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Anna Piippo, Aki Laakso, Karri Seppä, Jaakko Rinne, Juha E. Jääskeläinen, Juha Hernesniemi and Mika Niemelä

Object

The aim of this study was to assess the early and long-term excess mortality in patients with intracranial dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) compared with a matched general Finnish population in an unselected, population-based series.

Methods

The authors identified 227 patients with DAVFs admitted to 2 of the 5 Departments of Neurosurgery in Finland—Helsinki and Kuopio University Hospitals—between 1944 and 2006. All patients were followed until death or the end of 2009. Long-term excess mortality was estimated using the relative survival ratio compared with the general Finnish population matched by age, sex, and calendar year.

Results

The median follow-up period was 10 years (range 0–44 years). Two-thirds (67%) of the DAVFs were located in the region of transverse and sigmoid sinuses. Cortical venous drainage (CVD) was present in 28% of the DAVFs (18% transverse and sigmoid sinus, 42% others). Of the 61 deaths counted, 11 (18%) were during the first 12 months and were mainly caused by treatment complications (5 of 11, 45%). The 1-year survivors presenting with hemorrhage experienced excess mortality until 7 years from admission. However, DAVFs with CVD were associated with significant, continuous excess mortality. There were more cerebrovascular and cardiovascular deaths in this group of patients than expected in the general Finnish population. Location other than transverse and sigmoid sinuses was also associated with excess mortality.

Conclusions

In the patients with DAVF there was excess mortality during the first 12 months, mainly due to treatment complications. Thereafter, their overall long-term survival became similar to that of the matched general population. However, DAVFs with CVD and those located in regions other than transverse and sigmoid sinuses were associated with marked long-term excess mortality after the first 12 months.

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Elina Reponen, Miikka Korja, Tomi Niemi, Marja Silvasti-Lundell, Juha Hernesniemi and Hanna Tuominen

OBJECT

Patients undergoing craniotomy are routinely assessed preoperatively, yet the role of these assessments in predicting outcome is poorly studied. This study aimed to identify preoperative factors predicting in-hospital outcome after cranial neurosurgery.

METHODS

The study cohort consisted of 418 consecutive adults undergoing elective craniotomy for any intracranial lesion. Apart from the age criteria (≥ 18 years), almost all patients were considered eligible for the study to increase external validity of the results. The studied preoperative assessments included various patient-related data, routine blood tests, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status Classification system, and a local modification of the ASA classification (Helsinki ASA classification). Adverse outcomes were in-hospital mortality, in-hospital systemic or infectious complications, and in-hospital CNS deficits. Resource use was defined as length of stay (LOS) in the intensive care unit and overall LOS in the hospital.

RESULTS

The in-hospital mortality rate was 1.0%. In-hospital systemic or infectious complications and permanent or transient CNS deficits occurred in 6.7% and 11.2% of the patients, respectively. Advanced age (≥ 60–65 years), elevated C-reactive protein level (> 3 mg/L), and high Helsinki ASA score (Class 4) were associated with in-hospital systemic and infectious complications, and a combination of these could identify one-fourth of the patients with postoperative complications. Moreover, this combination of preoperative assessment parameters was significantly associated with increased resource use.

CONCLUSIONS

In this first prospective and unselected cohort study of outcome after elective craniotomy, simple preoperative assessments identified patients with a high risk of in-hospital systemic or infectious complications as well as extended resource use. Presented risk assessment methods may be widely applicable, also in low-volume centers, as they are based on composite predictors and outcome events.

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Rahul Raj, Era D. Mikkonen, Jari Siironen, Juha Hernesniemi, Jaakko Lappalainen and Markus B. Skrifvars

OBJECT

Experimental studies have shown numerous neuroprotective properties of alcohol (“ethanol”) after TBI, but clinical studies have provided conflicting results. The authors aimed to assess the relationship between positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on hospital admission and mortality after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHODS

The authors searched 8 databases for observational studies reported between January 1, 1990, and October 7, 2013, and investigated the effect of BAC on mortality after moderate to severe TBI. Reviews of each study were conducted, and data were extracted according to the MOOSE and PRISMA guidelines. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. The Mantel-Haenszel fixed effect methodology was used to generate pooled estimates. Heterogeneity was dealt with by multiple sensitivity analyses.

RESULTS

Eleven studies with a total of 95,941 patients (42% BAC positive and 58% BAC negative) were identified for the primary analysis (overall mortality 12%). Primary analysis showed a significantly lower risk of death for BAC-positive patients compared with BAC-negative patients (crude mortality 11.0% vs 12.3%, pooled OR 0.84 [95% CI 0.81–0.88]), although flawed by heterogeneity (I2 = 68%). Multiple sensitivity analyses, including 55,949 and 51,772 patients, yielded similar results to the primary analysis (crude mortality 12.2% vs 14.0%, pooled OR 0.87 [95% CI 0.83–0.92] and crude mortality 8.7% vs 10.7%, pooled OR 0.78 [95% CI 0.74–0.83]) but with good study homogeneity (I2 = 36% and 14%).

CONCLUSIONS

Positive BAC was significantly associated with lower mortality rates in moderate to severe TBI. Whether this observation is due to selection bias or neuroprotective effects of alcohol remains unknown. Future prospective studies adjusting for TBI heterogeneity is advocated to establish the potential favorable effects of alcohol on outcome after TBI.

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Torstein R. Meling, Angelika Sorteberg, Søren J. Bakke, Haldor Slettebø, Juha Hernesniemi and Wilhelm Sorteberg

Object

The object of this study was to evaluate cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured blood blister–like aneurysms (BBAs) of the internal carotid artery (ICA) trunk.

Methods

The authors performed a single-center, retrospective study. Data analyzed were patient age, sex, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, time from SAH to hospitalization, aneurysm size and location, collateral capacity of the circle of Willis, time from hospitalization to aneurysm repair, type of aneurysm repair, complications, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at follow-up.

Results

A total of 211 patients suffered SAH from ICA aneurysms. Of these, 14 patients (6.6%) had ICA trunk BBAs; 6 men and 8 women. The median age was 47.8 years (range 29.9–67.7 years). The Hunt and Hess grade was IV or V in 7 cases, and SAH was Fisher Grade 3 + 4 in 6. All aneurysms were small (< 1 cm), without relation to vessel bifurcations, and usually located anteromedially on the ICA trunk. Three patients were treated with coil placement and 11 with clip placement. Of the 7 patients in whom the ICA was preserved, only 1 had poor outcome (GOS Score 2). In contrast, cerebral infarcts developed in all patients treated with ICA sacrifice, directly postoperatively in 2 and after delay in 5. Six patients died, 1 survived in poor condition (GOS Score 3; p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Internal carotid BBAs are rare, small, and difficult to treat endovascularly, with only 2 of 14 patients successfully treated with coil placement. The BBAs rupture easily during surgery (ruptured in 6 of 11 surgical cases). Intraoperative aneurysm rupture invariably led to ICA trap ligation. Sacrifice of the ICA within 48 hours of an SAH led to very poor outcome, even in patients with adequate collateral capacity on preoperative angiograms, probably because of vasospasm-induced compromise of the cerebral collaterals.

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Päivi Koroknay-Pál, Hanna Lehto, Mika Niemelä, Riku Kivisaari and Juha Hernesniemi

Object

Population-based data on pediatric patients with aneurysms are limited. The aim of this study is to clarify the characteristics and long-term outcomes of pediatric patients with aneurysms.

Methods

All pediatric patients (≤ 18 years old) with aneurysms among the 8996 aneurysm patients treated at the Department of Neurosurgery in Helsinki from 1937 to 2009 were followed from admission to the end of 2010.

Results

There were 114 pediatric patients with 130 total aneurysms during the study period. The mean patient age was 14.5 years (range 3 months to 18 years). The male:female ratio was 3:2. Eighty-nine patients (78%) presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The majority of the aneurysms (116 [89%]) were in the anterior circulation, and the most common location was the internal carotid artery bifurcation (36 [28%]). The average aneurysm diameter was 11 mm (range 2–55 mm) with 16 giant aneurysms (12%). Eighty aneurysms (62%) were treated microsurgically, and 37 (28%) were treated conservatively due to poor medical and neurological status of the patient or due to technical reasons during the early years of the patient series. No connective tissue disorders common to pediatric aneurysm patients were diagnosed in this series, with the exception of 1 patient with tuberous sclerosis complex. The mean follow-up duration was 24.8 years (range 0–55.8 years). At the end of follow-up, 71 patients (62%) had a good outcome, 3 (3%) were dependent, and 40 (35%) had died. Twenty-seven deaths (68%) were assessed to be aneurysm-related. Factors correlating with a favorable long-term outcome were good neurological condition of the patient on admission, aneurysm location in the anterior circulation, complete aneurysm closure, and absence of vasospasm. Six patients developed symptomatic de novo aneurysms after a median of 25 years (range 11–37 years). Fourteen patients (12%) had a family history of aneurysms. There was no increased incidence for cardiovascular diseases in long-term follow-up.

Conclusions

Most aneurysms were ruptured and of medium size. Internal carotid artery bifurcation was the most frequent location of the aneurysms. There was a male predominance of pediatric patients with aneurysms. Most patients experienced good recovery, with 91% of the long-term survivors living at home independently without assistance and meaningfully employed. Altogether, almost a third of these patients finished high school and one-fifth had a college or university degree. Pediatric patients had a tendency to develop de novo aneurysms.

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Leena Kivipelto, Mika Niemelä, Torstein Meling, Martin Lehecka, Hanna Lehto and Juha Hernesniemi

Object

The object of this study was to describe the authors' institutional experience in the treatment of complex middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms necessitating bypass and vessel sacrifice.

Methods

Cases in which patients with MCA aneurysms were treated with a combination of bypass and parent artery sacrifice were reviewed retrospectively.

Results

The authors identified 24 patients (mean age 46 years) who were treated with bypass and parent artery sacrifice. The aneurysms were located in the M1 segment in 7 patients, MCA bifurcation in 8, and more distally in 9. The mean aneurysm diameter was 30 mm (range 7–60 mm, median 26 mm). There were 8 saccular and 16 fusiform aneurysms.

Twenty-one extracranial-intracranial and 4 intracranial-intracranial bypasses were performed. Partial or total trapping (only) of the parent artery was performed in 17 cases, trapping with resection of aneurysm in 3, and aneurysm clipping with sacrifice of an M2 branch in 4.

The mean follow-up period was 27 months. The aneurysm obliteration rate was 100%. No recanalization of the aneurysms was detected during follow-up.

There was 1 perioperative death (4% mortality rate) and 6 cerebrovascular accidents, causing permanent morbidity in 5 patients. The median modified Rankin Scale score of patients with an M1 aneurysm increased from 0 preoperatively to 2 at latest follow-up, while the score was unchanged in other patients. Most of the permanent deficits were associated with M1 aneurysms. Twenty-one patients (88%) had good outcome as defined by a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5.

Conclusions

Bypass in combination with parent vessel occlusion is a useful technique with acceptable frequencies of morbidity and mortality for complex MCA aneurysms when conventional surgical or endovascular techniques are not feasible. The location of the aneurysm should be considered when planning the type of bypass and the site of vessel occlusion. Flow alteration by partial trapping may be preferable to total trapping for the M1 aneurysms.

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Juri Kivelev, Christian N. Ramsey, Reza Dashti, Matti Porras, Olli Tyyninen and Juha Hernesniemi

✓Among cavernomas of the central nervous system, spinal ones are rare. The true incidence of spinal cavernomas is unclear, but with widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging the number of cases is increasing. Furthermore, cav-ernomas represent only 5–12% of all vascular anomalies of the spinal cord, with a mere 3% reported to be intradural and intramedullary in location. Cervical spine intradural extramedullary cavernomas are very seldom seen, and only 4 cases have been reported in world literature previously. In this report, a unique case of an intradural extramedullary spinal cavernoma was surgically treated in a patient who presented only with an intramedullary hemorrhage.

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Jari Siironen, Matti Porras, Joona Varis, Kristiina Poussa, Juha Hernesniemi and Seppo Juvela

Object

Identifying ischemic lesions after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is important because the appearance of these lesions on follow-up imaging correlates with a poor outcome. The effect of ischemic lesions seen on computed tomography (CT) scans during the first days of treatment remains unknown, however.

Methods

In 156 patients with SAH, clinical course and outcome, as well as the appearance of ischemic lesions on serial CT scans, were prospectively monitored for 3 months. At 3 months after SAH, magnetic resonance imaging was performed to detect permanent lesions that had not been visible on CT.

Results

Of the 53 patients with no lesions on any of the follow-up CT scans, four (8%) had a poor outcome. Of the 52 patients with a new hypodense lesion on the first postoperative day CT, 23 (44%) had a poor outcome. Among the remaining 51 patients with a lesion appearing later than the first postoperative morning, 10 (20%) had a poor outcome (p < 0.001). After adjusting for patient age; clinical condition on admission; amounts of subarachnoid, intracerebral, and intraventricular blood; and plasma glucose and D-dimer levels, a hypodense lesion on CT on the first postoperative morning was an independent predictor of poor outcome after SAH (odds ratio 7.27, 95% confidence interval 1.54–34.37, p < 0.05).

Conclusions

A new hypodense lesion on early postoperative CT seems to be an independent risk factor for poor outcome after SAH, and this early lesion development may be more detrimental to clinical outcome than a later lesion occurrence.

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Sydney J. Peerless, Juha A. Hernesniemi, Frederick B. Gutman and Charles G. Drake

✓ The authors present a series of 1767 patients with aneurysms of the vertebrobasilar circulation, most of whom were operated on 14 days or more following their last subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Since 1970, 206 patients with vertebrobasilar aneurysms have been surgically treated within 7 days after their last SAH (day of SAH = Day 0). Of patients with a good preoperative grade (Botterell Grade 1 or 2), a good or excellent outcome was obtained in 80% during the first postsurgical month, irrespective of the timing of surgery. All except one of the Grade 5 patients died, and 70% of the Grade 4 patients were significantly disabled or dead. The overall operative mortality rate was the same whether surgery took place in the 1st week after SAH or was delayed. The frequency of rupture of the aneurysm during early surgery was not higher than during late surgery. Thirteen percent of patients developed a delayed ischemic neurological deficit as a consequence of reactive arterial narrowing (vasospasm). The authors recommend early surgery for patients with a good preoperative grade, whose aneurysm does not present a particular technical difficulty because of size, configuration, or location, and occasionally in patients whose lives appear to be in jeopardy because of recurrent hemorrhage.

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Jari Siironen, Seppo Juvela, Joona Varis, Matti Porras, Kristiina Poussa, Sorella Ilveskero, Juha Hernesniemi and Riitta Lassila

Object. From the moment an intracranial aneurysm ruptures, cerebral blood flow is impaired, and this impairment mainly determines the outcome in patients who survive after the initial bleeding. The exact mechanism of impairment is unknown, but activation of coagulation and fibrinolysis correlate with clinical condition and outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The purpose of this study was to determine whether enoxaparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin, which is a well-known anticoagulating agent, has any effect on the outcome of aneurysmal SAH postoperatively.

Methods. In this randomized, double-blind, single-center clinical trial, 170 patients (85 per group) with aneurysmal SAH were randomly assigned to receive either enoxaparin (40 mg subcutaneously once daily) or a placebo, starting within 24 hours after occlusion of the aneurysm and continuing for 10 days. Analysis was done on an intention-to-treat basis. Outcome was assessed at 3 months on both the Glasgow Outcome and modified Rankin Scales. Patients were eligible for the study if surgery was performed within 48 hours post-SAH, and no intracerebral hemorrhage was larger than 20 mm in diameter on the first postoperative computerized tomography scan.

At 3 months, there were no significant differences in outcome by treatment group. Of the 170 patients, 11 (6%) died, and only 95 (56%) had a good outcome. Principal causes of unfavorable outcome were poor initial condition, delayed cerebral ischemia, and surgical complications. There were four patients with additional intracranial bleeding in the group receiving enoxaparin. The bleeding was not necessarily associated with the treatment itself, nor did it require treatment, and there were no such patients in the placebo group.

Conclusions. Enoxaparin seemed to have no effect on the outcome of aneurysmal SAH in patients who had already received routine nimodipine and who had received triple-H therapy when needed. Routine use of low-molecular-weight heparin should be avoided during the early postoperative period in patients with SAH, because this agent seems to increase intracranial bleeding complications slightly, with no beneficial effect on neurological outcome.