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Nicholas J. Brandmeir, James McInerney and Brad E. Zacharia

Over the last several years, laser interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) has gained wide acceptance for the treatment of a myriad of cranial lesions. A wide variety of techniques for placement of the laser fiber have been reported with a spectrum of perceived benefits and drawbacks. The authors present the first report of a customized 3D printed stereotactic frame for LITT.

Approximately 1 week prior to surgery, 3–4 skull fiducials were placed after each of 5 patients received a local anesthetic as an outpatient. Radiographs with these fiducials were then used to create a trajectory to the lesion that would be treated with LITT. After the plan was completed, software was used to render a customized frame. On the day of surgery, the frame was attached to the implanted skull fiducials and the LITT catheter was placed. This procedure was carried out in 5 consecutive patients. In 2 patients, a needle biopsy was also performed.

Intraoperative and postoperative imaging studies confirmed the accurate placement of the LITT catheter and the lesion created. Mean operating room time for all patients was 45 minutes but only 26 minutes when excluding the cases in which a biopsy was performed.

To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of the use of a specific system, the STarFix microTargeting system, for use with LITT and brain biopsy. This system offers several advantages including fast operating times, extensive preoperative planning, no need for cranial fixation, and no need for frame or fiducial placement on the day of surgery. The accuracy of the system combined with these advantages may make this a preferred stereotactic method for LITT, especially in centers where LITT is performed in a diagnostic MRI suite.

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J Mocco, Brad E. Zacharia, Ricardo J. Komotar and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

✓In an effort to help clarify the current state of medical therapy for cerebral vasospasm, the authors reviewed the relevant literature on the established medical therapies used for cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and they discuss burgeoning areas of investigation. Despite advances in the treatment of aneurysmal SAH, cerebral vasospasm remains a common complication and has been correlated with a 1.5- to threefold increase in death during the first 2 weeks after hemorrhage. A number of medical, pharmacological, and surgical therapies are currently in use or being investigated in an attempt to reverse cerebral vasospasm, but only a few have proven to be useful. Although much has been elucidated regarding its pathophysiology, the treatment of cerebral vasospasm remains a dilemma. Although a poor understanding of SAH-induced cerebral vasospasm pathophysiology has, to date, hampered the development of therapeutic interventions, current research efforts promise the eventual production of new medical therapies.

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Ricardo J. Komotar, J Mocco, Jess E. Jones, Brad E. Zacharia, Tarik Tihan, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Pilomyxoid astrocytoma (PMA) is a recently defined pediatric brain tumor; PMAs were previously classified within the pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) category. Nevertheless, PMA has different histological features and has been shown to behave more aggressively than PA. These findings indicate that PMA may be a unique entity that is distinct from PA, or it may be an unusual variant. To increase awareness of PMA within the neurosurgical community, the authors review the diagnostic criteria, prognostic implications, and current management of this recently described pediatric low-grade astrocytoma.

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Bartosz T. Grobelny, Andrew F. Ducruet, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary L. Hickman, Kristen N. Andersen, Eric Sussman, Austin Carpenter and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Despite the prevalence of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDHs) in the rapidly growing elderly population, several aspects of disease management remain unclear. In particular, there is still conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of antiepileptic drug (AED) prophylaxis in patients with CSDH who undergo bur hole drainage. The authors endeavored to evaluate the efficacy of AED prophylaxis in reducing the incidence of seizures and improving outcome in this patient population.

Methods

A single surgeon's clinical database (E.S.C.) was analyzed for cases involving bur hole drainage for CSDH. Cases involving nonhemorrhagic subdural effusions as well as acute subdural hemorrhages evacuated by craniotomy were excluded from this study. Patient medical records were evaluated for relevant demographic data, medical history, imaging characteristics, clinical details of the treatment, hospital stay, and discharge summaries.

Results

The authors included 88 patients with bur hole–treated CSDH. Eleven patients (12.5%) suffered at least 1 seizure between hemorrhage onset and discharge from their treatment hospital admission. Seizures were more frequent in women than men (p = 0.030) and least frequent in patients with right-sided lesions (p = 0.030). In a multiple logistic regression model, preoperative initiation of AED prophylaxis was the only significant predictor of the lower incidence of postoperative seizures (OR 0.10, p = 0.013). However, preoperative initiation of AED prophylaxis did not significantly affect outcome at discharge.

Conclusions

The finding in this study demonstrates that preoperative AED prophylaxis likely reduces the incidence of postoperative seizures in patients with CSDH treated with bur hole drainage. A future prospective randomized study is necessary to evaluate the effect of seizure reduction on clinical outcome.

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Robert A. McGovern, John P. Sheehy, Brad E. Zacharia, Andrew K. Chan, Blair Ford and Guy M. McKhann II

Object

Early work on deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, when procedures were mostly carried out in a small number of high-volume centers, demonstrated a relationship between surgical volume and procedural safety. However, over the past decade, DBS has become more widely available in the community rather than solely at academic medical centers. The authors examined the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) to study the safety of DBS surgery for Parkinson disease (PD) in association with this change in practice patterns.

Methods

The NIS is a stratified sample of 20% of all patient discharges from nonfederal hospitals in the United States. The authors identified patients with a primary diagnosis of PD (332.0) and a primary procedure code for implantation/replacement of intracranial neurostimulator leads (02.93) who underwent surgery between 2002 and 2009. They analyzed outcomes using univariate and hierarchical, logistic regression analyses.

Results

The total number of DBS cases remained stable from 2002 through 2009. Despite older and sicker patients undergoing DBS, procedural safety (rates of non-home discharges, complications) remained stable. Patients at low-volume hospitals were virtually indistinguishable from those at high-volume hospitals, except that patients at low-volume hospitals had slightly higher comorbidity scores (0.90 vs 0.75, p < 0.01). Complications, non-home discharges, length of hospital stay, and mortality rates did not significantly differ between low- and high-volume hospitals when accounting for hospital-related variables (caseload, teaching status, location).

Conclusions

Prior investigations have demonstrated a robust volume-outcome relationship for a variety of surgical procedures. However, the present study supports safety of DBS at smaller-volume centers. Prospective studies are required to determine whether low-volume centers and higher-volume centers have similar DBS efficacy, a critical factor in determining whether DBS is comparable between centers.

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Simon G. Heuts, Samuel S. Bruce, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary L. Hickman, Christopher P. Kellner, Eric S. Sussman, Michael M. McDowell, Rachel A. Bruce and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Large intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), compounded by perihematomal edema, can produce severe elevations of intracranial pressure (ICP). Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) with or without clot evacuation has been considered a part of the armamentarium of treatment options for these patients. The authors sought to assess the preliminary utility of DHC without evacuation for ICH in patients with supratentorial, dominant-sided lesions.

Methods

From September 2009 to May 2012, patients with ICH who were admitted to the neurological ICU at Columbia University Medical Center were prospectively enrolled in that institution's ICH Outcomes Project (ICHOP). Five patients with spontaneous supratentorial dominant-sided ICH underwent DHC without clot evacuation for recalcitrant elevated ICP. Data pertaining to the patients' characteristics and outcomes of treatment were prospectively collected.

Results

The patients' median age was 43 years (range 30–55 years) and the ICH etiology was hypertension in 4 of 5 patients, and systemic lupus erythematosus vasculitis in 1 patient. On admission, the median Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 7 (range 5–9). The median ICH volume was 53 cm3 (range 28–79 cm3), and the median midline shift was 7.6 mm (range 3.0–11.3 mm). One day after surgery, the median decrease in midline shift was 2.7 mm (range 1.5–4.6 mm), and the median change in GCS score was +1 (range −3 to +5). At discharge, all patients were still alive, and the median GCS score was 10 (range 9–11), the median modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score was 5 (range 5–5), and the median NIHSS (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale) score was 22 (range 17–27). Six months after hemorrhage, 1 patient had died, 2 were functionally dependent (mRS Score 4–5), and 2 were functionally independent (mRS Score 0–3). Outcomes for the patients treated with DHC were good compared with 1) outcomes for all patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH admitted during the same period (n = 144) and 2) outcomes for matched patients (dominant ICH, GCS Score 5–9, ICH volume 28–79 cm3, age < 60 years) whose cases were managed nonoperatively (n = 5).

Conclusions

Decompressive hemicraniectomy without clot evacuation appears feasible in patients with large ICH and deserves further investigation, preferably in a randomized controlled setting.

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Geoffrey Appelboom, Stephen D. Zoller, Matthew A. Piazza, Caroline Szpalski, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Kerry A. Vaughan, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary Hickman, Anthony D'Ambrosio, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the current leading cause of death in children over 1 year of age. Adequate management and care of pediatric patients is critical to ensure the best functional outcome in this population. In their controversial trial, Cooper et al. concluded that decompressive craniectomy following TBI did not improve clinical outcome of the analyzed adult population. While the study did not target pediatric populations, the results do raise important and timely clinical questions regarding the effectiveness of decompressive surgery in pediatric patients. There is still a paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness of this therapy in a pediatric population, and there is an especially noticeable knowledge gap surrounding age-stratified interventions in pediatric trauma. The purposes of this review are to first explore the anatomical variations between pediatric and adult populations in the setting of TBI. Second, the authors assess how these differences between adult and pediatric populations could translate into differences in the impact of decompressive surgery following TBI.

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Brad E. Zacharia, Kerry A. Vaughan, Zachary L. Hickman, Samuel S. Bruce, Amanda M. Carpenter, Nils H. Petersen, Stacie Deiner, Neeraj Badjatia and E. Sander Connolly Jr

Object

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is frequently complicated by acute hydrocephalus, necessitating emergency CSF diversion with a subset of patients, ultimately requiring long-term treatment via placement of permanent ventricular shunts. It is unclear what factors may predict the need for ventricular shunt placement in this patient population.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a prospective database (ICH Outcomes Project) containing patients with nontraumatic ICH admitted to the neurological ICU at Columbia University Medical Center between January 2009 and September 2011. A multiple logistic regression model was developed to identify independent predictors of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after ICH. The following variables were included: patient age, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, temporal horn diameter on admission CT imaging, bicaudate index, admission ICH volume and location, intraventricular hemorrhage volume, Graeb score, LeRoux score, third or fourth ventricle hemorrhage, and intracranial pressure (ICP) and ventriculitis during hospital stay.

Results

Of 210 patients prospectively enrolled in the ICH Outcomes Project, 64 required emergency CSF diversion via placement of an external ventricular drain and were included in the final cohort. Thirteen of these patients underwent permanent ventricular CSF shunting prior to discharge. In univariate analysis, only thalamic hemorrhage and elevated ICP were significantly associated with the requirement for permanent CSF diversion, with p values of 0.008 and 0.033, respectively. Each remained significant in a multiple logistic regression model in which both variables were present.

Conclusions

Of patients with ICH requiring emergency CSF diversion, those with persistently elevated ICP and thalamic location of their hemorrhage are at increased odds of developing persistent hydrocephalus, necessitating permanent ventricular shunt placement. These factors may assist in predicting which patients will require permanent CSF diversion and could ultimately lead to improvements in the management of this disorder and the outcome in patients with ICH.

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Adam M. Sonabend, Brad E. Zacharia, Hannah Goldstein, Samuel S. Bruce, Dawn Hershman, Alfred I. Neugut and Jeffrey N. Bruce

Object

Central nervous system (CNS) hemangiopericytomas are relatively uncommon and unique among CNS tumors as they can originate from or develop metastases outside of the CNS. Significant difference of opinion exists in the management of these lesions, as current treatment paradigms are based on limited clinical experience and single-institution series. Given these limitations and the absence of prospective clinical trials within the literature, nationwide registries have the potential to provide unique insight into the efficacy of various therapies.

Methods

The authors queried the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database to investigate the clinical behavior and prognostic factors for hemangiopericytomas originating within the CNS during the years 2000–2009. The SEER survival data were adjusted for demographic factors including age, sex, and race. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify characteristics associated with overall survival.

Results

The authors identified 227 patients with a diagnosis of CNS hemangiopericytoma. The median length of follow-up was 34 months (interquartile range 11–63 months). Median survival was not reached, but the 5-year survival rate was 83%. Univariate analysis showed that age and radiation therapy were significantly associated with survival. Moreover, young age and supratentorial location were significantly associated with survival on multivariate analysis. Most importantly, multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model showed a statistically significant survival benefit for patients treated with gross-total resection (GTR) in combination with adjuvant radiation treatment (HR 0.31 [95% CI 0.01–0.95], p = 0.04), an effect not appreciated with GTR alone.

Conclusions

The authors describe the epidemiology of CNS hemangiopericytomas in a large, national cancer database, evaluating the effectiveness of various treatment paradigms used in clinical practice. In this study, an overall survival benefit was found when GTR was accomplished and combined with radiation therapy. This finding has not been appreciated in previous series of patients with CNS hemangiopericytoma and warrants future investigations into the role of upfront adjuvant radiation therapy.

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Brad E. Zacharia, Sweena Kahn, Evan D. Bander, Gustav Y. Cederquist, William P. Cope, Lily McLaughlin, Alexa Hijazi, Anne S. Reiner, Ilya Laufer and Mark Bilsky

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study aimed to identify the incidence of and risk factors for preoperative deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in patients undergoing surgical treatment for spinal metastases.

METHODS

Univariate analysis of patient age, sex, ethnicity, laboratory values, comorbidities, preoperative ambulatory status, histopathological classification, spinal level, and surgical details was performed. Factors significantly associated with DVT univariately were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model.

RESULTS

The authors identified 314 patients, of whom 232 (73.9%) were screened preoperatively for a DVT. Of those screened, 22 (9.48%) were diagnosed with a DVT. The screened patients were older (median 62 vs 55 years, p = 0.0008), but otherwise similar in baseline characteristics. Nonambulatory status, previous history of DVT, lower partial thromboplastin time, and lower hemoglobin level were statistically significant and independent factors associated with positive results of screening for a DVT. Results of screening were positive in only 6.4% of ambulatory patients in contrast to 24.4% of nonambulatory patients, yielding an odds ratio of 4.73 (95% CI 1.88–11.90). All of the patients who had positive screening results underwent preoperative placement of an inferior vena cava filter.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients requiring surgery for spinal metastases represent a population with unique risks for venous thromboembolism. This study showed a 9.48% incidence of DVT in patients screened preoperatively. The highest rates of preoperative DVT were identified in nonambulatory patients, who were found to have a 4-fold increase in the likelihood of harboring a DVT. Understanding the preoperative thrombotic status may provide an opportunity for early intervention and risk stratification in this critically ill population.