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Jonathan A. Friedman, Alejandro A. Rabinstein and Fredric B. Meyer

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Joshua D. Hughes, Ross Puffer and Alejandro A. Rabinstein

OBJECT

External ventricular drainage (EVD) after intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) without symptomatic hydrocephalus is controversial. The object of this study was to examine indicators or the timeframe for hydrocephalus in patients not immediately treated with EVD after IVH.

METHODS

Records from 2007 to 2014 were searched for “intraventricular hemorrhage” or “IVH.” Inclusion criteria were IVH after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), trauma, tumor, or vascular anomalies. Exclusion criteria were IVH with more than minimal subarachnoid hemorrhage, catastrophic ICH, layering IVH only, or hydrocephalus treated immediately with EVD. IVH was measured with the modified Graeb Score (mGS). An mGS of 5 indicates a full ventricle with dilation. Statistics included chi-square, Student’s t-test, and Mann-Whitney tests; receiver operating characteristics; and uni- and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

One hundred five patients met the criteria; of these, 30 (28.6%) required EVD. Panventricular IVH was the most common pattern (n = 49, 46.7%), with 25 of these patients (51%) requiring EVD. The median mGS was 18 ± 5.4 (range 12–29) and 9 ± 4.5 (range 2–21) in the EVD and No-EVD groups, respectively (p < 0.001). Factors associated with EVD were radiological hydrocephalus at presentation, midline shift > 5 mm, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score < 8, mGS > 13, third ventricle mGS = 5, and fourth ventricle mGS = 5. On multivariate analysis, GCS score < 8 [4.02 (range 1.13–14.84), p = 0.032], mGS > 13 [3.83 (range 1.02–14.89), p = 0.046], and fourth ventricle mGS = 5 [5.01 (range 1.26–22.78), p = 0.022] remained significant. Most patients treated with EVD (n = 25, 83.3%) required it soon after presentation [6.4 ± 3.3 (range 1.5–14) hrs]. The remaining 5 patients (16.7%) had a delayed EVD requirement [70.7 ± 22.7 (range 50–104.5) hrs].

CONCLUSIONS

In this study population, the risk for EVD was variable, but greater with mGS > 13, coma, and a dilated fourth ventricle. While the need for EVD occurs within the 1st day after IVH in most patients, a minority require EVD after 48 hours.

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Jennifer E. Fugate, Giuseppe Lanzino and Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), the most common type of spinal cord vascular malformation, can be a challenge to diagnose and treat promptly. The disorder is rare, and the presenting clinical symptoms and signs are nonspecific and insidious at onset. Spinal dural AVFs preferentially affect middle-aged men, and patients most commonly present with gait abnormality or lower-extremity weakness and sensory disturbances. Symptoms gradually progress or decline in a stepwise manner and are commonly associated with pain and sphincter disturbances. Surgical or endovascular disconnection of the fistula has a high success rate with a low rate of morbidity. Motor symptoms are most likely to improve after treatment, followed by sensory disturbances, and lastly sphincter disturbances. Patients with severe neurological deficits at presentation tend to have worse posttreatment functional outcomes than those with mild or moderate pretreatment disability. However, improvement or stabilization of symptoms is seen in the vast majority of treated patients, and thus treatment is justified even in patients with substantial neurological deficits. The extent of intramedullary spinal cord T2 signal abnormality does not correlate with outcomes and should not be used as a prognostic factor.

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Marianna Pegoli, Jay Mandrekar, Alejandro A. Rabinstein and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECT

Case fatality rates after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) have decreased over time, and many patients treated with modern paradigms return to a normal life. However, there is little information on predictors of excellent functional outcome after aSAH. In this study, the authors investigated predictors of excellent outcome in a modern consecutive series of patients with aSAH.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of patients with aSAH admitted between 2001 and 2013. The primary outcome measure was excellent functional outcome, defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 0 or 1 at last follow-up within 1 year of aSAH.

RESULTS

Three hundred seventy-three patients were identified with posthospital follow-up. Excellent outcome was noted in 236 patients (63.3%), including an mRS score of 0 in 122 (32.7%) and an mRS score of 1 in 114 (30.6%). On univariate analysis, the following factors were associated with an excellent outcome: indicators of less severe bleeding, such as better World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade at any of the times of assessment, better modified Fisher grade, and absence of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and symptomatic hydrocephalus; aneurysm treatment with coil embolization; absence of symptomatic vasospasm, delayed cerebral ischemia, and radiological infarction; absence of in-hospital seizures; lack of need for CSF diversion; fewer hours with fever; less severe anemia; and absence of transfusion. On multivariable analysis, the 4 variables that were most strongly associated with excellent outcome were presence of good clinical grade after neurological resuscitation, absence of ICH on initial CT scan, blood transfusion during the hospitalization, and radiological infarctions on final brain imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Excellent outcomes (mRS score 0–1) can be achieved in the majority of patients with aSAH. The likelihood of excellent outcome is predicted by good clinical condition after resuscitation, absence of ICH on presentation, no evidence of infarction on brain imaging, and absence of blood transfusion during hospitalization.

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Joshua D. Hughes, Alejandro A. Rabinstein and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

It has been suggested that increased body mass index (BMI) may confer a protective effect on patients who suffer from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Whether the modality of aneurysm occlusion influences the effect of BMI on patient outcomes is not well understood. The authors aimed to compare the effect of BMI on outcomes for patients with aSAH treated with surgical clipping versus endovascular coiling.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the outcomes for patients admitted to their institution for the management of aSAH treated with either clipping or coiling. BMI at the time of admission was recorded and used to assign patients to a group according to low or high BMI. Cutoff values for BMI were determined by classification and regression tree analysis. Predictors of poor functional outcome (defined as modified Rankin Scale score > 2 measured ≥ 90 days after the ictus) and posttreatment cerebral hypodensities detected during admission were then determined separately for patients treated with clipping or coiling using stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS

Of the 469 patients admitted to the authors’ institution with aSAH who met the study’s inclusion criteria, 144 were treated with clipping and 325 were treated with coiling. In the clipping group, the frequency of poor functional outcome was higher in patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 (47.6% vs 19.0%; p = 0.007). In contrast, in the coiling group, patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 had a lower frequency of poor functional outcome at ≥ 90 days (5.8% vs 30.9%; p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, high BMI was independently associated with an increased (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.20–13.41; p = 0.024) and decreased (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.40; p < 0.001) likelihood of poor functional outcome for patients treated with clipping and coiling, respectively. For patients in the surgical group, BMI ≥ 28.4 kg/m2 was independently associated with incidence of cerebral hypodensities during admission (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.16–5.25; p = 0.018) on multivariate analysis. For patients treated with coiling, BMI ≥ 33.2 kg/m2 was independently associated with reduced odds of hypodensities (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.21–0.89; p = 0.021).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest that BMI may differentially affect functional outcomes after aSAH, depending on treatment modality. These findings may aid in treatment selection for patients with aSAH.

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Editorial

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in the elderly

Giuseppe Lanzino and Alejandro A. Rabinstein

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Meisam Shahsavari and Soodeh Shahsavari

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Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Seung Young Chung, Leslie A. Rudzinski and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of seizures or epileptiform abnormalities on electroencephalography (EEG) studies in patients undergoing surgical treatment for acute subdural hematoma (SDH).

Methods

This was a retrospective study of 134 consecutive patients with acute or acute-on-chronic SDH who underwent surgical treatment at the authors' institution between January 2004 and July 2008. Detailed information was collected regarding baseline clinical data (including preexistent functional impairment); Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) sum scores before and 24 hours after surgery; presence of clinical seizures; EEG findings; and functional outcome on discharge and up to the 6-month follow-up. All brain CT scans were reviewed to calculate SDH volume and midline shift. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score was used for functional assessment, and GOS scores of 1–3 were considered indicative of poor outcome. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify statistical associations.

Results

Clinical seizures or epileptiform changes on EEG were observed during the acute postoperative period in 33 patients (25%). Preexistent functional impairment and seizures/epileptiform EEG findings after surgery were independently associated with poor functional outcome upon hospital discharge (p < 0.001 for both). Preexistent functional impairment (p < 0.001), lower GCS score before surgery (p = 0.04), and lower GCS score 24 hours after surgery (p = 0.007), but not seizures/epileptiform EEG findings, were independently associated with poor functional recovery at 1- to 6-month follow-up evaluations. Seizures/epileptiform EEG findings had a strong association with lower GCS scores after surgery (p = 0.01), and they were more common in patients who underwent evacuation by craniotomy (p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Epileptic complications are common after acute SDH evacuation, and should be suspected in patients with an unanticipated depressed level of consciousness after surgery. Seizures worsen early functional outcome, but delayed favorable recovery is possible. Therefore, one should be cautious when discussing prognosis in the early postoperative period of patients with epileptic complications.

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Stefan A. Dupont, Giuseppe Lanzino, Eelco F. M. Wijdicks and Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Object

In this study, the authors' goal was to minimize false-negative results in the detection of ruptured cerebral aneurysms.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiological information in consecutive adult patients admitted with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to their hospital between January 1, 2002, and January 1, 2008. Patients were grouped based on the presence or absence of a ruptured aneurysm, which was detected by catheter angiography. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors predicting detection of aneurysmal rupture by angiography.

Results

The authors identified 199 patients (121 women [61%]). A ruptured aneurysm was detected in 167 patients (84%). In multivariate analysis, loss of consciousness at the onset of SAH was a strong predictive factor associated with detection of a ruptured aneurysm on subsequent angiography (OR > 100, p = 0.0002). The positive predictive value of loss of consciousness at the onset of SAH for detection of a ruptured aneurysm was 100%.

Conclusions

Loss of consciousness at the onset of SAH is highly predictive of aneurysm rupture. A negative CT angiography study in these patients may be a false result, and a high-quality catheter angiography should be performed.

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Waleed Brinjikji, John Huston III, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Gyeong-Moon Kim, Amir Lerman and Giuseppe Lanzino

Carotid artery stenosis is a well-established risk factor of ischemic stroke, contributing to up to 10%-20% of strokes or transient ischemic attacks. Many clinical trials over the last 20 years have used measurements of carotid artery stenosis as a means to risk stratify patients. However, with improvements in vascular imaging techniques such as CT angiography and MR angiography, ultrasonography, and PET/CT, it is now possible to risk stratify patients, not just on the degree of carotid artery stenosis but also on how vulnerable the plaque is to rupture, resulting in ischemic stroke. These imaging techniques are ushering in an emerging paradigm shift that allows for risk stratifications based on the presence of imaging features such as intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH), plaque ulceration, plaque neovascularity, fibrous cap thickness, and presence of a lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC). It is important for the neurosurgeon to be aware of these new imaging techniques that allow for improved patient risk stratification and outcomes. For example, a patient with a low-grade stenosis but an ulcerated plaque may benefit more from a revascularization procedure than a patient with a stable 70% asymptomatic stenosis with a thick fibrous cap.

This review summarizes the current state-of-the-art advances in carotid plaque imaging. Currently, MRI is the gold standard in carotid plaque imaging, with its high resolution and high sensitivity for identifying IPH, ulceration, LRNC, and inflammation. However, MRI is limited due to time constraints. CT also allows for high-resolution imaging and can accurately detect ulceration and calcification, but cannot reliably differentiate LRNC from IPH. PET/CT is an effective technique to identify active inflammation within the plaque, but it does not allow for assessment of anatomy, ulceration, IPH, or LRNC. Ultrasonography, with the aid of contrast enhancement, is a cost-effective technique to assess plaque morphology and characteristics, but it is limited in sensitivity and specificity for detecting LRNC, plaque hemorrhage, and ulceration compared with MRI.

Also summarized is how these advanced imaging techniques are being used in clinical practice to risk stratify patients with low- and high-grade carotid artery stenosis. For example, identification of IPH on MRI in patients with low-grade carotid artery stenosis is a risk factor for failure of medical therapy, and studies have shown that such patients may fair better with carotid endarterectomy (CEA). MR plaque imaging has also been found to be useful in identifying revascularization candidates who would be better candidates for CEA than carotid artery stenting (CAS), as high intraplaque signal on time of flight imaging is associated with vulnerable plaque and increased rates of adverse events in patients undergoing CAS but not CEA.