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Jafar J. Jafar, Walter S. Tan and Robert M. Crowell

✓ A patient harboring a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) underwent angiography in an attempt to embolize the AVM. During catheterization (and prior to embolization) he became hemiplegic and aphasia Angiography revealed a complete middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion by an embolus. The patient was treated with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), a thrombolytic agent. Restoration of MCA flow was achieved, and the patient recovered.

Immediately after MCA embolus, t-PA infusion may lead to thrombolysis and neurological recovery. The decision-making process as well as the risks associated with the use of t-PA are discussed.

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Robert M. Crowell, Umberto DeGirolami and William H. Sweet

✓ The coincidence of arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and primary brain neoplasm is rare. We are reporting a case of oligodendroglioma within an arteriovenous malformation.

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David M. Frim, Bonnie Padwa, Deidre Buckley, Robert M. Crowell and Christopher S. Ogilvy

✓ The location of the carotid artery bifurcation and the distance atherosclerotic disease extends distally in the internal carotid artery (ICA) are two factors that contribute to the technical difficulty of carotid endarterectomy. When the bifurcation is high (above C-3) or the disease extends distally, standard approaches may not provide adequate exposure for dissection of plaque or for arteriotomy repair. A simple method of mandibular subluxation is described for added exposure of the distal carotid artery. The criteria for use of this method include: a carotid bifurcation at or above C-2; disease extending to within 2 cm of the skull base; and a small-caliber distal ICA lumen with the expectation of a patch graft extending close to the skull base. In dentulous patients, the mandible is subluxed by attaching an intradental wire from the ipsilateral mandibular bicuspid to an intradental wire around the contralateral maxillary bicuspid. In edentulous patients, a wire is placed around the ipsilateral mandible and secured to a wire placed through the anterior nasal spine. The entire preoperative subluxation requires 10 to 15 minutes under anesthesia and an additional 1 to 2 minutes postoperatively to remove the wires. A single skin suture and an absorbable intraoral suture were placed in some edentulous patients.

This technique has been evaluated over a 15-month reference period during which 115 carotid endarterectomies were performed. The criteria stated above were met in seven cases (six patients, 6%) and jaw subluxation was performed preoperatively. An additional 1 to 2 cm of distal exposure was obtained by using this technique and endarterectomy proceeded without complication. A slight “shift” of the standard anatomical landmarks occurred due to the movement of the mandible, which was easily recognized. There were no significant postoperative complaints related to the subluxation; specifically, no temporomandibular joint pain, no other postoperative pain, and no tooth damage were encountered. It is concluded that this relatively simple approach to mandibular subluxation provided significant added exposure to the distal ICA without notably increasing operative time. In addition, there was no morbidity and little additional care was needed when compared with other more radical approaches to high carotid artery exposure.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Karl W. Whittaker, Robert M. Crowell and Nicholas T. Zervas

✓ Over the last 30 years, perfluorocarbons (PFCs) have been extensively investigated as oxygen carriers. Early studies indicated that these compounds could be used as blood substitutes or protective agents against ischemia. Adverse characteristics such as instability, short intravascular half-life, and uncertainties concerning possible toxicity precluded wide clinical application. However, advances in PFC technology have led to the development of improved second-generation oxygen carriers that incorporate well-tolerated emulsifiers (egg-yolk phospholipids). The authors review recent developments in this field and consider the potential role of PFCs in future neurosurgical practice. Diagnostic applications could include their use to assess cerebral blood flow, local oxygen tension, and brain metabolism or to achieve enhanced imaging and precise staging of inflammatory, neoplastic, or vascular disease processes by means of computerized tomography, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance studies. Therapeutic applications could include cerebral protection, an adjunctive role in radiotherapy of malignant brain tumors, protection against air embolism, the preservation of organs for transplantation, and ventilatory support in head-injured patients with compromised lung function. In addition, PFCs have been used successfully as a tool in ophthalmic microsurgery and potentially they could fulfill a similar role in microneurosurgery.

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Christopher S. Ogilvy, Bob S. Carter, Stuart Kaplan, Charles Rich and Robert M. Crowell

✓ Temporary vessel occlusion is an effective technique used by microvascular surgeons to facilitate dissection and permanent clipping of cerebral aneurysms; however, several questions remain regarding the overall safety of this technique. To identify technical and patient-specific risk factors for perioperative stroke, the authors examined a series of patients in whom induced hypertension and mild hypothermia and intravenous mannitol administration were used as protection during temporary vessel occlusion for aneurysm clipping. The study comprises a nonconcurrent prospective analysis of 132 consecutive aneurysm clippings performed with the aid of temporary vascular occlusion and a specific antiischemic anesthetic protocol at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1991 to 1993. Factors studied included duration of the temporary clip application, number of occlusive episodes, patient age and neurological status, presence of preoperative subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and intraoperative aneurysm rupture (“forced” temporary clipping), as well as whether proximal vessel occlusion or complete aneurysm trapping was used. In a univariate analysis, patient age, intraoperative aneurysm rupture, temporary clipping lasting more than 20 minutes, clipping between the 4th and 10th day after SAH, and multiple clipping episodes were all significantly associated with stroke outcome. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that intraoperative aneurysm rupture (relative risk 5.6, p = 0.02) and a duration of temporary clip application that lasted more than 20 minutes (relative risk 9.4, p = 0.04) were independently associated with stroke outcome. Overall, 5.2% of the patients had postoperative clinical strokes. Based on their findings the authors conclude that temporary clipping is a safe adjunct to aneurysm surgery, particularly when the duration of clipping is short.

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Seiji Hayashi, Daniel G. Nehls, Charles F. Kieck, Juan Vielma, Umberto DeGirolami and Robert M. Crowell

✓ The authors performed a controlled study of induced hypertension therapy for treatment of experimental stroke in unanesthetized monkeys. Ten control and 10 treated animals were subjected to a 4-hour occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) by an implanted tourniquet. Neurological status and local cerebral blood flow (CBF) were monitored serially. Local CBF was determined by hydrogen clearance in and around the elevated 20% to 40% by intravenous infusion of phenylephrine hydrochloride. Neuropathological evaluation was performed after about 2 weeks.

A 4-hour occlusion of the MCA in control animals caused moderate stable neurological deficits, moderate stable decreases in local CBF, and medium-sized infarcts. With induced hypertension, five of 10 treated animals showed neurological improvement, and eight exhibited increased CBF in the ischemic zone. Average infarct size tended to be smaller in the treated group, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. Hemorrhagic infarcts were not observed. In four animals, phenylephrine caused cardiac dysrhythmias and hypotension which were reversed by appropriate measures. In this unanesthetized primate model of moderate experimental stroke, induced hypertension had beneficial effects on neurological status, local CBF, and infarct size without causing hemorrhagic infarction. Induced hypertension may be beneficial for some clinical cases of focal cerebral ischemia.

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Thomas H. Jones, Richard B. Morawetz, Robert M. Crowell, Frank W. Marcoux, Stuart J. FitzGibbon, Umberto DeGirolami and Robert G. Ojemann

✓ An awake-primate model has been developed which permits reversible middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion during physiological monitoring. This method eliminates the ischemia-modifying effects of anesthesia, and permits correlation of neurological function with cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neuropathology. The model was used to assess the brain's tolerance to focal cerebral ischemia. The MCA was occluded for 15 or 30 minutes, 2 to 3 hours, or permanently. Serial monitoring evaluated neurological function, local CBF (hydrogen clearance), and other physiological parameters (blood pressure, blood gases, and intracranial pressure). After 2 weeks, neuropathological evaluation identified infarcts and their relation to blood flow recording sites.

Middle cerebral artery occlusion usually caused substantial decreases in local CBF. Variable reduction in flow correlated directly with the variable severity of deficit. Release of occlusion at up to 3 hours led to clinical improvement. Pathological examination showed microscopic foci of infarction after 15 to 30 minutes of ischemia, moderate to large infarcts after 2 to 3 hours of ischemia, and in most cases large infarcts after permanent MCA occlusion. Local CBF appeared to define thresholds for paralysis and infarction. When local flow dropped below about 23 cc/100 gm/min, reversible paralysis occurred. When local flow fell below 10 to 12 cc/100 gm/min for 2 to 3 hours or below 17 to 18 cc/100 gm/min during permanent occlusion, irreversible local damage was observed.

These studies imply that some cases of acute hemiplegia, with blood flow in the paralysis range, might be improved by surgical revascularization. Studies of local CBF might help identify suitable cases for emergency revascularization.

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Frederick G. Barker II, Christopher S. Ogilvy, John K. Chin, Michael P. Joseph, John Pile-Spellman and Robert M. Crowell

✓ The authors describe a case of carotid-cavernous fistula that was not treatable by the standard interventional neuroradiological techniques of transarterial or transvenous occlusion of the fistula because access was blocked by prior trapping procedures. Access to the venous side of the fistula was gained by means of a transethmoidal transsphenoidal exposure, making it possible to embolize the lesion with coils. The details of this approach are described.