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Robert D. Ecker, Robert D. Brown Jr, Douglas A. Nichols, Robyn L. McClelland, Megan S. Reinalda, David G. Piepgras, Harry J. Cloft and David F. Kallmes

Object. Definitive data characterizing the safety and efficacy of carotid angioplasty with stent placement (CAS) for symptomatic, occlusive carotid artery (CA) disease require further refinements and standardization of techniques as well as large prospective studies on a par with the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET). Despite the absence of such data, many surgeons have performed angioplasty and stent placement in patients with clinical or anatomical features known to add significant perioperative risk and capable of disqualifying the patients from participation in NASCET. There exists no cost analysis comparing high-risk endarterectomy with percutaneous angioplasty and stent insertion.

Methods. Forty-five patients (29 men and 16 women) with high-risk, symptomatic CA stenosis have been treated with CAS at the authors' institution since 1996. Indications for this procedure included symptomatic recurrent stenosis following CA endarterectomy (CEA), active coronary disease, high CA bifurcation, and severe medical comorbidities. A long-standing CEA computer database was screened for control patients with similar risk factors; 391 patients (276 men and 115 women) were identified. Actual cost data, duration of hospital stay, and relevant clinical data from the time of treatment until hospital discharge were collected in each patient. The median total cost of CAS was $10,628, whereas that for CEA was $10,148 (p = 0.495).

Conclusions. In patients with high-risk, NASCET-ineligible CA stenosis there was no overall statistically significant cost difference between CEA and CAS. Given that there may not be a cost advantage for either procedure, procedural risk, efficacy, and durability should be key factors in determining the optimal treatment strategy.

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Boby V. Maramattom, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Eelco F. M. Wijdicks and David Kallmes

✓ The discovery of either a dermatomal cutaneous nevus or a spinal arteriovenous malformation (AVM) should raise the suspicion of Cobb syndrome. The Cobb syndrome is a neurocutaneous syndrome in which there are metameric cutaneous and spinal AVMs. The authors present the case of a patient with acute cervical myelopathy and subtle cutaneous hemangiomas in whom a cervical perimedullary fistula was discovered. They also acknowledge Harvey Cushing's contribution to the recognition of this syndrome.

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Lisa Anne Cannon-Albright

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Giuseppe Lanzino and David F. Kallmes

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Robert D. Brown JR., John Huston III, Richard Hornung, DR.P.H., Tatiana Foroud, David F. Kallmes, Dawn Kleindorfer, Irene Meissner, Daniel Woo, Laura Sauerbeck, Joseph Broderick and for the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm (FIA) Investigators

Object

Approximately 20% of patients with an intracranial saccular aneurysm report a family history of intracranial aneurysm (IA) or subarachnoid hemorrhage. A better understanding of predictors of aneurysm detection in familial IA may allow more targeted aneurysm screening strategies.

Methods

The Familial Intracranial Aneurysm (FIA) study is a multicenter study, in which the primary objective is to define the susceptibility genes related to the formation of IA. First-degree relatives (FDRs) of those affected with IA are offered screening with magnetic resonance (MR) angiography if they were previously unaffected, are ≥ 30 years of age, and have a history of smoking and/or hypertension. Independent predictors of aneurysm detection on MR angiography were determined using the generalized estimating equation version of logistic regression.

Results

Among the first 303 patients screened with MR angiography, 58 (19.1%) had at least 1 IA, including 24% of women and 11.7% of men. Ten (17.2%) of 58 affected patients had multiple aneurysms. Independent predictors of aneurysm detection included female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.46, p = 0.001), pack-years of cigarette smoking (OR 3.24 for 20 pack-years of cigarette smoking compared with never having smoked, p < 0.001), and duration of hypertension (OR 1.26 comparing those with 10 years of hypertension to those with no hypertension, p = 0.006).

Conclusions

In the FIA study, among the affected patients' FDRs who are > 30 years of age, those who are women or who have a history of smoking or hypertension are at increased risk of suffering an IA and should be strongly considered for screening.

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Caleb B. Leake, Waleed Brinjikji, David F. Kallmes and Harry J. Cloft

Object

Evidence of better outcomes in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage treated at higher-volume centers might be expected to result in more of these patients being referred to such centers. The authors evaluated the US National Inpatient Sample for the years 2001 to 2008 for trends in patient admissions for the treatment of ruptured aneurysms at high- and low-volume centers.

Methods

The authors determined the number of ruptured aneurysms treated with clipping or coiling annually at low-volume (≤ 20 patients/year) and high-volume (> 20 patients/year) centers and also counted the number of high- and low-volume centers performing each treatment. Hospitalizations for clipping or coiling ruptured aneurysms were identified by cross-matching International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes for the diagnosis of a ruptured aneurysm (ICD-9-CM 430) with procedure codes for clipping (ICD-9-CM 39.51) or coiling (ICD-9-CM 39.52, 39.79, or 39.72) cerebral aneurysms.

Results

In 2001, 31% (435 of 1392) of the patients who underwent clipping and 0% (0 of 122 patients) of those who underwent coiling did so at high-volume centers, whereas in 2008 these numbers increased to 62% (627 of 1016) and 68% (917 of 1351) of patients, respectively. For clipping procedures, the number of low-volume centers significantly declined from 177 in 2001 to 85 in 2008, whereas the number of high-volume centers remained constant at 13–15. For coiling procedures, the number of low-volume centers decreased from 62 in 2001 to 54 in 2008, whereas the number of high-volume centers substantially increased from 0 in 2001 to 16 in 2005 and remained constant thereafter.

Conclusions

The treatment of ruptured cerebral aneurysms increasingly occurs at high-volume centers in the US. This trend is favorable given that better outcomes are associated with the treatment of these lesions at high-volume centers.

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Ioannis Loumiotis, Robert D. Brown Jr., Roanna Vine, Harry J. Cloft, David F. Kallmes and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

The management of incidental small unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is controversial and many factors need to be considered in the decision-making process. The authors describe a large consecutive series of patients harboring small incidental intracranial aneurysms. Treatment strategy, natural history, complications, and short-term outcomes are presented.

Methods

Between January 2008 and May 2011, the authors prospectively evaluated 212 patients with 272 small (< 10-mm) incidental aneurysms. Treatment recommendations (observation, endovascular treatment, or surgery), complications of treatment, and short-term outcomes were assessed.

Results

Recommended treatment consisted of observation in 125 patients, endovascular embolization in 64, and surgery in 18. Six patients were excluded from further analysis because they underwent treatment elsewhere. In the observation group, at a mean follow-up of 16.7 months, only 1 patient was moved to the embolization group. Seven (6%) of the 125 patients in the observation group died of causes unrelated to aneurysm. Sixty-five patients underwent 69 embolization procedures. The periprocedural permanent morbidity and mortality rates in patients undergoing endovascular treatment were 1.5% and 1.5%, respectively (overall morbidity and mortality rate 3.0%). In the surgery group no periprocedural complications were observed, although 1 patient did not return to her previous occupation. No aneurysmal rupture was documented in any of the 3 treatment groups during the follow-up period.

Conclusions

A cautious and individualized approach to incidental UIAs is of utmost importance for formulation of a safe and effective treatment algorithm. Invasive treatment (either endovascular or surgery) can be considered in selected younger patients, certain “higher-risk” locations, expanding aneurysms, patients with a family history of aneurysmal hemorrhage, and in those who cannot live their lives knowing that they harbor the UIA. Although the complication rate of invasive treatment is very low, it is not negligible. The study confirms that small incidental UIAs deemed to be not in need of treatment have a very benign short-term natural history, which makes observation a reasonable approach in selected patients.

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Robert J. McDonald, Harry J. Cloft and David F. Kallmes

Object

The authors sought to identify the presence of a “July effect,” a transient increase in adverse outcomes during July, among a cohort of spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) admissions recorded in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS).

Methods

The discharge status, admission month, patient demographics, treatment parameters, and hospital characteristics among spontaneous SAH admissions were extracted from the 2001–2008 NIS. Multivariate regression was used to determine whether an unfavorable discharge status and/or in-hospital mortality significantly increased in summer months in a pattern suggestive of a July effect. Additional models were generated to assess the impact of hospital teaching status on these outcomes.

Results

Among 57,663,486 hospital admissions from the 2001–2008 NIS, 52,879 cases of spontaneous SAH (ICD-9-CM 430) were treated at teaching (36,914 cases [70%]) and nonteaching (15,965 cases [30%]) facilities. Regression models failed to reveal a July effect for in-hospital mortality (χ2 = 0.75, p = 1.000) or unfavorable discharges (χ2 = 1.69, p = 0.999) among monthly SAH admissions, although they did suggest a significant reduction in these outcomes (in-hospital mortality, OR = 0.89, p < 0.001; unfavorable discharges, OR = 0.88, p < 0.001) among teaching hospitals as compared with nonteaching hospitals after adjustment for disparities in demographic, treatment, and hospital characteristics.

Conclusions

The discharge disposition among SAH admissions within the NIS was not suggestive of a July effect but did reveal that teaching institutions have significantly lower rates of adverse outcomes when compared with nonteaching hospitals. Note, however, that the origins of this difference related to teaching status remain unclear.

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Yi-Lin Yu and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Ross C. Puffer, David F. Kallmes, Harry J. Cloft and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

In this study the authors determined the patency rate of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) after placement of 1 or more flow diversion devices across the arterial inlet for treatment of proximal internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms, and correlated possible risk factors for OphA occlusion.

Methods

Nineteen consecutive patients were identified (mean age 53.9 years, range 23–74 years, all female) who were treated for 20 ICA aneurysms. In all patients a Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) was placed across the ostium of the OphA while treating the target aneurysm. Flow through the OphA after PED placement was determined by immediate angiography as well as follow-up angiograms (mean 8.7 months), compared with the baseline study. Potential risk factors for OphA occlusion, including age, immediate angiographic flow through the ophthalmic branch, status of flow within the aneurysm after placement of PEDs, whether the ophthalmic branch originated from the aneurysm dome, and number of PEDs placed across the ophthalmic branch inlet were correlated with patency rate.

Results

Patients were treated with 1–3 PEDs (3 aneurysms treated with placement of 1 PED, 12 with 2 PEDs, and 5 with 3 PEDs). In 17 (85%) of 20 treated aneurysms, no changes in the OphA flow were noted immediately after placement of the device. Two (10%) of 20 patients had delayed antegrade filling immediately following PED placement and 1 patient (5%) had retrograde flow from collaterals to the OphA immediately after placement of the device. One patient (5%) experienced delayed asymptomatic ICA occlusion; this patient was excluded from analysis at follow-up. At follow-up the OphA remained patent with normal antegrade flow in 13 (68%) of 19 patients, patent but with slow antegrade flow in 2 patients (11%), and was occluded in 4 patients (21%). No visual changes or clinical symptoms developed in patients with OphA flow compromise. The mean number of PEDs in the patients with occluded OphAs or change in flow at angiographic follow-up was 2.4 (SEM 0.2) compared with 1.9 (SEM 0.18) in the patients with no change in OphA flow (p = 0.09). There was no significant difference between the patients with occluded OphAs compared with nonoccluded branches based on patient age, immediate angiographic flow through the ophthalmic branch, status of flow through the aneurysm after placement of PEDs, whether the ophthalmic branch originated from the aneurysm dome, or number of PEDs placed across the ophthalmic branch inlet.

Conclusions

Approximately one-quarter of OphAs will undergo proximal thrombosis when covered with flow diversion devices. Even though these events were well-tolerated clinically, our findings suggest that coverage of branch arteries that have adequate collateral circulation may lead to spontaneous occlusion of those branches.