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Mario Zanaty, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Shannon W. Clark, Cory D. Bovenzi, Mark Saigh, Eric Schwartz, Emily S. I. Kunkel, Alexandra S. Efthimiadis-Budike, Pascal Jabbour, Richard Dalyai, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris

OBJECT

The factors that contribute to periprocedural complications following cranioplasty, including patient-specific and surgery-specific factors, need to be thoroughly assessed. The aim of this study was to evaluate risk factors that predispose patients to an increased risk of cranioplasty complications and death.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all patients at their institution who underwent cranioplasty following craniectomy for stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, and trauma between January 2000 and December 2011. The following predictors were tested: age, sex, race, diabetic status, hypertensive status, tobacco use, reason for craniectomy, urgency status of the craniectomy, graft material, and location of cranioplasty. The cranioplasty complications included reoperation for hematoma, hydrocephalus postcranioplasty, postcranioplasty seizures, and cranioplasty graft infection. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed. Confidence intervals were calculated as the 95% CI.

RESULTS

Three hundred forty-eight patients were included in the study. The overall complication rate was 31.32% (109 of 348). The mortality rate was 3.16%. Predictors of overall complications in multivariate analysis were hypertension (OR 1.92, CI 1.22–3.02), increasing age (OR 1.02, CI 1.00–1.04), and hemorrhagic stroke (OR 3.84, CI 1.93–7.63). Predictors of mortality in multivariate analysis were diabetes mellitus (OR 7.56, CI 1.56–36.58), seizures (OR 7.25, CI 1.238–42.79), bifrontal cranioplasty (OR 5.40, CI 1.20–24.27), and repeated surgery for hematoma evacuation (OR 13.00, CI 1.51–112.02). Multivariate analysis was also applied to identify the variables that affect the development of seizures, the need for reoperation for hematoma evacuation, the development of hydrocephalus, and the development of infections.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' goal was to provide the neurosurgeon with predictors of morbidity and mortality that could be incorporated in the clinical decision-making algorithm. Control of a patient's risk factors and early recognition of complications may help practitioners avoid the exhaustive list of complications.

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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.