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Rafael Wabl, Craig A. Williamson, Aditya S. Pandey, and Venkatakrishna Rajajee

OBJECTIVE

Data on long-term functional recovery (LFR) following severe brain injury are essential for counseling of surrogates and for appropriate timing of outcome assessment in clinical trials. Delayed functional recovery (DFR) beyond 3–6 months is well documented following severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI), but there are limited data on DFR following severe cerebrovascular brain injury. The objective of this study was to assess LFR and DFR in patients with sTBI and severe stroke dependent on tracheostomy and tube feeding at the time of discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU).

METHODS

The authors identified patients entered into their tracheostomy database 2008–2013 with sTBI and severe stroke, encompassing SAH, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Eligibility criteria included disease-specific indicators of severity, Glasgow Coma Scale score < 9 at time of tracheostomy, and need for tracheostomy and tube feeding at ICU discharge. Assessment was at 1–3 months, 6–12 months, 12–24 months, and 24–36 months after initial injury for presence of tracheostomy, ability to walk, and ability to perform basic activities of daily living (B-ADLs). Long-term functional recovery (LFR) was defined as recovery of the ability to walk or perform B-ADLs by the 24- to 36-month follow-up. Delayed functional recovery (DFR) was defined as progression in functional milestones between any 2 time points beyond the 1- to 3-month follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 129 patients met the eligibility criteria. Functional outcomes were available for 129 (100%), 97 (75%), 83 (64%), and 80 (62%) patients, respectively, from assessments at 1–3, 6–12, 12–24 and 24–36 months; 33 (26%) died by 24–36 months. Fifty-nine (46%) regained the ability to walk and 48 (37%) performed B-ADLs at some point during their recovery. Among survivors who had not achieved the respective milestone at 1–3 months, 29/58 (50%) were able to walk and 28/74 (38%) performed B-ADLs at 6–12 months. Among survivors who had not achieved the respective milestone at 6–12 months, 5/16 (31%) were able to walk and 13/30 (43%) performed B-ADLs at 12–24 months. There was no significant difference in rates of LFR or DFR between patients with sTBI and those with severe stroke.

CONCLUSIONS

Among patients with severe brain injury requiring tracheostomy and tube feeding at ICU discharge, 46% regained the ability to walk and 37% performed B-ADLs 2–3 years after injury. DFR beyond 1–3 and 6–12 months was seen in over 30% of survivors, with no significant difference between sTBI and severe stroke.

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Clay M. Elswick, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Aditya S. Pandey, and Mark E. Oppenlander

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas are diagnostically challenging lesions, and they are not well described in patients with a history of a spinal deformity correction. The authors present the challenging case of a 74-year-old woman who had previously undergone correction of a spinal deformity with subsequent revision. Several years after the last deformity operation, she developed a progressive myelopathy with urinary incontinence over a 6-month period. After evaluation at the authors’ institution, an angiogram was obtained, demonstrating a fistula at the T12–L1 region. Surgical ligation of the fistula was performed with subsequent improvement of the neurological symptoms. This case is thought to represent the first fistula documented in an area of the spine that had previously been operated on, and to the authors’ knowledge, it is the first case report to be associated with spinal deformity surgery. A brief historical overview and review of the pathophysiology of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas is also included.

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Joseph R. Linzey, Kevin S. Chen, Luis Savastano, B. Gregory Thompson, and Aditya S. Pandey

Brain shifts following microsurgical clip ligation of anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms can lead to mechanical compression of the optic nerve by the clip. Recognition of this condition and early repositioning of clips can lead to reversal of vision loss.

The authors identified 3 patients with an afferent pupillary defect following microsurgical clipping of ACoA aneurysms. Different treatment options were used for each patient. All patients underwent reexploration, and the aneurysm clips were repositioned to prevent clip-related compression of the optic nerve. Near-complete restoration of vision was achieved at the last clinic follow-up visit in all 3 patients.

Clip ligation of ACoA aneurysms has the potential to cause clip-related compression of the optic nerve. Postoperative visual examination is of utmost importance, and if any changes are discovered, reexploration should be considered as repositioning of the clips may lead to resolution of visual deterioration.

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Joseph R. Linzey, Craig Williamson, Venkatakrishna Rajajee, Kyle Sheehan, B. Gregory Thompson, and Aditya S. Pandey

OBJECTIVE

Recent observational data suggest that ultra-early treatment of ruptured aneurysms prevents rebleeding, thus improving clinical outcomes. However, advances in critical care management of patients with ruptured aneurysms may reduce the rate of rebleeding in comparison with earlier trials, such as the International Cooperative Study on the Timing of Aneurysm Surgery. The objective of the present study was to determine if an ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol will or will not significantly reduce the number of incidents of rebleeding following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of data from a prospectively collected cohort of patients with SAH was performed. Rebleeding was diagnosed as new or expanded hemorrhage on CT, which was determined by independent review conducted by multiple physicians. Preventability of rebleeding by ultra-early aneurysm clipping or coiling was also independently reviewed. Standard statistics were used to determine statistically significant differences between the demographic characteristics of those with rebleeding compared with those without.

RESULTS

Of 317 patients with aneurysmal SAH, 24 (7.6%, 95% CI 4.7–10.5) experienced rebleeding at any time point following initial aneurysm rupture. Only 1/24 (4.2%, 95% CI −3.8 to 12.2) incidents of rebleeding could have been prevented by a 24-hour ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol. The other 23 incidents could not have been prevented for the following reasons: rebleeding prior to admission to the authors’ institution (14/23, 60.9%); initial diagnostic angiography negative for aneurysm (4/23, 17.4%); postoperative rebleeding (2/23, 8.7%); patient unable to undergo operation due to medical instability (2/23, 8.7%); intraoperative rebleeding (1/23, 4.3%).

CONCLUSIONS

At a single tertiary academic center, the overall rebleeding rate was 7.6% (95% CI 4.7–10.5) for those presenting with ruptured aneurysms. Implementation of a 24-hour ultra-early aneurysm repair protocol would only result in, at most, a 0.3% (95% CI −0.3 to 0.9) reduction in the incidence of rebleeding.

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Julius Griauzde, Joseph J. Gemmete, Aditya S. Pandey, and Neeraj Chaudhary

OBJECT

A CSF leak can be difficult to locate in patients who present with spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). The purpose of this case series was to describe the authors’ experience with intrathecal preservative-free normal saline challenge coupled with contrast-enhanced MR myelography (CEMRM), which was used to provoke and detect a CSF leakage site in patients with SIH.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of the records of patients who underwent preservative-free normal saline challenge followed by intrathecal gadolinium (Gd) contrast infusion and MR myelography from 2010 to 2012.

RESULTS

The records survey identified 5 patients who underwent 6 procedures. Intrathecal preservative-free normal saline challenge followed by CEMRM identified a CSF leak during 5 of the 6 procedures. Previous CT myelograms were available from 4 patients, which did not reveal a leakage site. A CT myelogram of 1 patient showed a single leak, but the authors’ saline challenge-CEMRM technique identified multiple additional leakage sites. Three patients exhibited transient postprocedural symptoms related to the saline infusion, but no long-term or permanent adverse effects related to the procedure were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

Instillation of preservative-free normal saline into the thecal sac followed by intrathecal Gd infusion is a safe technique that may increase the detection of a CSF leak on MR myelography images in patients with SIH.

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John Futchko, Jordan Starr, Darryl Lau, Matthew R. Leach, Christopher Roark, Aditya S. Pandey, and B. Gregory Thompson

OBJECTIVE

Smoking is a known risk factor for aneurysm development and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, as well as subsequent vasospasm in both untreated individuals and patients who have undergone surgical clipping of cerebrovascular aneurysms. However, there is a lack of data in the current scientific literature about the long-term effects that smoking has on the integrity of endovascular repairs of cerebral aneurysms. This study was designed to determine if any smoking history increased the risk of poorer outcomes and/or aneurysm recurrence in patients who have had endovascular repair of cerebral aneurysms.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the medical records of patients admitted to the University of Michigan Health System from January 1999 to December 2011 with coiled aneurysms and angiography, CT angiography, or MR angiography follow-up. Patients were identified and organized based on many criteria including age, sex, smoking history, aneurysm recurrence, aneurysm location, and Hunt and Hess grade. Analysis was targeted to the patient population with a history of smoking. Bivariate chi-square tests were used to analyze the association between a positive smoking history and documented aneurysm recurrence and were adjusted for potential confounders by fitting multivariate logistic regression models of recurrence.

RESULTS

A total of 247 patients who had undergone endovascular treatment of 296 documented cerebral aneurysms were included in this study. The recurrence rate among all patients treated with endovascular repair was 24.3%, and the average time to the most recent follow-up imaging studies was 1.62 years. Smokers accounted for 232 aneurysms and were followed up for an average of 1.57 years, with a recurrence rate of 26.3%. Never smokers accounted for the remaining 64 aneurysms and were followed up for an average of 1.82 years, with a recurrence rate of 17.2%. Multivariate analysis revealed that, after controlling for potential confounders, a history of smoking—whether current or former—was associated with a significantly increased risk of aneurysm recurrence. The odds ratios for aneurysm recurrence for current and former smokers were 2.739 (95% CI 1.127–7.095, p = 0.0308) and 2.698 (95% CI 1.078–7.212, p = 0.0395), respectively, compared with never smokers.

CONCLUSIONS

A positive smoking history is associated with a significantly increased risk of aneurysm recurrence in patients who have undergone endovascular repair of a cerebral aneurysm, compared with the risk in patients who have never smoked.

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René Post, Jantien Hoogmoed, Dagmar Verbaan, and W. Peter Vandertop

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Joseph R. Linzey, James F. Burke, Jeffrey L. Nadel, Craig A. Williamson, Luis E. Savastano, D. Andrew Wilkinson, and Aditya S. Pandey

OBJECTIVE

It is unknown what proportion of patients who undergo emergent neurosurgical procedures initiate comfort care (CC) measures shortly after the operation. The purpose of the present study was to analyze the proportion and predictive factors of patients who initiated CC measures within the same hospital admission after undergoing emergent neurosurgery.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study included all adult patients who underwent emergent neurosurgical and endovascular procedures at a single center between 2009 and 2014. Primary and secondary outcomes were initiation of CC measures during the initial hospitalization and determination of predictive factors, respectively.

RESULTS

Of the 1295 operations, comfort care was initiated in 111 (8.6%) during the initial admission. On average, CC was initiated 9.3 ± 10.0 days postoperatively. One-third of the patients switched to CC within 3 days. In multivariate analysis, patients > 70 years of age were significantly more likely to undergo CC than those < 50 years (70–79 years, p = 0.004; > 80 years, p = 0.0001). Two-thirds of CC patients had been admitted with a cerebrovascular pathology (p < 0.001). Admission diagnosis of cerebrovascular pathology was a significant predictor of initiating CC (p < 0.0001). A high Hunt and Hess grade of IV or V in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage was significantly associated with initiation of CC compared to a low grade (27.1% vs 2.9%, p < 0.001). Surgery starting between 15:01 and 06:59 hours had a 1.70 times greater odds of initiating CC compared to surgery between 07:00 and 15:00.

CONCLUSIONS

Initiation of CC after emergent neurosurgical and endovascular procedures is relatively common, particularly when an elderly patient presents with a cerebrovascular pathology after typical operating hours.

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Badih J. Daou, Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Sharath Kumar Anand, Craig A. Williamson, Noah S. Cutler, Bryan L. Aaron, Sudharsan Srinivasan, Venkatakrishna Rajajee, Kyle Sheehan, and Aditya S. Pandey

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus and seizures greatly impact outcomes of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH); however, reliable tools to predict these outcomes are lacking. The authors used a volumetric quantitative analysis tool to evaluate the association of total aSAH volume with the outcomes of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus and seizures.

METHODS

Total hemorrhage volume following aneurysm rupture was retrospectively analyzed on presentation CT imaging using a custom semiautomated computer program developed in MATLAB that employs intensity-based k-means clustering to automatically separate blood voxels from other tissues. Volume data were added to a prospectively maintained aSAH database. The association of hemorrhage volume with shunted hydrocephalus and seizures was evaluated through logistic regression analysis and the diagnostic accuracy through analysis of the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

RESULTS

The study population comprised 288 consecutive patients with aSAH. The mean total hemorrhage volume was 74.9 ml. Thirty-eight patients (13.2%) developed seizures. The mean hemorrhage volume in patients who developed seizures was significantly higher than that in patients with no seizures (mean difference 17.3 ml, p = 0.01). In multivariate analysis, larger hemorrhage volume on initial CT scan and hemorrhage volume > 50 ml (OR 2.81, p = 0.047, 95% CI 1.03–7.80) were predictive of seizures. Forty-eight patients (17%) developed shunt-dependent hydrocephalus. The mean hemorrhage volume in patients who developed shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was significantly higher than that in patients who did not (mean difference 17.2 ml, p = 0.006). Larger hemorrhage volume and hemorrhage volume > 50 ml (OR 2.45, p = 0.03, 95% CI 1.08–5.54) were predictive of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus. Hemorrhage volume had adequate discrimination for the development of seizures (AUC 0.635) and shunted hydrocephalus (AUC 0.629).

CONCLUSIONS

Hemorrhage volume is an independent predictor of seizures and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients with aSAH. Further evaluation of aSAH quantitative volumetric analysis may complement existing scales used in clinical practice and assist in patient prognostication and management.

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Osama N. Kashlan, Thomas J. Wilson, Neeraj Chaudhary, Joseph J. Gemmete, William R. Stetler Jr., N. Reed Dunnick, B. Gregory Thompson, and Aditya S. Pandey

Object

As medical costs continue to rise during a time of increasing medical resource utilization, both hospitals and physicians must attempt to limit superfluous health care expenses. Neurointerventional treatment has been shown to be costly, but it is often the best treatment available for certain neuropathologies. The authors studied the effects of 3 policy changes designed to limit the costs of performing neurointerventional procedures at the University of Michigan.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed the costs of performing neurointerventional procedures during the 6-month periods before and after the implementation of 3 cost-saving policies: 1) the use of an alternative, more economical contrast agent, 2) standardization of coil prices through negotiation with industry representatives to receive economies of scale, and 3) institution of a feedback method to show practitioners the costs of unused products per patient procedure. The costs during the 6-month time intervals before and after implementation were also compared with costs during the most recent 6-month time period.

Results

The policy requiring use of a more economical contrast agent led to a decrease in the cost of contrast usage of $42.79 per procedure for the first 6 months after implementation, and $137.09 per procedure for the most current 6-month period, resulting in an estimated total savings of $62,924.31 for the most recent 6-month period. The standardized coil pricing system led to savings of $159.21 per coil after the policy change, and $188.07 per coil in the most recent 6-month period. This yielded total estimated savings of $76,732.56 during the most recent 6-month period. The feedback system for unused items decreased the cost of wasted products by approximately $44.36 per procedure in the 6 months directly after the policy change and by $48.20 per procedure in the most recent 6-month period, leading to total estimated savings of $22,123.80 during the most recent 6-month period. According to extrapolation over a 1-year period, the 3 policy changes decreased costs by an estimated $323,561.34.

Conclusions

Simple cost-saving policies can lead to substantial reductions in costs of neurointerventional procedures while maintaining high levels of quality and growth of services.