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Brian T. Jankowitz and A. Leland Albright

✓A split cord malformation (SCM) is a rare congenital disorder involving a division of the spinal cord that results in two distinct hemicords divided by bone, cartilage, or a fibrous septum. Cutaneous manifestations of SCMs are common, including hypertrichosis, dimples, hemangiomas, nevi, lipomas, and sinus tracts. In this report, the authors describe cutaneous manifestations of SCMs in three patients, including a rare report of near fully formed digits overlying the SCM.

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Brian T. Jankowitz, Nirav Vora, Tudor Jovin and Michael Horowitz

Object

Onyx-18 is a relatively new liquid embolic agent. The initial success with this polymer will result in increased utilization in children, but its use and safety in the pediatric population have not been firmly established.

Methods

Between December 2005 and January 2008, the cerebral vascular malformations in 6 children were embolized using Onyx-18. The ages of the patients ranged from 1 day to 12 years. Pathological types of the vascular malformations included 4 arteriovenous malformations and 2 vein of Galen malformations. Clinical presentations included intracranial hemorrhage in 2 patients, papilledema in 1 patient, and high-output heart failure in 3 patients.

Results

In 6 pediatric patients, 21 embolization procedures were performed utilizing a combination of Onyx-18, platinum coils, and Embosphere microspheres. The average estimated size reduction for the arteriovenous malformations was 60%. Total obliteration of a malformation was achieved in 1 patient. Two patients received adjuvant radiosurgery. Of the 2 vein of Galen malformations, one was completely embolized and the other had an ~ 50% reduction in flow. No open surgical intervention was used. Clinical follow-up ranged from 7 to 12 months. Angiographic follow-up data were obtained at 1, 6, and 7 months in 3 patients, whereas 1 patient awaits repeat angiography. Complications included a transient monoparesis with complete resolution in 1 patient. Two patients died within 24 hours of an embolization procedure due to intracranial hemorrhages.

Conclusions

Onyx-18 is a feasible embolization agent for use in intracranial vascular malformations in the pediatric population, but long-term follow-up data will be necessary to assess the continued efficacy and safety of this agent.

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Richard H. Singleton, Brian T. Jankowitz, Daniel A. Wecht and Paul A. Gardner

Object

The use of commercially available topical hemostatic adjuncts has increased the safety profile of surgery as a whole. Cranial surgery has also benefited from the development of numerous agents designed to permit more rapid achievement of hemostasis. Flowable topical hemostatic agents applied via syringe injection are now commonly employed in many neurosurgical procedures, including cranial surgery. Intravascular use of these strongly thrombogenic agents is contraindicated, but in certain settings, inadvertent intravascular administration can occur, resulting in vascular occlusion, thrombosis, and potential dissemination. To date, there have no reports detailing the presence and incidence of this complication.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all cranial surgeries performed at Presbyterian University Hospital by members of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Department of Neurological Surgery between 2007 and 2009. Cases complicated by vascular occlusion due to inadvertent intravascular administration of flowable topical hemostatic matrix (FTHM) were identified and analyzed.

Results

Iatrogenic vascular occlusion induced by FTHM was identified in 5 (0.1%) of 3969 cranial surgery cases. None of these events occurred in 3318 supratentorial cases, whereas 5 cases of cerebral venous sinus occlusion occurred in 651 infratentorial cases (0.8%). The risk of accidental vessel occlusion was significantly associated with infratentorial surgery, and all events occurred in the transverse and/or sigmoid sinus. No episodes of inadvertent vascular occlusion occurred during endoscopic surgery. No cases of arterial occlusion were identified. Of the 5 patients with FTHM-related cerebral venous sinus occlusion, none developed long-term neurological sequelae referable to the event.

Conclusions

Inadvertent intravascular administration of FTHM is a rare complication associated with cranial surgery that occurs most commonly during infratentorial procedures around the transverse and/or sigmoid sinuses. Modifications in the choice of when to use an FTHM and the method of application may help prevent accidental venous sinus administration.

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Bradley A. Gross, Ashutosh P. Jadhav, Brian T. Jankowitz and Tudor G. Jovin

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Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, Yash K. Pandya, Ashutosh P. Jadhav, Tudor Jovin, Robert M. Friedlander, Kenneth J. Smith and Brian T. Jankowitz

OBJECTIVE

The price of coils used for intracranial aneurysm embolization has continued to rise despite an increase in competition in the marketplace. Coils on the US market range in list price from $500 to $3000. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential cost savings with the use of a price capitation model.

METHODS

The authors built a clinical decision analytical tree and compared their institution’s current expenditure on endovascular coils to the costs if a capped-price model were implemented. They retrospectively reviewed coil and cost data for 148 patients who underwent coil embolization from January 2015 through September 2016. Data on the length and number of coils used in all patients were collected and analyzed. The probabilities of a treated aneurysm being ≤/> 10 mm in maximum dimension, the total number of coils used for a case being ≤/> 5, and the total length of coils used for a case being ≤/> 50 cm were calculated, as was the mean cost of the currently used coils for all possible combinations of events with these probabilities. Using the same probabilities, the authors calculated the expected value of the capped-price strategy in comparison with the current one. They also conducted multiple 1-way sensitivity analyses by applying plausible ranges to the probabilities and cost variables. The robustness of the results was confirmed by applying individual distributions to all studied variables and conducting probabilistic sensitivity analysis.

RESULTS

Ninety-five (64%) of 148 patients presented with a rupture, and 53 (36%) were treated on an elective basis. The mean aneurysm size was 6.7 mm. A total of 1061 coils were used from a total of 4 different providers. Companies A (72%) and B (16%) accounted for the major share of coil consumption. The mean number of coils per case was 7.3. The mean cost per case (for all coils) was $10,434. The median total length of coils used, for all coils, was 42 cm. The calculated probability of treating an aneurysm less than 10 mm in maximum dimension was 0.83, for using 5 coils or fewer per case it was 0.42, and for coil length of 50 cm or less it was 0.89. The expected cost per case with the capped policy was calculated to be $4000, a cost savings of $6564 in comparison with using the price of Company A. Multiple 1-way sensitivity analyses revealed that the capped policy was cost saving if its cost was less than $10,500. In probabilistic sensitivity analyses, the lowest cost difference between current and capped policies was $2750.

CONCLUSIONS

In comparison with the cost of coils from the authors’ current provider, their decision model and probabilistic sensitivity analysis predicted a minimum $407,000 to a maximum $1,799,976 cost savings in 148 cases by adapting the capped-price policy for coils.

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Bruno C. Flores, Alfred P. See, Gregory M. Weiner, Brian T. Jankowitz, Andrew F. Ducruet and Felipe C. Albuquerque

OBJECTIVE

Liquid embolic agents have revolutionized endovascular management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs). Nonetheless, since 2005, the US FDA has received more than 100 reports of microcatheter breakage or entrapment related to Onyx embolization, including 9 deaths. In 2014, the Apollo detachable-tip microcatheter became the first of its kind available in the US. Since then, few reports on its safety have been published.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of endovascular cases by searching the patient databases at 2 tertiary cerebrovascular centers (Barrow Neurological Institute and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). Patients who underwent endovascular embolization of an AVM or AVF using the Apollo microcatheter were identified. Patient demographics and lesion characteristics were collected. The authors analyzed Apollo-specific endovascular variables, such as number of microcatheterizations, sessions, and pedicles embolized; microcatheter tip detachment status; obliteration rate; and endovascular- and microcatheter-related morbidity and mortality.

RESULTS

From July 2014 to October 2016, a total of 177 embolizations using the Apollo microcatheter were performed in 61 patients (mean age 40.3 years). The most frequent presentation was hemorrhage (22/61, 36.1%). Most lesions were AVMs (51/61, 83.6%; mean diameter 30.6 mm). The mean Spetzler-Martin grade was 2.4. Thirty-nine (76.5%) of 51 patients with AVMs underwent resection. Microcatheterization was successful in 172 pedicles. Most patients (50/61, 82%) underwent a single embolization session. The mean number of pedicles per session was 2.5 (range 1–7). Onyx-18 was used in 103 (59.9%), N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) in 44 (25.6%), and Onyx-34 in 25 (14.5%) of the 172 embolizations. In 45.9% (28/61) of the patients, lesion obliteration of 75% or greater was achieved. Tip detachment occurred in 19.2% (33/172) of microcatheters. Fifty-three (86.9%) of the 61 patients who underwent embolization with the Apollo microcatheter had good functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2). No unintended microcatheter fractures or related morbidity was observed. One patient died of intraprocedural complications unrelated to microcatheter selection. In the univariate analysis, microcatheter tip detachment (p = 0.12), single embolized pedicles (p = 0.12), and smaller AVM nidus diameter (p = 0.17) correlated positively with high obliteration rates (> 90%). In the multivariate analysis, microcatheter tip detachment was the only independent variable associated with high obliteration rates (OR 9.5; p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

The use of the Apollo detachable-tip microcatheter for embolization of AVMs and AVFs is associated with high rates of successful catheterization and obliteration and low rates of morbidity and mortality. The microcatheter was retrieved in all cases, even after prolonged injections in distal branch pedicles, often with significant reflux. This study represents the largest case series on the application of the Apollo microcatheter for neurointerventional procedures.

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Andrew J. Ringer, Clemens M. Schirmer, Brian T. Jankowitz and for the Endovascular Neurosurgery Research Group (ENRG)

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Kyle M. Atcheson, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study found that, given the latency period required for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a study with limited follow-up cannot assess the benefit of SRS for unruptured AVMs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their institutional experience with “ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations)–eligible” AVMs treated with SRS between 1987 and 2016, with the primary outcome defined as stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) or death (AVM related or AVM unrelated). Patients with at least 3 years of follow-up in addition to those who experienced stroke or died during the latency period were included. Secondary outcome measures included obliteration rates, patients with new seizure disorders, and those with new focal deficits without stroke.

RESULTS

Of 233 patients included in this study, 32 had a stroke or died after SRS over the mean 8.4-year follow-up (14%). Utilizing the 10% stroke or death rate at a mean 2.8-year follow-up for untreated AVMs in ARUBA, the rate in the authors’ study is significantly lower than that anticipated at the 8.4-year follow-up for an untreated cohort (14% vs 30%, p = 0.0003). Notwithstanding obliteration, in this study, annualized rates of hemorrhage and stroke or death after 3 years following SRS were 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. The overall obliteration rate was 72%; new seizure disorders, temporary new focal deficits without stroke, and permanent new focal deficits without stroke occurred in 2% of patients each.

CONCLUSIONS

After a sensible follow-up period exceeding the latency period, there is a lower rate of stroke/death for patients with treated, unruptured AVMs with SRS than for patients with untreated AVMs.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Aggressive dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) with cortical venous drainage (CVD) are known for their relatively high risk of recurrent neurological events or hemorrhage. However, recent natural history literature has indicated that nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD have a significantly lower prospective risk of hemorrhage. These nonaggressive dAVFs are typically diagnosed because of symptomatic headache, pulsatile tinnitus, or ocular symptoms, as in low-risk dAVFs. Therefore, the viability of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a treatment for this lesion subclass should be investigated.

METHODS

The authors evaluated their institutional experience with SRS for dAVFs with CVD for the period from 1991 to 2016, assessing angiographic outcomes and posttreatment hemorrhage rates. They subsequently pooled their results with those published in the literature and stratified the results based on the mode of clinical presentation.

RESULTS

In an institutional cohort of 42 dAVFs with CVD treated using SRS, there were no complications or hemorrhages after treatment in 19 patients with nonaggressive dAVFs, but there was 1 radiation-induced complication and 1 hemorrhage among the 23 patients with aggressive dAVFs. In pooling these cases with 155 additional cases from the literature, the authors found that the hemorrhage rate after SRS was significantly lower among the patients with nonaggressive dAVFs (0% vs 6.8%, p = 0.003). Similarly, the number of radiation-related complications was 0/124 in nonaggressive dAVF cases versus 6/73 in aggressive dAVF cases (p = 0.001). The annual rate of hemorrhage after SRS for aggressive fistulas was 3.0% over 164.5 patient-years, whereas none of the nonaggressive fistulas bled after radiosurgery over 279.4 patient-years of follow-up despite the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS

Cortical venous drainage is thought to be a significant risk factor in all dAVFs. In the institutional experience described here, SRS proved to be a low-risk strategy associated with a very low risk of subsequent hemorrhage or radiation-related complications in nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD.

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Kristen E. Jones, Ava M. Puccio, Kathy J. Harshman, Bonnie Falcione, Neal Benedict, Brian T. Jankowitz, Martina Stippler, Michael Fischer, Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, Anthony Fabio, Joseph M. Darby and David O. Okonkwo

Object

Current standard of care for patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is prophylactic treatment with phenytoin for 7 days to decrease the risk of early posttraumatic seizures. Phenytoin alters drug metabolism, induces fever, and requires therapeutic-level monitoring. Alternatively, levetiracetam (Keppra) does not require serum monitoring or have significant pharmacokinetic interactions. In the current study, the authors compare the EEG findings in patients receiving phenytoin with those receiving levetiracetam monotherapy for seizure prophylaxis following severe TBI.

Methods

Data were prospectively collected in 32 cases in which patients received levetiracetam for the first 7 days after severe TBI and compared with data from a historical cohort of 41 cases in which patients received phenytoin monotherapy. Patients underwent 1-hour electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring if they displayed persistent coma, decreased mental status, or clinical signs of seizures. The EEG results were grouped into normal and abnormal findings, with abnormal EEG findings further categorized as seizure activity or seizure tendency.

Results

Fifteen of 32 patients in the levetiracetam group warranted EEG monitoring. In 7 of these 15 cases the results were normal and in 8 abnormal; 1 patient had seizure activity, whereas 7 had seizure tendency. Twelve of 41 patients in the phenytoin group received EEG monitoring, with all results being normal. Patients treated with levetiracetam and phenytoin had equivalent incidence of seizure activity (p = 0.556). Patients receiving levetiracetam had a higher incidence of abnormal EEG findings (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

Levetiracetam is as effective as phenytoin in preventing early posttraumatic seizures but is associated with an increased seizure tendency on EEG analysis.