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  • Author or Editor: Dario J. Englot x
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Dario J. Englot, Edward F. Chang and Kurtis I. Auguste

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) was approved by the US FDA in 1997 as an adjunctive treatment for medically refractory epilepsy. It is considered for use in patients who are poor candidates for resection or those in whom resection has failed. However, disagreement regarding the utility of VNS in epilepsy continues because of the variability in benefit reported across clinical studies. Moreover, although VNS was approved only for adults and adolescents with partial epilepsy, its efficacy in children and in patients with generalized epilepsy remains unclear. The authors performed the first meta-analysis of VNS efficacy in epilepsy, identifying 74 clinical studies with 3321 patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. These studies included 3 blinded, randomized controlled trials (Class I evidence); 2 nonblinded, randomized controlled trials (Class II evidence); 10 prospective studies (Class III evidence); and numerous retrospective studies. After VNS, seizure frequency was reduced by an average of 45%, with a 36% reduction in seizures at 3–12 months after surgery and a 51% reduction after > 1 year of therapy. At the last follow-up, seizures were reduced by 50% or more in approximately 50% of the patients, and VNS predicted a ≥ 50% reduction in seizures with a main effects OR of 1.83 (95% CI 1.80–1.86). Patients with generalized epilepsy and children benefited significantly from VNS despite their exclusion from initial approval of the device. Furthermore, posttraumatic epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis were positive predictors of a favorable outcome. In conclusion, VNS is an effective and relatively safe adjunctive therapy in patients with medically refractory epilepsy not amenable to resection. However, it is important to recognize that complete seizure freedom is rarely achieved using VNS and that a quarter of patients do not receive any benefit from therapy.

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Seunggu J. Han, Dario J. Englot, Helen Kim and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

The surgical management of brainstem arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) might benefit from the definition of anatomical subtypes and refinements of resection techniques. Many brainstem AVMs sit extrinsically on pia mater rather than intrinsically in the parenchyma, allowing treatment by occluding feeding arteries circumferentially, interrupting draining veins after arteriovenous shunting is eliminated, and leaving the obliterated nidus behind. The authors report here the largest series of brainstem AVMs to define 6 subtypes, assess this “occlusion in situ” technique, and analyze the microsurgical results.

METHODS

Brainstem AVMs were categorized as 1 of 6 types: anterior midbrain, posterior midbrain, anterior pontine, lateral pontine, anterior medullary, and lateral medullary AVMs. Data from a prospectively maintained AVM registry were reviewed to evaluate multidisciplinary treatment results.

RESULTS

During a 15-year period, the authors treated 29 patients with brainstem AVMs located in the midbrain (1 anterior and 6 posterior), pons (6 anterior and 7 lateral), and medulla (1 anterior and 8 lateral). The nidus was pial in 26 cases and parenchymal in 3 cases. Twenty-three patients (79%) presented with hemorrhage. Brainstem AVMs were either resected (18 patients, 62%) or occluded in situ (11 patients, 38%). All lateral pontine AVMs were resected, and the occlusion in situ rate was highest with anterior pontine AVMs (83%). Angiography confirmed complete obliteration in 26 patients (89.6%). The surgical mortality rate was 6.9%, and the rate of permanent neurological deterioration was 13.8%. At follow-up (mean 1.3 years), good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) were observed in 18 patients (66.7%) and poor outcomes (mRS score of 3–5) were observed in 9 patients (33.3%). The mRS scores in 21 patients (77.8%) were unchanged or improved. The best outcomes were observed with lateral pontine (100%) and lateral medullary (75%) AVMs, and the rate of worsening/death was greatest with posterior midbrain and anterior pontine AVMs (50% each).

CONCLUSIONS

Brainstem AVMs can be differentiated by their location in the brainstem (midbrain, pons, or medulla) and the surface on which they are based (anterior, posterior, or lateral). Anatomical subtypes can help the neurosurgeon determine how to advise patients, with lateral subtypes being a favorable surgical indication along with extrinsic pial location and hemorrhagic presentation. Most AVMs are dissected with the intention to resect them, and occlusion in situ is reserved for those AVMs that do not separate cleanly from the brainstem, that penetrate into the parenchyma, or are more anterior in location, where it is difficult to visualize and preserve perforating arteries (anterior pontine and lateral medullary AVMs). Although surgical morbidity is considerable, surgery results in a better obliteration rate than nonoperative management and is indicated in highly selected patients with high rerupture risks.

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Dario J. Englot, Seunggu J. Han, Michael T. Lawton and Edward F. Chang

Object

Seizures are the most common presenting symptom of supratentorial cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) and progress to medically refractory epilepsy in 40% of patients. Predictors of seizure freedom in the resection of CCMs are incompletely understood.

Methods

The authors systematically reviewed the published literature on seizure freedom following the resection of supratentorial CCMs in patients presenting with seizures. Seizure outcomes were stratified across 12 potential prognostic variables. A total of 1226 patients with supratentorial CCMs causing seizures were identified across 31 predominantly retrospective studies; 361 patients had medically refractory epilepsy.

Results

Seventy-five percent of the patients were seizure free after microsurgical lesion removal, whereas 25% continued to have seizures. All patients had had preoperative seizures and > 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Modifiable predictors of postoperative seizure freedom included gross-total resection (OR 36.6, 95% CI 8.5–157.5) and surgery within 1 year of symptom onset (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.30–2.58). Additional prognostic indicators of a favorable outcome were a CCM size < 1.5 cm (OR 15.4, 95% CI 5.2–45.4), the absence of multiple CCMs (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.13–3.60), medically controlled seizures (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.29–4.39), and the lack of secondarily generalized seizures (OR 3.33, 95% CI 2.09–5.30). Other factors, including extended resection of the hemosiderin ring, were not significantly predictive.

Conclusions

In the surgical treatment of supratentorial CCMs, gross-total resection and early operative intervention may improve seizure outcome. While surgery should not be considered the first-line treatment for CCM-related epilepsy, it is important to understand the variables associated with seizure freedom in CCM resection given the considerable morbidity and diminished quality of life associated with epilepsy.

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Dario J. Englot, Stephen T. Magill, Seunggu J. Han, Edward F. Chang, Mitchel S. Berger and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECT

Meningioma is the most common benign intracranial tumor, and patients with supratentorial meningioma frequently suffer from seizures. The rates and predictors of seizures in patients with meningioma have been significantly under-studied, even in comparison with other brain tumor types. Improved strategies for the prediction, treatment, and prevention of seizures in patients with meningioma is an important goal, because tumor-related epilepsy significantly impacts patient quality of life.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review of PubMed for manuscripts published between January 1980 and September 2014, examining rates of pre- and postoperative seizures in supratentorial meningioma, and evaluating potential predictors of seizures with separate meta-analyses.

RESULTS

The authors identified 39 observational case series for inclusion in the study, but no controlled trials. Preoperative seizures were observed in 29.2% of 4709 patients with supratentorial meningioma, and were significantly predicted by male sex (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.30–2.34); an absence of headache (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.04–3.25); peritumoral edema (OR 7.48, 95% CI 6.13–9.47); and non–skull base location (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.04–3.25). After surgery, seizure freedom was achieved in 69.3% of 703 patients with preoperative epilepsy, and was more than twice as likely in those without peritumoral edema, although an insufficient number of studies were available for formal meta-analysis of this association. Of 1085 individuals without preoperative epilepsy who underwent resection, new postoperative seizures were seen in 12.3% of patients. No difference in the rate of new postoperative seizures was observed with or without perioperative prophylactic anticonvulsants.

CONCLUSIONS

Seizures are common in supratentorial meningioma, particularly in tumors associated with brain edema, and seizure freedom is a critical treatment goal. Favorable seizure control can be achieved with resection, but evidence does not support routine use of prophylactic anticonvulsants in patients without seizures. Limitations associated with systematic review and meta-analysis should be considered when interpreting these results.

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Alvin Y. Chan, John D. Rolston, Brian Lee, Sumeet Vadera and Dario J. Englot

OBJECTIVE

Corpus callosotomy is a palliative surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy that reduces the severity and frequency of generalized seizures by disconnecting the two cerebral hemispheres. Unlike with resection, seizure outcomes remain poorly understood. The authors systematically reviewed the literature and performed a meta-analysis to investigate rates and predictors of complete seizure freedom and freedom from drop attacks after corpus callosotomy.

METHODS

PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus were queried for primary studies examining seizure outcomes after corpus callosotomy published over 30 years. Rates of complete seizure freedom or drop attack freedom were recorded. Variables showing a potential relationship to seizure outcome on preliminary analysis were subjected to formal meta-analysis.

RESULTS

The authors identified 1742 eligible patients from 58 included studies. Overall, the rates of complete seizure freedom and drop attack freedom after corpus callosotomy were 18.8% and 55.3%, respectively. Complete seizure freedom was significantly predicted by the presence of infantile spasms (OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.13–13.23), normal MRI findings (OR 4.63, 95% CI 1.75–12.25), and shorter epilepsy duration (OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.23–5.38). Freedom from drop attacks was predicted by complete over partial callosotomy (OR 2.90, 95% CI 1.07–7.83) and idiopathic over known epilepsy etiology (OR 2.84, 95% CI 1.35–5.99).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report the first systematic review and meta-analysis of seizure outcomes in both adults and children after corpus callosotomy for epilepsy. Approximately one-half of patients become free from drop attacks, and one-fifth achieve complete seizure freedom after surgery. Some predictors of favorable outcome differ from those in resective epilepsy surgery.

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Dario J. Englot, Mitchel S. Berger, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

Object

Seizures are the most frequent presenting symptom in patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs), and significantly influence quality of life if they are uncontrolled. Achieving freedom from seizures is of utmost importance in surgical planning, but the factors associated with seizure control remain incompletely understood.

Methods

The authors performed a systematic literature review of seizure outcomes after resection of LGGs causing seizures, examining 773 patients across 20 published series. Rates of seizure freedom were stratified across 7 variables: patient age, tumor location, preoperative seizure control with medication, seizure semiology, epilepsy duration, extent of resection, and the use of intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG).

Results

Gross-total resection was most predictive of complete seizure freedom, when compared with subtotal resection (OR 3.41, 95% CI 2.36–4.93). Other predictors of seizure freedom included preoperative seizure control on antiepileptic medication (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.33–3.38) and duration of seizures of ≤ 1 year (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.22–2.79). Patients with simple partial seizure semiology achieved seizure freedom less often than those with complex partial, generalized, or mixed seizure types (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.26–0.80). No significant differences in seizure outcome were observed between adults versus children, patients with temporal lobe versus extratemporal tumors, or with the use of intraoperative ECoG.

Conclusions

Seizure control is one of the most important considerations in planning surgery for low-grade brain tumors. Gross-total resection is a critical factor in achieving seizure freedom.

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Matthew J. Shepard and W. Jeffrey Elias

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Dario J. Englot, David Ouyang, Doris D. Wang, John D. Rolston, Paul A. Garcia and Edward F. Chang

Object

Epilepsy surgery remains significantly underutilized. The authors recently reported that the number of lobectomies for localized intractable epilepsy in the US has not changed despite the implementation of clear evidence-based guidelines 10 years ago supporting early referral for surgery. To better understand why epilepsy surgery continues to be underused, the authors' objective was to carefully examine hospital-related factors related to the following: 1) where patients are being admitted for the evaluation of epilepsy, 2) rates of utilization for surgery across hospitals, and 3) perioperative morbidity between hospitals with low versus high volumes of epilepsy surgery.

Methods

The authors performed a population-based cohort study of US hospitals between 1990 and 2008 using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), stratifying epilepsy surgery rates and trends as well as perioperative morbidity rates by hospital surgical volume.

Results

The number of lobectomies for epilepsy performed at high-volume centers (> 15 lobectomies/year) significantly decreased between 1990 and 2008 (F = 20.4, p < 0.001), while significantly more procedures were performed at middle-volume hospitals (5–15 lobectomies/year) over time (F = 16.1, p < 0.001). No time trend was observed for hospitals performing fewer than 5 procedures per year. However, patients admitted to high-volume centers were significantly more likely to receive lobectomy than those at low-volume hospitals (relative risk 1.05, 95% CI 1.03–1.08, p < 0.001). Also, the incidence of perioperative adverse events was significantly higher at low-volume hospitals (12.9%) than at high-volume centers (6.1%) (relative risk 1.08, 95% CI 1.03–1.07, p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Hospital volume is an important predictor of epilepsy surgery utilization and perioperative morbidity. Patients with medically refractory epilepsy should be referred to a comprehensive epilepsy treatment center for surgical evaluation by an experienced clinical team.

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Nathan C. Rowland, Dario J. Englot, Tene A. Cage, Michael E. Sughrue, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

Object

Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is one of the most common causes of medically refractory epilepsy leading to surgery. However, seizure control outcomes reported in isolated surgical series are highly variable. As a result, it is not clear which variables are most crucial in predicting seizure freedom following surgery for FCD. The authors' aim was to determine the prognostic factors for seizure control in FCD by performing a meta-analysis of the published literature.

Methods

A MEDLINE search of the published literature yielded 37 studies that met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Seven potential prognostic variables were determined from these studies and were dichotomized for analysis. For each variable, individual studies were weighted by inverse variance and combined to generate an odds ratio favoring seizure freedom. The methods complied with a standardized meta-analysis reporting protocol.

Results

Two thousand fourteen patients were included in the analysis. The overall rate of seizure freedom (Engel Class I) among patients undergoing surgery for FCD in the cohort of studies was 55.8% ± 16.2%. Partial seizures, a temporal location, detection with MRI, and a Type II Palmini histological classification were associated with higher rates of postoperative seizure control. As a treatment-related factor, complete resection of the anatomical or electrographic abnormality was the most important predictor overall of seizure freedom. Neither age nor electroencephalographic localization of the ictal onset significantly affected seizure freedom after surgery.

Conclusions

Using a large population cohort pooled from the published literature, an analysis identified important factors that are prognostic in patients with epilepsy due to FCD. The most important of these factors—diagnostic imaging and resection—provide modalities through which improvements in the impact of FCD can be effected.

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Dario J. Englot, John D. Rolston, Doris D. Wang, Kevin H. Hassnain, Charles M. Gordon and Edward F. Chang

Object

In the US, approximately 500,000 individuals are hospitalized yearly for traumatic brain injury (TBI), and posttraumatic epilepsy (PTE) is a common sequela of TBI. Improved treatment strategies for PTE are critically needed, as patients with the disorder are often resistant to antiepileptic medications and are poor candidates for definitive resection. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an adjunctive treatment for medically refractory epilepsy that results in a ≥ 50% reduction in seizure frequency in approximately 50% of patients after 1 year of therapy. The role of VNS in PTE has been poorly studied. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients with PTE attain more favorable seizure outcomes than individuals with nontraumatic epilepsy etiologies.

Methods

Using a case-control study design, the authors retrospectively compared seizure outcomes after VNS therapy in patients with PTE versus those with nontraumatic epilepsy (non-PTE) who were part of a large prospectively collected patient registry.

Results

After VNS therapy, patients with PTE demonstrated a greater reduction in seizure frequency (50% fewer seizures at the 3-month follow-up; 73% fewer seizures at 24 months) than patients with non-PTE (46% fewer seizures at 3 months; 57% fewer seizures at 24 months). Overall, patients with PTE had a 78% rate of clinical response to VNS therapy at 24 months (that is, ≥ 50% reduction in seizure frequency) as compared with a 61% response rate among patients with non-PTE (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07–1.61), leading to improved outcomes according to the Engel classification (p < 0.0001, Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel statistic).

Conclusions

Vagus nerve stimulation should be considered in patients with medically refractory PTE who are not good candidates for resection. A controlled prospective trial is necessary to further examine seizure outcomes as well as neuropsychological outcomes after VNS therapy in patients with intractable PTE.