Alejandro N. Santos, Laurèl Rauschenbach, Marvin Darkwah Oppong, Bixia Chen, Annika Herten, Michael Forsting, Ulrich Sure and Philipp Dammann
Treatment indications for patients with brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) remain difficult and controversial. Some authors have tried to establish classification tools to identify eligible candidates for surgery. Authors of this study aimed to validate the performance and replicability of two proposed BSCM grading systems, the Lawton-Garcia (LG) and the Dammann-Sure (DS) systems.
For this cross-sectional study, a database was screened for patients with BSCM treated surgically between 2003 and 2019 in the authors’ department. Complete clinical records, preoperative contrast-enhanced MRI, and a postoperative follow-up ≥ 6 months were mandatory for study inclusion. The modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score was determined to quantify neurological function and outcome. Three observers independently determined the LG and the DS score for each patient.
A total of 67 patients met selection criteria. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified multiple bleedings (p = 0.02, OR 5.59), lesion diameter (> 20 mm, p = 0.007, OR 5.43), and patient age (> 50 years, p = 0.019, OR 4.26) as predictors of an unfavorable postoperative functional outcome. Both the LG (AUC = 0.72, p = 0.01) and the DS (AUC = 0.78, p < 0.01) scores were robust tools to estimate patient outcome. Subgroup analyses confirmed this observation for both grading systems (LG: p = 0.005, OR 6; DS: p = 0.026, OR 4.5), but the combined use of the two scales enhanced the test performance significantly (p = 0.001, OR 22.5).
Currently available classification systems are appropriate tools to estimate the neurological outcome after BSCM surgery. Future studies are needed to design an advanced scoring system, incorporating items from the LG and the DS score systems.
Philipp Dammann, Annika Herten, Alejandro N. Santos, Laurèl Rauschenbach, Bixia Chen, Marvin Darkwah Oppong, Börge Schmidt, Michael Forsting, Christoph Kleinschnitz and Ulrich Sure
The object of this study was to assess outcome after surgery for brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) using functional, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and psychological surveys to analyze the interrelation of these measurements, and to compare HRQOL and anxiety and depression scores with those in a healthy population.
The authors performed a cross-sectional outcome study of all patients surgically treated for BSCM in their department between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2019. They assessed functional outcome via the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), health-related quality of life (HRQOL) via the SF-36 and 9-item Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (LISAT-9), cranial nerve and brainstem function using a questionnaire, symptom-based psychological outcome via the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and timepoint of a return to previous employment. They analyzed the correlation between absolute (mRS score ≤ 2) and relative (postoperative deterioration in initial mRS score) outcome endpoints and the interrelation of the outcome measures and performed a comparison of HRQOL and HADS scores with findings in a healthy population.
Seventy-four patients were eligible for inclusion in the study. HRQOL was impaired after surgery for BSCM compared to that in a healthy population. This impairment was substantial in patients with an unfavorable functional outcome (mRS > 2) but was also present in those with a favorable outcome (mRS ≤ 2) in selected domains. Psychological impairment was negligible in patients with a favorable outcome and grave in those with an unfavorable outcome. LISAT-9 results revealed that brainstem and cranial nerve symptoms reduce satisfaction mainly in self-care abilities for both unfavorable and favorable outcome patients. Among the brainstem and cranial nerve symptoms, balance impairment showed the most significant impact on HRQOL. Absolute outcome endpoints were superior to relative outcome endpoints in reflecting impairment in HRQOL after surgery.
The study data can improve patient counseling and decision-making in BSCM treatment and may function as a benchmark. The authors report outcomes after BSCM surgery in high detail, emphasizing the specific impact of cranial nerve and brainstem symptoms on HRQOL. When reporting BSCM surgery outcome, absolute outcome endpoints should be applied.