Perimesencephalic nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (PNSAH) is a benign variant of SAH defined by clinical symptoms of SAH, a characteristic pattern of extravasated blood on noncontrast CT, and negative findings on cerebral angiography. This syndrome carries a favorable prognosis with reportedly no risk of recurrent hemorrhage. The authors present the case of a 62-year-old man with no significant medical history who experienced recurrent, spontaneous episodes of PNSAH within the course of 5 months. No precipitating causes were identified, but the patient had been involved in exertional activities preceding both events. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first conclusive report of recurrent, idiopathic PNSAH. The findings suggest that while the risk of recurrent hemorrhage in the setting of PNSAH is far less than that for aneurysmal SAH, rebleeding can still occur. The authors speculate on the etiology of this rare phenomenon.
Matthew R. Reynolds, Spiros L. Blackburn and Gregory J. Zipfel
Matthew R. Reynolds, Jon T. Willie, Gregory J. Zipfel and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.
Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a significant cause of death in young and middle-aged individuals and causes tremendous morbidity in affected patients. Despite the identification of various risk factors, the series of events leading to the formation, growth, and rupture of intracranial aneurysms is poorly understood. Cerebral aneurysm rupture has been associated with sexual intercourse and other forms of physical exercise. In fact, multiple case series reported that coitus was the immediate preceding activity in 3.8–14.5% of patients suffering from aneurysmal SAH. This may be related to the large elevations in mean arterial blood pressure that occur in both males and females during sexual intercourse (130–175 and 125–160 mm Hg, respectively). While coitus and physical exercise share important physiological similarities, each may differentially affect the probability that a preformed aneurysm will rupture. In this literature review and synthesis, the authors analyze the physiological human response to sexual intercourse in an effort to delineate those factors that may precipitate aneurysmal rupture. The authors' analysis is based on the original data collected by Masters and Johnson. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first review to address the link between sexual intercourse and intracranial aneurysmal rupture. While actual measurements of the physiological variables relevant to SAH were not performed in this article, the authors make reasonable assumptions based on the available data to help elucidate the mechanism of sexually induced aneurysmal rupture.
Matthew R. Reynolds, Robert L. Grubb Jr., William R. Clarke, William J. Powers, Gregory J. Zipfel, Harold P. Adams Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn and for the Carotid Occlusion Surgery Study Investigators
The Carotid Occlusion Surgery Study (COSS) was a large, prospective clinical trial that examined whether superficial temporal artery–middle cerebral artery (STA-MCA) bypass, in addition to best medical therapy, reduced the risk of ipsilateral ischemic stroke in patients with carotid artery occlusion and hemodynamic cerebral ischemia. Despite improved cerebral hemodynamics and excellent bypass graft patency rates, COSS failed to show a benefit for the surgical group with respect to ipsilateral stroke recurrence at 2 years after treatment. This was due to a lower than expected rate of recurrent ipsilateral stroke in the medically treated group and a high rate of perioperative ipsilateral strokes in the surgical group. Critics of the trial have cited surgeon inexperience and technical difficulties related to the performance of the bypass graft as a leading cause of failure of the trial.
The authors retrospectively identified all patients from the COSS with an ipsilateral, perioperative (< 30 days) ischemic stroke after STA-MCA cortical branch anastomosis. Study records, operative notes, stroke adjudication forms, and imaging studies were reviewed. Ischemic strokes were characterized as bypass graft related or non–bypass graft related based on clinical and radiographic findings.
Fourteen of 93 surgically treated patients experienced an ipsilateral, perioperative ischemic stroke. Postoperatively, the mean oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) ratio between the symptomatic and asymptomatic cerebral hemisphere significantly improved in these patients (1.30 ± 0.18 preoperative vs 1.12 ± 0.11 postoperative; p = 0.02), but did not normalize. In this cohort, total MCA occlusion time during the anastomosis (54.3 ± 23.5 minutes) was no different from the MCA occlusion time in those surgical patients who did not have a perioperative stroke (45.4 ± 24.2 minutes, p = 0.2). Bypass graft patency rates in patients with a perioperative stroke were 92% at 30 days (11 of 12 patients with patency data) and 83% at last follow-up visit (10 of 12 patients with patency data). These patency rates were not significantly different from those achieved at 30 days (100%; 76 of 76 patients with patency data; p = 0.14) and at last follow-up (99%; 71 of 72 patients with patency data; p = 0.052) in patients without a perioperative stroke. Eighty-six percent (12 of 14 patients) of strokes were likely attributable to factors unrelated to the STA-MCA anastomosis. Only 21% of strokes (3 of 14 patients) were in the territory of the recipient vessel and likely related to technical performance of the anastomosis itself. One patient was thought to have dual stroke mechanisms.
Only a small minority of ipsilateral, perioperative ischemic strokes in the COSS could be attributed to technical problems of the bypass anastomosis. The majority of ischemic strokes could not be ascribed to this cause and were most likely due to patient hemodynamic fragility and the inability of patients to tolerate surgery.
Rory K. J. Murphy, Betty Liu, Abhinav Srinath, Matthew R. Reynolds, Jingxia Liu, Martha C. Craighead, Bernard C. Camins, Rajat Dhar, Terrance T. Kummer and Gregory J. Zipfel
External ventricular drains (EVDs) are commonly used for CSF diversion but pose a risk of ventriculitis, with rates varying in frequency from 2% to 45%. Results of studies examining the utility of prolonged systemic antibiotic therapy for the prevention of EVD-related infection have been contradictory, and no study to date has examined whether this approach confers additional benefit in preventing ventriculitis when used in conjunction with antibiotic-coated EVDs (ac-EVDs).
A prospective performance analysis was conducted over 4 years to examine the impact of discontinuing systemic antibiotic prophylaxis after insertion of an ac-EVD on rates of catheter-related ventriculitis. Ventriculitis and other nosocomial infections were ascertained by a qualified infection disease nurse using definitions based on published standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comparing the period when patients received systemic antibiotic therapy for the duration of EVD treatment (Period 1) compared with only for the peri-insertion period (Period 2). Costs were analyzed and compared across the 2 time periods.
Over the 4-year study period, 866 patients were treated with ac-EVDs for a total of 7016 catheter days. There were 8 cases of ventriculitis, for an overall incidence of 0.92%. Rates of ventriculitis did not differ significantly between Period 1 and Period 2 (1.1% vs 0.4%, p = 0.22). The rate of nosocomial infections, however, was significantly higher in Period 1 (2.0% vs 0.0% in Period 2, p = 0.026). Cost savings of $162,516 were realized in Period 2 due to decreased drug costs and savings associated with the reduction in nosocomial infections.
Prolonged systemic antibiotic therapy following placement of ac-EVDs does not seem to reduce the incidence of catheter-related ventriculitis and was associated with a higher rate of nosocomial infections and increased cost.
Matthew R. Reynolds, Robert T. Buckley, Santoshi S. Indrakanti, Ali H. Turkmani, Gerald Oh, Emanuela Crobeddu, Kyle M. Fargen, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Andrew M. Naidech, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Giuseppe Lanzino, Brian L. Hoh, Bernard R. Bendok and Gregory J. Zipfel
Vasopressor-induced hypertension (VIH) is an established treatment for patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who develop vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). However, the safety of VIH in patients with coincident, unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms is uncertain.
This retrospective multiinstitutional study identified 1) patients with aneurysmal SAH and 1 or more unruptured, unprotected aneurysms who required VIH therapy (VIH group), and 2) patients with aneurysmal SAH and 1 or more unruptured, unprotected aneurysms who did not require VIH therapy (non-VIH group). All patients had previously undergone surgical or endovascular treatment for the presumed ruptured aneurysm. Comparisons between the VIH and non-VIH patients were made in terms of the patient characteristics, clinical and radiographic severity of SAH, total number of aneurysms, number of ruptured/unruptured aneurysms, aneurysm location/size, number of unruptured and unprotected aneurysms during VIH, severity of vasospasm, degree of hypervolemia, and degree and duration of VIH therapy.
For the VIH group (n = 176), 484 aneurysms were diagnosed, 231 aneurysms were treated, and 253 unruptured aneurysms were left unprotected during 1293 total days of VIH therapy (5.12 total years of VIH therapy for unruptured, unprotected aneurysms). For the non-VIH group (n = 73), 207 aneurysms were diagnosed, 93 aneurysms were treated, and 114 unruptured aneurysms were left unprotected. For the VIH and non-VIH groups, the mean sizes of the ruptured (7.2 ± 0.3 vs 7.8 ± 0.6 mm, respectively; p = 0.27) and unruptured (3.4 ± 0.2 vs 3.2 ± 0.2 mm, respectively; p = 0.40) aneurysms did not differ. The authors observed 1 new SAH from a previously unruptured, unprotected aneurysm in each group (1 of 176 vs 1 of 73 patients; p = 0.50). Baseline patient characteristics and comorbidities were similar between groups. While the degree of hypervolemia was similar between the VIH and non-VIH patients (fluid balance over the first 10 days of therapy: 3146.2 ± 296.4 vs 2910.5 ± 450.7 ml, respectively; p = 0.67), VIH resulted in a significant increase in mean arterial pressure (mean increase over the first 10 days of therapy relative to baseline: 125.1% ± 1.0% vs 98.2% ± 1.2%, respectively; p < 0.01) and systolic blood pressure (125.6% ± 1.1% vs. 104.1% ± 5.2%, respectively; p < 0.01).
For small, unruptured, unprotected intracranial aneurysms in SAH patients, the frequency of aneurysm rupture during VIH therapy is rare. The authors do not recommend withholding VIH therapy from these patients.