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Gregorio R. Boto, Ramiro D. Lobato, Juan J. Rivas, Pedro A. Gomez, Adolfo de la Lama, and Alfonso Lagares

Object. The authors analyzed the clinicoradiological presentation of traumatic basal ganglia hematomas (TBGHs) in severely head injured (SHI) patients.

Methods. The records of 37 patients (28 male and nine female patients with a mean age of 28 years) in whom computerized tomography (CT) scans revealed TBGHs 2 ml or more in volume were retrospectively reviewed. These cases represented 2.4% of the total series of 1526 SHI patients admitted to the authors' institution between 1979 and 1998. Thirty-five patients (94%) were involved in traffic accidents and only two exhibited a period of lucidity. Associated extracranial injuries were seen in 21 patients (57%) and coagulation disorders in 32 (86%). Skull fracture was present in 10 (43%) of the 23 patients in whom skull x-ray films were obtained. Computerized tomography findings indicated diffuse axonal injury in 27 patients (73%), intraventricular hemorrhage in 22 patients (59%), and subarachnoid hemorrhage in 16 patients (43%). In all but two patients, the TBGHs were visible on the initial CT scan, and in 28 cases (76%) these hematomas were contralateral to the side of impact. Hematoma enlargement over the first few posttraumatic days was noted in 65% of the patients in whom control CT scans had been obtained (22 of 34 patients). Four patients (11%) underwent surgery to remove their TBGHs. Final outcomes were poor: 22 patients (59%) died, two (5%) became vegetative, seven (19%) experienced severe disabilities, and only six patients (16%) made a favorable recovery.

Conclusions. Traumatic basal ganglia hematomas are dynamic lesions that tend to enlarge during the acute posttraumatic period. The overall prognosis in this series was poor. Patients in whom the volume of the hematoma was larger than 25 ml and those in whom hematoma volume enlargement or raised intracranial pressure occurred had the worst outcomes, perhaps indicating the need for a more aggressive surgical treatment.

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José F. Alén, Alfonso Lagares, Igor Paredes, Jorge Campollo, Pedro Navia, Ana Ramos, and Ramiro D. Lobato

Object

Microarteriovenous malformations (micro-AVMs) are a rare subgroup of brain AVMs characterized by a nidus smaller than 1 cm. The authors' purpose in this study was to assess the clinical presentation, radiological features, therapeutic management, and outcome of these lesions.

Methods

All angiography studies performed at the authors' institution since 2000 for the diagnosis of AVM were retrospectively reviewed. Clinicoradiological findings, therapeutic management, and outcome were evaluated.

Results

Twenty-eight patients had presented with AVMs having a nidus diameter smaller than 1 cm or no clearly identifiable nidus but an early draining vein. All patients, except 2, presented with intracranial hemorrhage, and 12 patients had a focal deficit. Supratentorial hematomas were large (mean volume 25 ml), and in 8 patients hematomas were evacuated urgently. In 6 patients cerebral digital subtraction angiography studies were normal. Magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic MR angiography revealed an AVM in 4 of these 6 patients. Treatment of the AVM consisted of surgery in 16 cases, radiosurgery in 6, and endovascular embolization in 2, and there were no posttreatment deficits. Four patients received no treatment because of their poor condition. The AVM was occluded at the follow-up in all patients treated with surgery or embolization and in 4 of the 6 patients treated with radiosurgery. The Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score was good (GOS 4–5) in 23 patients (82%) and poor (GOS 3–2) in 5 (18%).

Conclusions

Patients with micro-AVMs generally present with large intracranial hemorrhages and neurological deficits. If the initial angiography is negative, then delayed or superselective angiography is recommended. Magnetic resonance imaging may reveal the existence of these lesions. Surgery is the treatment of choice for superficial micro-AVMs, and radiosurgery or embolization can be considered for deep lesions.

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Jose F. Alén, Alfonso Lagares, Ramiro D. Lobato, Pedro A. Gómez, Juan J. Rivas, and Ana Ramos

Object. Some authors have questioned the need to perform cerebral angiography in patients presenting with a benign clinical picture and a perimesencephalic pattern of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) on initial computerized tomography (CT) scans, because the low probability of finding an aneurysm does not justify exposing patients to the risks of angiography. It has been stated, however, that ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms may present with a perimesencephalic SAH pattern in up to 10% of cases. The aim of the present study was twofold: to define the frequency of the perimesencephalic SAH pattern in the setting of ruptured posterior fossa aneurysms, and to determine whether this clinical syndrome and pattern of bleeding could be reliably and definitely distinguished from that of aneurysmal SAH.

Methods. Twenty-eight patients with ruptured posterior circulation aneurysms and 44 with nonaneurysmal perimesencephalic SAH were selected from a series of 408 consecutive patients with spontaneous SAH admitted to the authors' institution. The admission unenhanced CT scans were evaluated by a neuroradiologist in a blinded fashion and classified as revealing a perimesencephalic SAH or a nonperimesencephalic pattern of bleeding.

Of the 28 patients with posterior circulation aneurysms, five whose grade was I according to the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies scale were classified as having a perimesencephalic SAH pattern on the initial CT scan. The data show that the likelihood of finding an aneurysm on angiographic studies obtained in a patient with a perimesencephalic SAH pattern is 8.9%. Conversely, ruptured aneurysms of the posterior circulation present with an early perimesencephalic SAH pattern in 16.6% of cases.

Conclusions. This study supports the impression that there is no completely sensitive and specific CT pattern for a nonaneurysmal SAH. In addition, the authors believe that there is no specific clinical syndrome that can differentiate patients who have a perimesencephalic SAH pattern caused by an aneurysm from those without aneurysms. Digital subtraction angiography continues to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of cerebral aneurysms and should be performed even in patients who have the characteristic perimesencephalic SAH pattern on admission CT scans.

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Mohamed Samy Elhammady and Roberto C. Heros

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Santiago Cepeda, Ana María Castaño-León, Pablo M. Munarriz, Igor Paredes, Irene Panero, Carla Eiriz, Pedro A. Gómez, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (TICH) represents approximately 13%–48% of the lesions after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and hemorrhagic progression (HP) occurs in 38%–63% of cases. In previous studies, decompressive craniectomy (DC) has been characterized as a risk factor in the HP of TICH; however, few studies have focused exclusively on this relationship. The object of the present study was to analyze the relationship between DC and the growth of TICH and to reveal any correlation with the size of the craniectomy, degree of cerebral parenchymal herniation (CPH), or volumetric expansion of the TICH.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the records of 497 adult patients who had been consecutively admitted after suffering a severe or moderate closed TBI. An inclusion criterion was presentation with one or more TICHs on the initial or control CT. Demographic, clinical, radiological, and treatment variables were assessed for associations.

RESULTS

Two hundred three patients presenting with 401 individual TICHs met the selection criteria. TICH growth was observed in 281 cases (70.1%). Eighty-two cases (20.4%) underwent craniectomy without TICH evacuation. In the craniectomy group, HP was observed in 71 cases (86.6%); in the noncraniectomy group (319 cases), HP occurred in 210 cases (65.8%). The difference in the incidence of HP between the two groups was statistically significant (OR 3.41, p < 0.01). The mean area of the craniectomy was 104.94 ± 27.5 cm2, and the mean CPH distance through the craniectomy was 17.85 ± 11.1 mm. The mean increase in the TICH volume was greater in the groups with a craniectomy area > 115 cm2 and CPH > 25 mm (16.12 and 14.47 cm3, respectively, p = 0.01 and 0.02). After calculating the propensity score (PS), the authors followed three statistical methods—matching, stratification, and inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW)—thereby obtaining an adequate balance of the covariates. A statistically significant relationship was found between HP and craniectomy (OR 2.77, p = 0.004). This correlation was confirmed with the three methodologies based on the PS with odds greater than 2.

CONCLUSIONS

DC is a risk factor for the growth of TICH, and there is also an association between the size of the DC and the magnitude of the volume increase in the TICH.

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Daniel García-Pérez, Irene Panero-Pérez, Carla Eiriz Fernández, Luis Miguel Moreno-Gomez, Olga Esteban-Sinovas, Blanca Navarro-Main, Pedro A. Gómez López, Ana M. Castaño-León, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

Acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Surgical evacuation is the mainstay of treatment in patients with altered neurological status or significant mass effect. Nevertheless, concerns regarding surgical indication still persist. Given that clinicians often make therapeutic decisions on the basis of their prognosis assessment, to accurately evaluate the prognosis is of great significance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of specific and reliable prognostic models. In addition, the interdependence of certain well-known predictive variables usually employed to guide surgical decision-making in ASDH has been proven. Because gray matter and white matter are highly susceptible to secondary insults during the early phase after TBI, the authors aimed to assess the extent of these secondary insults with a brain parenchyma densitometric quantitative CT analysis and to evaluate its prognostic capacity.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis among their prospectively collected cohort of patients with moderate to severe TBI. Patients with surgically evacuated, isolated, unilateral ASDH admitted between 2010 and 2017 were selected. Thirty-nine patients were included. For each patient, brain parenchyma density in Hounsfield units (HUs) was measured in 10 selected slices from the supratentorial region. In each slice, different regions of interest (ROIs), including and excluding the cortical parenchyma, were defined. The injured hemisphere, the contralateral hemisphere, and the absolute differences between them were analyzed. The outcome was evaluated using the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended at 1 year after TBI.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients (38.5%) had a favorable outcome. Collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data did not show significant differences between favorable and unfavorable outcomes. In contrast, the densitometric analysis demonstrated that greater absolute differences between both hemispheres were associated with poor outcome. These differences were detected along the supratentorial region, but were greater at the high convexity level. Moreover, these HU differences were far more marked at the cortical parenchyma. It was also detected that these differences were more prone to ischemic and/or edematous insults than to hyperemic changes. Age was significantly correlated with the side-to-side HU differences in patients with unfavorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The densitometric analysis is a promising prognostic tool in patients diagnosed with ASDH. The supplementary prognostic information provided by the densitometric analysis should be evaluated in future studies.

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Ariel Kaen, Luis Jimenez-Roldan, Rafael Alday, Pedro A. Gomez, Alfonso Lagares, José Fernández Alén, and Ramiro D. Lobato

Object

The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of posttraumatic hydrocephalus in severely head-injured patients who required decompressive craniectomy (DC). Additional objectives were to determine the relationship between hydrocephalus and several clinical and radiological features, with special attention to subdural hygromas as a sign of distortion of the CSF circulation.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 73 patients with severe head injury who required DC. The patients were admitted to the authors' department between January 2000 and January 2006. Posttraumatic hydrocephalus was defined as: 1) modified frontal horn index greater than 33%, and 2) the presence of Gudeman CT criteria. Hygromas were diagnosed based on subdural fluid collection and classified according to location of the craniectomy.

Results

Hydrocephalus was diagnosed in 20 patients (27.4%). After uni- and multivariate analysis, the presence of interhemispheric hygromas (IHHs) was the only independent prognostic factor for development of posttraumatic hydrocephalus (p < 0.0001). More than 80% of patients with IHHs developed hydrocephalus within the first 50 days of undergoing DC. In all cases the presence of hygromas preceded the diagnosis of hydrocephalus. The IHH predicts the development of hydrocephalus after DC with 94% sensitivity and 96% specificity. The presence of an IHH showed an area under the receiver-operator characteristic of 0.951 (95% CI 0.87–1.00; p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Hydrocephalus was observed in 27.4% of the patients with severe traumatic brain injury who required DC. The presence of IHHs was a predictive radiological sign of hydrocephalus development within the first 6 months of DC in patients with severe head injury.

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Ana M. Castaño-Leon, Marta Cicuendez, Blanca Navarro-Main, Igor Paredes, Pablo M. Munarriz, Amaya Hilario, Ana Ramos, Pedro A. Gomez, and Alfonso Lagares

OBJECTIVE

A traumatic axonal injury (TAI) diagnosis has traditionally been based on conventional MRI, especially on those sequences with a higher sensitivity to edema and blood degradation products. A more recent technique, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), can infer the microstructure of white matter (WM) due to the restricted diffusion of water in organized tissues. However, there is little information regarding the correlation of the findings obtained by both methods and their use for outcome prognosis. The main objectives of this study were threefold: 1) study the correlation between DTI metrics and conventional MRI findings; 2) evaluate whether the prognostic information provided by the two techniques is supplementary or complementary; and 3) determine the incremental value of the addition of these variables compared to a traditional prognostic model.

METHODS

The authors studied 185 patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who underwent MRI with DTI study during the subacute stage. The number and volume of lesions in hemispheric subcortical WM, corpus callosum (CC), basal ganglia, thalamus, and brainstem in at least four conventional MRI sequences (T1-weighted, T2-weighted, FLAIR, T2* gradient recalled echo, susceptibility-weighted imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging) were determined. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured in 28 WM bundles using the region of interest method. Nonparametric tests were used to evaluate the colocalization of macroscopic lesions and FA. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the independent prognostic value of each neuroimaging modality after adjustment for relevant clinical covariates, and the internal validation of the model was evaluated in a contemporary cohort of 92 patients.

RESULTS

Differences in the lesion load between patients according to their severity and outcome were found. Colocalization of macroscopic nonhemorrhagic TAI lesions (not microbleeds) and lower FA was limited to the internal and external capsule, corona radiata, inferior frontooccipital fasciculus, CC, and brainstem. However, a significant association between the FA value and the identification of macroscopic lesions in distant brain regions was also detected. Specifically, lower values of FA of some hemispheric WM bundles and the splenium of the CC were related to a higher number and volume of hyperintensities in the brainstem. The regression analysis revealed that age, motor score, hypoxia, FA of the genu of the CC, characterization of TAI lesions in the CC, and the presence of thalamic/basal ganglia lesions were independent prognostic factors. The performance of the proposed model was higher than that of the IMPACT (International Mission on Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials in TBI) model in the validation cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Very limited colocalization of hyperintensities (none for microbleeds) with FA values was discovered. DTI and conventional MRI provide complementary prognostic information, and their combination can improve the performance of traditional prognostic models.

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Luis Jiménez-Roldán, Jose F. Alén, Pedro A. Gómez, Ramiro D. Lobato, Ana Ramos, Pablo M. Munarriz, and Alfonso Lagares

Object

There were two main purposes to this study: first, to assess the feasibility and reliability of 2 quantitative methods to assess bleeding volume in patients who suffered spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and second, to compare these methods to other qualitative and semiquantitative scales in terms of reliability and accuracy in predicting delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) and outcome.

Methods

A prospective series of 150 patients consecutively admitted to the Hospital 12 de Octubre over a 4-year period were included in the study. All of these patients had a diagnosis of SAH, and diagnostic CT was able to be performed in the first 24 hours after the onset of the symptoms. All CT scans were evaluated by 2 independent observers in a blinded fashion, using 2 different quantitative methods to estimate the aneurysmal bleeding volume: region of interest (ROI) volume and the Cavalieri method. The images were also graded using the Fisher scale, modified Fisher scale, Claasen scale, and the semiquantitative Hijdra scale. Weighted κ coefficients were calculated for assessing the interobserver reliability of qualitative scales and the Hijdra scores. For assessing the intermethod and interrater reliability of volumetric measurements, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used as well as the methodology proposed by Bland and Altman. Finally, weighted κ coefficients were calculated for the different quartiles of the volumetric measurements to make comparison with qualitative scales easier. Patients surviving more than 48 hours were included in the analysis of DCI predisposing factors and analyzed using the chi-square or the Mann-Whitney U-tests. Logistic regression analysis was used for predicting DCI and outcome in the different quartiles of bleeding volume to obtain adjusted ORs. The diagnostic accuracy of each scale was obtained by calculating the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

Results

Qualitative scores showed a moderate interobserver reproducibility (weighted κ indexes were always < 0.65), whereas the semiquantitative and quantitative scores had a very strong interobserver reproducibility. Reliability was very high for all quantitative measures as expressed by the ICCs for intermethod and interobserver agreement. Poor outcome and DCI occurred in 49% and 31% of patients, respectively. Larger bleeding volumes were related to a poorer outcome and a higher risk of developing DCI, and the proportion of patients suffering DCI or a poor outcome increased with each quartile, maintaining this relationship after adjusting for the main clinical factors related to outcome. Quantitative analysis of total bleeding volume achieved the highest AUC, and had a greater discriminative ability than the qualitative scales for predicting the development of DCI and outcome.

Conclusions

The use of quantitative measures may reduce interobserver variability in comparison with categorical scales. These measures are feasible using dedicated software and show a better prognostic capability in relation to outcome and DCI than conventional categorical scales.