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Adam S. Kanter, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Praveen Mummaneni, Michael Y. Wang and Juan S. Uribe

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Charles A. Middelhof, William G. Loudon, Michael D. Muhonen, Christopher Xavier and Clarence S. Greene Jr.

✓Central nervous system (CNS) aspergillosis remains a daunting diagnosis. This opportunistic mycosis historically carries a mortality rate approaching 100% in immunocompromised patients, with death ensuing within days after the onset of neurological symptoms. From their literature review, the authors concluded that children contracting CNS aspergillosis while undergoing systemic chemotherapy for leukemias represent a particularly unfortunate prognostic group. Antifungal medications prove ineffective for treating CNS aspergillosis in patients immunocompromised because of their chemotherapy regimens. In contrast, withholding chemotherapy to reverse immunosuppression, thereby improving the efficacy of antifungal medications, allows for progression of the primary leukemic disease. The authors present a series of four immunosuppressed patients whose course of treatment for leukemia was complicated by CNS Aspergillus sp. abscesses. Multiple cerebral fungal abscesses developed in two patients and a single cerebral abscess developed in two. All four patients underwent frameless stereotactic resection of the aspergilloma. All children later experienced resolution of their CNS infections and full neurological recovery. At 2- to 4-year follow ups, one patient has died of leukemia and the other three continue to thrive without evidence of recurrent aspergillosis. Given the grave natural history cited in the literature for this disease when medical treatment is instituted alone, the authors stress the crucial role of stereotactic neurosurgery for the intelligent treatment of immunocompromised children suspected of harboring a CNS aspergilloma abscesses. The authors propose that the goal for successful treatment in these patients should be gross-total resection of the abscess, its wall, and its capsule.

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James M. Milburn, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Michael N. Diringer, Thomas K. Pilgram and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

Object. This study was conducted to determine if there is a change in intracranial arterial diameters after papaverine infusion for vasospasm and to determine whether the change occurs in proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries.

Methods. The authors measured arterial diameters retrospectively in all patients who received intraarterial papaverine for treatment of vasospasm between November 1992 and August 1995. Patients who received papaverine in the same session with or following angioplasty were excluded. Measurements were made in a blinded manner with the aid of a magnification loupe at 12 predetermined sites on each angiogram before and after papaverine infusion. Eighty-one treatments in 34 patients were included. Angiograms obtained at the time of presentation with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were examined in 26 of the 34 patients. Nine carotid territories visualized by repeated angiography on the day after infusion were examined to determine the duration of the papaverine effect.

Conclusions. In all treatment groups an increase was found in the average arterial diameters ranging from 2.8 to 73.9%, with a mean increase of 26.5%. Increases in diameter were observed in proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries. The timing of treatments ranged from Day 3 to Day 19 post-SAH, and there was no relationship between timing and arterial responsiveness (r = −0.06). There was a moderately good correlation between the degree of vasospasm in an artery and its responsiveness to papaverine (r = −0.54, −0.66, and −0.66, for proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries, respectively). The effect of papaverine did not persist until the following day in patients in whom repeated angiography was performed.

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Randall T. Higashida, Van V. Halbach, Leslie D. Cahan, Michael Brant-Zawadzki, Stanley Barnwell, Christopher Dowd and Grant B. Hieshima

✓ Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for treatment of intracerebral arterial vasospasm is now being performed in selected cases. Thirty-six vascular territories in 13 patients, ranging in age from 15 to 73 years, have been treated with a new silicone microballoon device. This balloon has allowed mechanical dilatation of segmental and diffuse areas of spastic intracerebral blood vessels less than 1 mm in diameter with return to normal luminal diameter. Follow-up angiography has documented improved cerebral perfusion without return of spasm.

In 10 patients (77%), vasospasm was due to subarachnoid hemorrhage following rupture of an intracranial aneurysm. In three patients (23%), spasm with resultant neurological decline occurred during detachable balloon embolization therapy for treatment of an aneurysm. In each case, the vessel caliber returned to normal size following balloon dilatation. In nine (69%) of the 13 cases, balloon dilatation resulted in improvement of neurological function within minutes to hours following the procedure.

Transluminal angioplasty techniques may offer an alternative form of therapy in the management of symptomatic arterial vasospasm.

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Janice A. Miller, DeWitte T. Cross, Christopher J. Moran, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Janice G. McFarland and Michael N. Diringer

✓ Selective intraarterial infusion of papaverine is used in the treatment of symptomatic cerebral vasospasm. The authors report two episodes of severe thrombocytopenia in a patient that were related to intraarterial administration of papaverine. A 70-year-old man with a right internal carotid artery aneurysm underwent craniotomy and aneurysm clipping. He became lethargic 8 days after the hemorrhage occurred. Cerebral angiography revealed moderate vasospasm. In addition to hypervolemic—hypertensive therapy, the patient was treated on two occasions with intraarterial administration of papaverine. Within 24 hours of both treatments he developed severe thrombocytopenia. On one occasion epistaxis requiring transfusion of blood products occurred. Laboratory data support the diagnosis of immune-mediated papaverine-induced thrombocytopenia. The authors conclude that intraarterial administration of papaverine for treatment of vasospasm can be associated with severe, rapidly reversible thrombocytopenia.

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Christopher R. Honey, A. Jon Stoessl, Joseph K. C. Tsui, Michael Schulzer and Donald B. Calne

Object. The goal of this study was to determine whether unilateral pallidotomy reduces parkinsonian pain.

Methods. Twenty-one patients suffering from Parkinson's disease (PD) were followed prospectively for 1 year after they had undergone a unilateral pallidotomy to assess the procedure's effect on pain related to PD. Pain unrelated to PD was not studied. Patients scored the level of their PD pain on an ordinal scale (0–10 points) preoperatively and 6 weeks and 1 year postoperatively. The results were analyzed using Wilcoxon's paired-ranks test (with Bonferroni correction) and showed a significant reduction in overall pain scores at 6 weeks (p < 0.001) and 1 year (p = 0.001) following pallidotomy. Various types of PD pain are described and their possible pathophysiological mechanisms are presented.

Conclusions. Unilateral pallidotomy significantly reduces pain attributable to Parkinson's disease.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Christopher C. Bradley, Anne Williamson, Jung H. Kim, Michael Westerveld, Robert B. Duckrow and Dennis D. Spencer

Object. The syndrome of medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) may occur in patients in whom magnetic resonance (MR) images demonstrate normal findings. In these patients, there is no evidence of hippocampal sclerosis on neuroimaging, and histopathological examination of the resected hippocampus does not reveal significant neuron loss. In this paper the authors describe the distinct clinical features of this MTLE subtype, referred to as paradoxical temporal lobe epilepsy (PTLE).

Methods. The authors selected 12 consecutive patients with preoperative findings consistent with MTLE in whom MR imaging did not demonstrate any hippocampal abnormality. Onset of hippocampal seizure was confirmed by long-term intracranial monitoring. There were six female and six male patients with a mean age of 32 ± 11 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) at presentation. These patients' seizure histories, available hippocampal volumetric measurements, and hippocampal cell densities in different subfields were reviewed. Sharp electrode recordings from dentate granule cells that had been maintained in hippocampal slices provided a measure of excitation and inhibition in the tissue. We compared these data with those of a cohort of 50 randomly selected patients who underwent anteromedial temporal resection for medial temporal sclerosis (MTS) during the same time period (1987–1999). The durations of follow up (means ± SDs) for the PTLE and MTS groups were 51 ± 59 months and 88 ± 44 months, respectively.

A history of febrile seizure was present less frequently in the PTLE group (8%) than in the MTS group (34%). Other risk factors for epilepsy such as trauma, meningoencephalitis, or perinatal injuries were present more frequently in the PTLE group (50%) than in the MTS cohort (36%). In patients in the PTLE group the first seizure occurred later in life (mean age at seizure onset 14 years in the PTLE group compared with 9 years in the MTS group, p = 0.09). Ten patients (83%) in the PTLE cohort and 23 patients (46%) in the MTLE cohort had secondary generalization of their seizures. Among patients with PTLE, volumetric measurements (five patients) and randomized blinded visual inspection (seven patients) of the bilateral hippocampi revealed no atrophy and no increased T2 signal change on preoperative MR images. All patients with PTLE underwent anteromedial temporal resection (amygdalohippocampectomy, in five patients on the left side and in seven on the right side). Electrophysiological studies of hippocampal slices demonstrated that dentate granule cells from patients with PTLE were significantly less excitable than those from patients with MTS. The mean pyramidal cell loss in the CA1 subfield in patients in the PTLE group was 20% (range 0–59%) and that in patients in the MTS group was 75% (range 41–90%) (p < 0.001). Maximal neuron loss (mean loss 38%) occurred in the CA4 region in six patients with PTLE (end folium sclerosis). At the last follow-up examination, six patients (50%) in the PTLE group were seizure free compared with 38 patients (76%) in the MTS group.

Conclusions. Clinical PTLE is a distinct syndrome with clinical features and surgical outcomes different from those of MTS.

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Anna Terry, Gregory Zipfel, Eric Milner, DeWitte T. Cross III, Christopher J. Moran, Michael N. Diringer, Ralph G. Dacey Jr. and Colin P. Derdeyn


Over the past decade, low-pressure, flow-directed balloons have been replaced by over-the-wire balloons in the treatment of vasospasm induced by subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The authors assess the procedural safety and technical efficacy of these newer devices.


Seventy-five patients who underwent 85 balloon angioplasty procedures for the treatment of SAH-induced vasospasm were identified from a prospective quality-assurance database. Medical records and angiographic reports were reviewed for evidence of procedural complications and technical efficacy.

No vessel rupture or perforation occurred, but thromboembolic complications were noted in four (4.7%) of the 85 procedures. Balloon angioplasty was frequently attempted and successfully accomplished in the distal internal carotid (100%), proximal middle cerebral (94%), vertebral (73%), and basilar (88%) arteries. Severe narrowing was present in 89 proximal anterior cerebral arteries. Angioplasty was attempted in 41 of these vessels and was successful in only 14 (34%). In 19 of the 27 unsuccessful attempts, the balloon could not be advanced over the wire due to severe vasospasm or unfavorable vessel angle. Follow-up angiography in a subset of patients demonstrated that severe recurrent vasospasm occurred in 15 (13%) of 116 vessels studied after angioplasty.


Over-the-wire balloons involve a low risk for vessel rupture. The anterior cerebral artery remains difficult to access and successfully treat with current devices. Further improvements in balloon design, such as smaller inflated diameters and better tracking, are necessary. Finally, thromboembolic complications remain an important concern, and severe vasospasm may recur after balloon angioplasty.

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Hirokazu Takami, Christoph M. Prummer, Christopher S. Graffeo, Maria Peris-Celda, Caterina Giannini, Colin L. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Glioblastoma (GBM) of the internal auditory canal (IAC) is exceedingly rare, with only 3 prior cases reported in the literature. The authors present the fourth case of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) and IAC GBM, and the first in which the lesion mimicked a vestibular schwannoma (VS) early in its natural history. A 55-year-old man presented with tinnitus, hearing loss, and imbalance. MRI identified a left IAC/CPA lesion measuring 8 mm, most consistent with a benign VS. Over the subsequent 4 months he developed facial weakness. The tumor grew remarkably to 24 mm and surgery was recommended; the main preoperative diagnosis was malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). Resection proceeded via a translabyrinthine approach with resection of cranial nerves VII and VIII, followed by facial-hypoglossal nerve anastomosis. Intraoperative frozen section suggested malignant spindle cell neoplasm, but final histopathological and molecular testing confirmed the lesion to be a GBM. The authors report the first case in which absence of any brainstem interface effectively excluded a primary parenchymal tumor, in particular GBM, from the differential diagnosis. Given the dramatic differences in treatment and prognoses between malignant glioma and MPNST, this case emphasizes the importance of surgical intervention on an aggressively growing lesion, which provides both the best probability of local control and the critical tissue diagnosis.