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Gregory J. Zipfel

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Ruth E. Bristol, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Cameron G. McDougall

✓ Endovascular therapy for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains a relatively new approach. Beginning in the 1960s with the use of flow-directed techniques for selective embolization, hemodynamic alterations have been used to treat these lesions. In every aspect of treatment, technological advances, including catheters, embolic materials, angiography suites, and pharmacological agents, have improved outcomes while lowering the risk to patients.

In this article, the authors review the technical evolution of endovascular AVM therapy. Developments in embolic materials, beginning with foreign bodies and autografts and continuing through to highly engineered contemporary substances, are discussed. Finally, changes in treatment paradigms that have occurred over the years are traced. Within neurosurgery, this specialty has shown some of the fastest growth and development in recent decades. As minimally invasive approaches are embraced in all areas of medicine, it is clear that this treatment modality will continue to be refined.

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Editorial

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial

Giuseppe Lanzino

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Bradley A. Gross, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Karam Moon and Cameron G. McDougall

OBJECTIVE

Many small series and technical reports chronicle the evolution of endovascular techniques for cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) over the past 3 decades, but reports of large patient series are lacking. The authors provide a thorough analysis of clinical and angiographic outcomes across a large patient cohort.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their endovascular database from January 1996 to September 2015 to identify patients harboring cranial dAVFs who were treated initially with endovascular approaches. They extracted demographic, presentation, angiographic, detailed treatment, and long-term follow-up data, and they evaluated natural history, initial angiographic occlusion, complications, recurrence, and symptomatic resolution rates.

RESULTS

Across a cohort of 251 patients with 260 distinct dAVFs, the overall initial angiographic occlusion rate was 70%; recurrence or occult residual lesions were seen on subsequent angiography in 3% of cases. The overall complication rate was 8%, with permanent neurological complications occurring in 3% of cases. Among 102 patients with dAVFs without cortical venous reflux, rates of resolution/improvement of pulsatile tinnitus and ocular symptoms were 79% and 78%, respectively. Following the introduction of Onyx during the latter half of the study period, the number of treated dAVFs doubled; the initial angiographic occlusion rate increased significantly from 60% before the use of Onyx to 76% after (p = 0.01). In addition, during the latter period compared with the pre-Onyx period, the rate of dAVFs obliterated via a transarterial-only approach was significantly greater (43% vs 23%, p = 0.002), as was the number of dAVFs obliterated via a single arterial pedicle (29% vs 11%, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, in the Onyx era, the rate of initial angiographic occlusion was approximately 80%, as was the rate of meaningful clinical improvement in tinnitus and/or ocular symptoms after initial endovascular treatment of cranial dAVFs.

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Adib A. Abla, Cameron M. McDougall, Jonathan D. Breshears and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

Intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypasses are alternatives to traditional extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses to reanastomose parent arteries, reimplant efferent branches, revascularize branches with in situ donor arteries, and reconstruct bifurcations with interposition grafts that are entirely intracranial. These bypasses represent an evolution in bypass surgery from using scalp arteries and remote donor sites toward a more local and reconstructive approach. IC-IC bypass can be utilized preferentially when revascularization is needed in the management of complex aneurysms. Experiences using IC-IC bypass, as applied to posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysms in 35 patients, were reviewed.

METHODS

Patients with PICA aneurysms and vertebral artery (VA) aneurysms involving the PICA’s origin were identified from a prospectively maintained database of the Vascular Neurosurgery Service, and patients who underwent bypass procedures for PICA revascularization were included.

RESULTS

During a 17-year period in which 129 PICA aneurysms in 125 patients were treated microsurgically, 35 IC-IC bypasses were performed as part of PICA aneurysm management, including in situ p3-p3 PICA-PICA bypass in 11 patients (31%), PICA reimplantation in 9 patients (26%), reanastomosis in 14 patients (40%), and 1 V3 VA-to-PICA bypass with an interposition graft (3%). All aneurysms were completely or nearly completely obliterated, 94% of bypasses were patent, 77% of patients were improved or unchanged after treatment, and good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale ≤ 2) were observed in 76% of patients. Two patients died expectantly. Ischemic complications were limited to 2 patients in whom the bypasses occluded, and permanent lower cranial nerve morbidity was limited to 3 patients and did not compromise independent function in any of the patients.

CONCLUSIONS

PICA aneurysms receive the application of IC-IC bypass better than any other aneurysm, with nearly one-quarter of all PICA aneurysms treated microsurgically at our center requiring bypass without a single EC-IC bypass. The selection of PICA bypass is almost algorithmic: trapped aneurysms at the PICA origin or p1 segment are revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass, with PICA reimplantation as an alternative; trapped p2 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed, bypassed in situ, or reimplanted; distal p3 segment aneurysms are reanastomosed or revascularized with a PICA-PICA bypass; and aneurysms of the p4 segment that are too distal for PICA-PICA bypass are reanastomosed. Interposition grafts are reserved for when these 3 primary options are unsuitable. A constructive approach that preserves the PICA with direct clipping or replaces flow with a bypass when sacrificed should remain an alternative to deconstructive PICA occlusion and endovascular coiling when complete aneurysm occlusion is unlikely.

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C. Benjamin Newman, Yin C. Hu, Cameron G. McDougall and Felipe C. Albuquerque

Object

Pial arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) of the brain are rare vascular malformations associated with significant risks of hemorrhage and neurological deficit. Depending on their location and high-flow dynamics, these lesions can present treatment challenges for both endovascular and open cerebrovascular surgeons. The authors describe a novel endovascular treatment strategy that was used successfully to treat 2 pediatric patients with a pial AVF, and they discuss the technical nuances specific to their treatment strategy.

Methods

A single-channel high-flow pial AVF was diagnosed in 2 male patients (6 and 17 years of age). Both patients were treated with endovascular flow arrest using a highly conformable balloon followed by Onyx infusion for definitive closure of the fistula.

Results

Neither patient suffered a complication as a result of the procedure. At the 6-month follow-up in both cases, the simple discontinuation of blood flow had resulted in durable obliteration of the fistula and stable or improved neurological function.

Conclusions

Onyx can be delivered successfully into high-flow lesions after flow arrest to allow a minimally invasive and durable treatment for pial AVFs.

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Wouter I. Schievink, A. Giancarlo Vishteh, Cameron G. McDougall and Robert F. Spetzler

Object. The use of intraoperative angiography of the spine has become available to neurosurgeons as an adjunct in the management of complex spinal vascular malformations. These vascular malformations are rare, and the use of intraoperative angiography of the spine has not been well described. The authors report their recent experience with the use of this diagnostic modality.

Methods. Between 1995 and 1997, nine consecutive patients with type II or Type IV spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) underwent intraoperative spinal angiography. The cervical spine was involved in three patients, the thoracic spine in five, and the thoracolumbar junction in one. In three patients, intraoperative spinal angiography revealed an unexpected finding (residual filling of the AVM). The results obtained using postoperative spinal angiography in all patients showed complete agreement with the intraoperative studies. No complications arose from obtaining the intraoperative spinal angiograms.

Conclusions. Intraoperative spinal angiography is technically feasible, can be performed safely, and has adequate resolution. It detects unexpected residual AVM in one-third of cases.

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Ruth E. Bristol, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Cameron McDougall and Robert F. Spetzler

✓Although many arachnoid cysts are discovered incidentally and require no intervention, a small subset has been known to rupture. Note that rupture can occur either spontaneously or in association with trauma. Based on a review of the literature on ruptured arachnoid cysts, it appears that patients with middle fossa cysts are more likely to experience symptomatic traumatic rupture than those with cysts in other locations. Middle fossa cysts are more commonly associated with hemispheric subdural collections and hematomas than are any other cysts. The authors report on two representative cases illustrating the distinct presentation, imaging characteristics, and management of these cysts.