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Christian Stapf, Jay P. Mohr, John Pile-Spellman, Robert A. Solomon, Ralph L. Sacco and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

The epidemiology and natural history of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains incompletely elucidated. Several factors are responsible. With regard to the incidence and prevalence of AVMs, the results of prior studies have suffered because of the retrospective design, the use of nonspecific ICD-9 codes, and a focus on small genetically isolated populations. Recent data from the New York Islands AVM Hemorrhage Study, an ongoing, prospective, population-based survey determining the incidence of AVM-related hemorrhage and the associated rates of morbidity and mortality in a zip code–defined population of 10 million people, suggests that the AVM detection rate is 1.21/100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–1.42) and the incidence of AVM-hemorrhage is 0.42/100,000 person-years (95% CI 0.32–0.55). Contemporaneous data from the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study, a prospective, longitudinal population-based study of nearly 150,000 patients in which the focus is to define the incidence of stroke, suggest the crude incidence for first-ever AVM-related hemorrhage to be 0.55/100,000 person-years (95% CI 0.11–1.61). Efforts are ongoing to study the natural history of both ruptured and unruptured AVMs in these datasets to examine the relevance of prior studies of patients selected for conservative follow up in Finland. In addition, data are being gathered to determine whether risk factors for future hemorrhage, which have previously been established in small case series, are valid when applied to whole populations. Together, these data should help inform therapeutic decisionmaking.

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William J. Mack, Ryan G. King, Andrew F. Ducruet, Kurt Kreiter, J Mocco, Ahmed Maghoub, Stephan Mayer and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) is an important consequence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) that often results in decreased cerebral perfusion and secondary clinical decline. No definitive guidelines exist regarding methods and techniques for ICP management following aneurysm rupture. The authors describe monitoring practices and outcome data in 621 patients with aneurysmal SAH admitted to their neurological intensive care unit during an 8-year period (1996–2003).

Methods

A fiberoptic catheter tip probe or external ventricular drain (EVD) was used to record ICP values. The percentage of monitored patients varied, as expected, according to admission Hunt and Hess grade (p < 0.0001). Intracranial pressure monitoring devices were used in 27 (10%) of 264 Grade I to II patients, 72 (38%) of 189 Grade III patients, and 134 (80%) of 168 Grade IV to V patients. There was a strong propensity to favor transduced ventricular drains over parenchymal fiberoptic bolts, with the former used in 221 (95%) of 233 cases. This tendency was particularly strong in the poor-grade cohort, in which EVDs were placed in 99% of monitored individuals. The rates of cerebrospinal fluid infection in patients in whom ICP probes (0%) and ventricular drains (12%) were placed accorded with those in the literature.

Conclusions

Following aneurysmal SAH, ICP monitoring prevalence and techniques differ with respect to admission Hunt and Hess grade and are associated with the patient's functional status at discharge.

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E. Sander Connolly Jr.

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Christopher P. Kellner, Raqeeb M. Haque, Philip M. Meyers, Sean D. Lavine, E. Sander Connolly Jr. and Robert A. Solomon

Object

Complex aneurysms of the basilar artery (BA) apex can be successfully treated using surgical occlusion of the proximal BA. Since the introduction of the Guglielmi detachable coil in 1991, the focus on treating BA aneurysms has been on using endovascular techniques. Outcomes with endovascular techniques have been less than optimal for large and complex aneurysms. The authors therefore report on their current 22-year experience with surgical BA occlusion for complex BA aneurysms and long-term outcome.

Methods

Fifteen patients underwent surgical BA occlusion at Columbia University Medical Center for complex basilar apex aneurysms between 1987 and 2009. The clinical records of each patient were reviewed for details of presentation, hospital course, operative intervention, and outcome.

Results

Postoperatively, all patient encounters were recorded at discharge, at the 1-month and 1-year follow-up evaluations, and at long-term outcome. Twelve (80%) of 15 patients experienced no new postoperative neurological deficits. Three patients presenting with severe neurological impairment (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score > 3) made excellent recoveries (mRS Scores 1–2) at long-term follow-up. One patient died, 1 suffered a stroke during the postoperative angiogram which resulted in hemiparesis, and 1 suffered internuclear ophthalmoplegia which resolved by the 1-month follow-up. Long-term follow-up occurred at an average of 3 ± 4.5 years, ranging from 2 months (for a recently treated patient) to 18 years. The average mRS score at long-term follow-up was 1 ± 1.5. No patient experienced postoperative hemorrhage, rebleeding, or delayed neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

Surgical occlusion of the BA is an effective treatment option offering a high rate of angiographic cure in a single procedure for patients with complex BA aneurysms. The ability to surgically perform point occlusion of the BA without impairment of brainstem perforators, while maintaining collateral blood flow to the posterior circulation branch vessels, may provide an advantage compared with endovascular treatments.

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Bryan A. Lieber, Geoffrey Appelboom, Blake E. Taylor, Franklin D. Lowy, Eliza M. Bruce, Adam M. Sonabend, Christopher Kellner, E. Sander Connolly Jr. and Jeffrey N. Bruce

OBJECT

Preoperative corticosteroids and chemotherapy are frequently prescribed for patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery but may pose a risk of postoperative infection. Postoperative surgical-site infections (SSIs) have significant morbidity and mortality, dramatically increase the length and cost of hospitalization, and are a major cause of 30-day readmission. In patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery, there is a lack of data on the role of patient-specific risk factors in the development of SSIs. The authors of this study sought to determine whether chemotherapy and prolonged steroid use before surgery increase the risk of an SSI at postoperative Day 30.

METHODS

Using the national prospectively collected American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) database for 2006–2012, the authors calculated the rates of superficial, deep-incisional, and organ-space SSIs at postoperative Day 30 for neurosurgery patients who had undergone chemotherapy or had significant steroid use within 30 days before undergoing cranial surgery. Trauma patients, patients younger than 18 years, and patients with a preoperative infection were excluded. Univariate analysis was performed for 25 variables considered risk factors for superficial and organ-space SSIs. To identify independent predictors of SSIs, the authors then conducted a multivariate analysis in which they controlled for duration of operation, wound class, white blood cell count, and other potential confounders that were significant on the univariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 8215 patients who had undergone cranial surgery were identified. There were 158 SSIs at 30 days (frequency 1.92%), of which 52 were superficial, 27 were deep-incisional, and 79 were organ-space infections. Preoperative chemotherapy was an independent predictor of organ-space SSIs in the multivariate model (OR 5.20, 95% CI 2.33–11.62, p < 0.0001), as was corticosteroid use (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.03–3.37, p = 0.04), but neither was a predictor of superficial or deep-incisional SSIs. Other independent predictors of organ-space SSIs were longer duration of operation (OR 1.16), wound class of ≥ 2 (clean-contaminated and further contaminated) (OR 3.17), and morbid obesity (body mass index ≥ 40 kg/m2) (OR 3.05). Among superficial SSIs, wound class of 3 (contaminated) (OR 6.89), operative duration (OR 1.13), and infratentorial surgical approach (OR 2.20) were predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative chemotherapy and corticosteroid use are independent predictors of organ-space SSIs, even when data are controlled for leukopenia. This indicates that the disease process in organ-space SSIs may differ from that in superficial SSIs. In effect, this study provides one of the largest analyses of risk factors for SSIs after cranial surgery. The results suggest that, in certain circumstances, modulation of preoperative chemotherapy or steroid regimens may reduce the risk of organ-space SSIs and should be considered in the preoperative care of this population. Future studies are needed to determine optimal timing and dosing of these medications.

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Simon G. Heuts, Samuel S. Bruce, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary L. Hickman, Christopher P. Kellner, Eric S. Sussman, Michael M. McDowell, Rachel A. Bruce and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Large intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), compounded by perihematomal edema, can produce severe elevations of intracranial pressure (ICP). Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) with or without clot evacuation has been considered a part of the armamentarium of treatment options for these patients. The authors sought to assess the preliminary utility of DHC without evacuation for ICH in patients with supratentorial, dominant-sided lesions.

Methods

From September 2009 to May 2012, patients with ICH who were admitted to the neurological ICU at Columbia University Medical Center were prospectively enrolled in that institution's ICH Outcomes Project (ICHOP). Five patients with spontaneous supratentorial dominant-sided ICH underwent DHC without clot evacuation for recalcitrant elevated ICP. Data pertaining to the patients' characteristics and outcomes of treatment were prospectively collected.

Results

The patients' median age was 43 years (range 30–55 years) and the ICH etiology was hypertension in 4 of 5 patients, and systemic lupus erythematosus vasculitis in 1 patient. On admission, the median Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 7 (range 5–9). The median ICH volume was 53 cm3 (range 28–79 cm3), and the median midline shift was 7.6 mm (range 3.0–11.3 mm). One day after surgery, the median decrease in midline shift was 2.7 mm (range 1.5–4.6 mm), and the median change in GCS score was +1 (range −3 to +5). At discharge, all patients were still alive, and the median GCS score was 10 (range 9–11), the median modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score was 5 (range 5–5), and the median NIHSS (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale) score was 22 (range 17–27). Six months after hemorrhage, 1 patient had died, 2 were functionally dependent (mRS Score 4–5), and 2 were functionally independent (mRS Score 0–3). Outcomes for the patients treated with DHC were good compared with 1) outcomes for all patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH admitted during the same period (n = 144) and 2) outcomes for matched patients (dominant ICH, GCS Score 5–9, ICH volume 28–79 cm3, age < 60 years) whose cases were managed nonoperatively (n = 5).

Conclusions

Decompressive hemicraniectomy without clot evacuation appears feasible in patients with large ICH and deserves further investigation, preferably in a randomized controlled setting.

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Brad E. Zacharia, Kerry A. Vaughan, Zachary L. Hickman, Samuel S. Bruce, Amanda M. Carpenter, Nils H. Petersen, Stacie Deiner, Neeraj Badjatia and E. Sander Connolly Jr

Object

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is frequently complicated by acute hydrocephalus, necessitating emergency CSF diversion with a subset of patients, ultimately requiring long-term treatment via placement of permanent ventricular shunts. It is unclear what factors may predict the need for ventricular shunt placement in this patient population.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a prospective database (ICH Outcomes Project) containing patients with nontraumatic ICH admitted to the neurological ICU at Columbia University Medical Center between January 2009 and September 2011. A multiple logistic regression model was developed to identify independent predictors of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after ICH. The following variables were included: patient age, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, temporal horn diameter on admission CT imaging, bicaudate index, admission ICH volume and location, intraventricular hemorrhage volume, Graeb score, LeRoux score, third or fourth ventricle hemorrhage, and intracranial pressure (ICP) and ventriculitis during hospital stay.

Results

Of 210 patients prospectively enrolled in the ICH Outcomes Project, 64 required emergency CSF diversion via placement of an external ventricular drain and were included in the final cohort. Thirteen of these patients underwent permanent ventricular CSF shunting prior to discharge. In univariate analysis, only thalamic hemorrhage and elevated ICP were significantly associated with the requirement for permanent CSF diversion, with p values of 0.008 and 0.033, respectively. Each remained significant in a multiple logistic regression model in which both variables were present.

Conclusions

Of patients with ICH requiring emergency CSF diversion, those with persistently elevated ICP and thalamic location of their hemorrhage are at increased odds of developing persistent hydrocephalus, necessitating permanent ventricular shunt placement. These factors may assist in predicting which patients will require permanent CSF diversion and could ultimately lead to improvements in the management of this disorder and the outcome in patients with ICH.

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Richard C. E. Anderson, Michael M. McDowell, Christopher P. Kellner, Geoffrey Appelboom, Samuel S. Bruce, Ivan S. Kotchetkov, Raqeeb Haque, Neil A. Feldstein, E. Sander Connolly Jr., Robert A. Solomon, Philip M. Meyers and Sean D. Lavine

Object

Conventional cerebral angiography and treatment for ruptured arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in children are often performed in a delayed fashion. In adults, current literature suggests that AVM-associated aneurysms may be more likely to hemorrhage than isolated AVMs, which often leads to earlier angiography and endovascular treatment of associated aneurysms. The nature of AVM-associated aneurysms in the pediatric population is virtually unknown. In this report, the authors investigate the relationship of associated aneurysms in a large group of children with AVMs.

Methods

Seventy-seven pediatric patients (≤ 21 years old) with AVMs were treated at the Columbia University Medical Center between 1991 and 2010. Medical records and imaging studies were retrospectively reviewed, and associated aneurysms were classified as arterial, intranidal, or venous in location. Clinical presentation and outcome variables were compared between children with and without AVM-associated aneurysms.

Results

A total of 30 AVM-associated aneurysms were found in 22 children (29% incidence). Eleven were arterial, 9 intranidal, and 10 were venous in location. There was no significant difference in the rate of hemorrhage (p = 0.91) between children with isolated AVMs (35 of 55 [64%]) and children with AVM-associated aneurysms (13 of 22 [59%]). However, of the 11 children with AVM-associated aneurysms in an arterial location, 10 presented with hemorrhage (91%). An association with hemorrhage was significant in univariate analysis (p = 0.045) but not in multivariate analysis (p = 0.37).

Conclusions

Associated aneurysms are present in nearly a third of children with AVMs, and when arterially located, are more likely to present with hemorrhage. These data suggest that early angiography with endovascular treatment of arterial-based aneurysms in children with AVMs may be indicated.

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Ryan E. Radwanski, Brandon R. Christophe, Josephine U. Pucci, Moises A. Martinez, Michael Rothbaum, Emilia Bagiella, Franklin D. Lowy, Jared Knopman and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative surgical site infections (SSIs) in neurosurgical patients carry a significant risk of increased morbidity and mortality. With SSIs accounting for approximately 20% of nosocomial infections and costing approximately $1.6 billion USD annually, there is a need for additional prophylaxis to improve current standards of care. Topical vancomycin is increasingly utilized in instrumented spinal and cardiothoracic procedures, where it has been shown to reduce the risk of SSIs. A randomized controlled trial assessing its efficacy in the general neurosurgical population is currently underway. Here, the authors report their initial impressions of topical vancomycin safety among patients enrolled during the 1st year of the trial.

METHODS

This prospective, multicenter, patient-blinded, randomized controlled trial will enroll 2632 patients over 5 years. Here, the authors report the incidence of adverse events, the degree of systemic vancomycin absorption in treated patients, and pattern changes of antibiotic-resistant profiles of Staphylococcus aureus flora among patients enrolled during the 1st year.

RESULTS

The topical vancomycin treatment group comprised 257 patients (514 total enrolled patients), of whom 2 exhibited weakly positive serum levels of vancomycin (> 3.0 mg/dl). S. aureus was detected preoperatively in the anterior nares of 35 (18.1%) patients and the skin near the surgical site of 9 (4.7%). Colonization in the nares remained for many patients (71.4%) through postoperative day 30. The authors found a significant association between preoperative S. aureus colonization and postoperative colonization. Seven methicillin-resistant isolates were detected among 6 different patients. Two isolates were detected preoperatively, and 5 were de novo postoperative colonization. No adverse responses to treatment have been reported to date.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ data indicate that the use of topical vancomycin is safe with no significant adverse effects and minimal systemic absorption, and no development of vancomycin-resistant microorganisms.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02284126 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Brian Y. Hwang, Samuel S. Bruce, Geoffrey Appelboom, Matthew A. Piazza, Amanda M. Carpenter, Paul R. Gigante, Christopher P. Kellner, Andrew F. Ducruet, Michael A. Kellner, Rajeev Deb-Sen, Kerry A. Vaughan, Philip M. Meyers and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) associated with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an independent predictor of poor outcome. Clinical methods for evaluating IVH, however, are not well established. This study sought to determine the best IVH grading scale by evaluating the predictive accuracies of IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores in an independent cohort of ICH patients with IVH. Subacute IVH dynamics as well as the impact of external ventricular drain (EVD) placement on IVH and outcome were also investigated.

Methods

A consecutive cohort of 142 primary ICH patients with IVH was admitted to Columbia University Medical Center between February 2009 and February 2011. Baseline demographics, clinical presentation, and hospital course were prospectively recorded. Admission CT scans performed within 24 hours of onset were reviewed for ICH location, hematoma volume, and presence of IVH. Intraventricular hemorrhage was categorized according to IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores. For each patient, the last scan performed within 6 days of ictus was similarly evaluated. Outcomes at discharge were assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the predictive accuracies of the grading scales for poor outcome (mRS score ≥ 3).

Results

Seventy-three primary ICH patients (51%) had IVH. Median admission IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores were 13, 6, and 8, respectively. Median IVH, Graeb and LeRoux scores decreased to 9 (p = 0.005), 4 (p = 0.002), and 4 (p = 0.003), respectively, within 6 days of ictus. Poor outcome was noted in 55 patients (75%). Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve were similar among the IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores (0.745, 0.743, and 0.744, respectively) and within 6 days postictus (0.765, 0.722, 0.723, respectively). Moreover, the IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores had similar maximum Youden Indices both at admission (0.515 vs 0.477 vs 0.440, respectively) and within 6 days postictus (0.515 vs 0.339 vs 0.365, respectively). Patients who received EVDs had higher mean IVH volumes (23 ± 26 ml vs 9 ± 11 ml, p = 0.003) and increased incidence of Glasgow Coma Scale scores < 8 (67% vs 38%, p = 0.015) and hydrocephalus (82% vs 50%, p = 0.004) at admission but had similar outcome as those who did not receive an EVD.

Conclusions

The IVH, Graeb, and LeRoux scores predict outcome well with similarly good accuracy in ICH patients with IVH when assessed at admission and within 6 days after hemorrhage. Therefore, any of one of the scores would be equally useful for assessing IVH severity and risk-stratifying ICH patients with regard to outcome. These results suggest that EVD placement may be beneficial for patients with severe IVH, who have particularly poor prognosis at admission, but a randomized clinical trial is needed to conclusively demonstrate its therapeutic value.