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Decision-making for decompressive craniectomy in traumatic brain injury aided by multimodality monitoring: illustrative case

Myranda B. Robinson, Peter Shin, Robert Alunday, Chad Cole, Michel T. Torbey, and Andrew P. Carlson

BACKGROUND

Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) requires individualized, physiology-based management to avoid secondary brain injury. Recent improvements in quantitative assessments of metabolism, oxygenation, and subtle examination changes may potentially allow for more targeted, rational approaches beyond simple intracranial pressure (ICP)-based management. The authors present a case in which multimodality monitoring assisted in decision-making for decompressive craniectomy.

OBSERVATIONS

This patient sustained a severe TBI without mass lesion and was monitored with a multimodality approach. Although imaging did not seem grossly worrisome, ICP, pressure reactivity, brain tissue oxygenation, and pupillary response all began worsening, pushing toward decompressive craniectomy. All parameters normalized after decompression, and the patient had a satisfactory clinical outcome.

LESSONS

Given recent conflicting randomized trials on the utility of decompressive craniectomy in severe TBI, precision, physiology-based approaches may offer an improved strategy to determine who is most likely to benefit from aggressive treatment. Trials are underway to test components of these strategies.

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Electrocorticographic evidence of perituberal cortex epileptogenicity in tuberous sclerosis complex

Clinical article

Tracy S. Ma, Robert E. Elliott, Véronique Ruppe, Orrin Devinsky, Ruben Kuzniecky, Howard L. Weiner, and Chad Carlson

Object

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a multisystem autosomal dominant disorder resulting in hamartomas of several organs. Cortical tubers are the most prominent brain lesions in TSC. Treatment-resistant epilepsy often develops early in life in patients with TSC and is associated with severe intellectual and behavioral impairments. Seizures may remit following epilepsy surgery in selected cases, yet it remains unclear whether the tuber or the perituberal cortex is the source of seizure onset. In this study, the authors reviewed the onset of seizures in patients in whom depth electrodes had been placed within or adjacent to cortical tubers.

Methods

After obtaining institutional review board approval, the authors retrospectively reviewed data from 12 pediatric patients with multifocal TSC and treatment-resistant epilepsy who had undergone invasive intracranial electroencephalographic monitoring. Tubers were identified on postimplantation MRI, and all depth electrodes were located. Depth electrode contacts were classified visually as either tuber/perituberal cortex or nontuber/nonperituberal cortex. Board-certified clinical neurophysiologists reviewed the seizures to identify all electrodes involved in the ictal onset.

Results

Among 309 recorded seizures, 104 unique ictal onset patterns were identified. Of the 11 patients with electrodes recording in a tuber, 9 had seizure onsets involving the tuber. Similarly, of the 9 patients with perituberal recording electrodes, 7 had perituberal ictal onsets. Overall, there was no difference in the percentage of contacts involved in seizure onset between the tuber and perituberal cortex. In a subset of 7 patients in whom at least 1 depth electrode contact was within the tuber and 1 was in the perituberal cortex, there was no difference between the percentage of tuber and perituberal onsets.

Conclusions

Findings demonstrated heterogeneity in the ictal onset patterns as well as involvement of the tuber and perituberal cortex within and between patients. Although the data are limited by the restricted region(s) sampled with intracranial electrodes, they do suggest that cortical hyperexcitability in TSC may derive from the tuber or surrounding cortex.

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Epilepsy surgery and tuberous sclerosis complex: special considerations

A review

Robert J. Bollo, Stephen P. Kalhorn, Chad Carlson, Veronique Haegeli, Orrin Devinsky, and Howard L. Weiner

Epilepsy surgery for medically refractory seizures among patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a well-accepted treatment option. Many epilepsy centers around the world have published their experience over the past several years, supporting the idea that the best seizure control is obtained when a single tuber and associated epileptogenic zone is documented and targeted surgically. Recent advances in imaging and physiological techniques that reveal the epileptogenic zone have been used successfully in children with TSC who are being evaluated for surgery. As a result, a number of different surgical strategies have emerged, each reflecting the experience, strengths, and referral biases of the individual treating teams. Experience suggests that some patients with TSC who present with seizures that are difficult to localize and do not meet the classic selection criteria for epilepsy surgery may, nevertheless, benefit from sugery. Tuberectomy alone is often not sufficient for obtaining seizure control. Intracranial electrode recordings performed in a large number of children with TSC undergoing epilepsy surgery have raised new questions about the relationship of the cortical tuber to the epileptogenic zone in TSC. A careful assessment of the risks and benefits of any surgical strategy, compared with those associated with continued refractory epilepsy, should be considered by the treating team in conjunction with the patient's family. Epilepsy surgery has not only benefited many children with TSC, but it also facilitates the understanding of epileptogenesis in TSC.

Free access

Letter to the Editor: Anterior temporal lobectomy

Marco Giulioni, Matteo Martinoni, and Gianluca Marucci

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Bilateral invasive electroencephalography in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex: a path to surgery?

Clinical article

Chad Carlson, Federica Teutonico, Robert E. Elliott, Yaron A. Moshel, Josiane LaJoie, Daniel Miles, Orrin Devinsky, and Howard L. Weiner

Object

Many children with epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) have multiple tubers on MR imaging and poorly localized/lateralized video electroencephalography (EEG) findings. Given the long-term risks associated with frequent seizures and multiple antiepileptic drugs, along with improved success in identifying focal epileptogenic zones in patients with multifocal lesions, the authors used bilateral intracranial EEG to lateralize the epileptogenic zone in patients with nonlateralizable noninvasive preoperative evaluations.

Methods

A retrospective analysis from January 1, 1998, to June 30, 2008, identified 62 children with TSC who were presented at a surgical conference. Of the 52 patients undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures during the study period, 20 underwent bilateral intracranial EEG. The presurgical testing results, intracranial EEG findings, surgical interventions, and outcomes were reviewed.

Results

Fourteen of 20 patients had intracranial EEG findings consistent with a resectable epileptogenic zone. One patient is awaiting further resection. Five patients had findings consistent with a nonresectable epileptogenic zone, and 1 of these patients underwent a callosotomy. Seven patients had Engel Class I outcomes, 1 was Class II, 3 were Class III, and 3 were Class IV (mean follow-up 25 months).

Conclusions

Bilateral intracranial EEG can identify potential resectable seizure foci in nonlateralizable epilepsy in TSC. Although 6 of 20 patients did not undergo resection (1 patient is pending future resection), significant improvements in seizures (Engel Class I or II) were noted in 8 patients. In the authors' experience, this invasive monitoring provided a safe method for identifying the ictal onset zone.

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Vagus nerve stimulation for children with treatment-resistant epilepsy: a consecutive series of 141 cases

Clinical article

Robert E. Elliott, Shaun D. Rodgers, Luigi Bassani, Amr Morsi, Eric B. Geller, Chad Carlson, Orrin Devinsky, and Werner K. Doyle

Object

The authors undertook this study to analyze the efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in a large consecutive series of children 18 years of age and younger with treatment-resistant epilepsy and compare the safety and efficacy in children under 12 years of age with the outcomes in older children.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 141 consecutive cases involving children (75 girls and 66 boys) with treatment-resistant epilepsy in whom primary VNS implantation was performed by the senior author between November 1997 and April 2008 and who had at least 1 year of follow-up since implantation. The patients' mean age at vagus nerve stimulator insertion was 11.1 years (range 1–18 years). Eighty-six children (61.0%) were younger than 12 years at time of VNS insertion (which constitutes off-label usage of this device).

Results

Follow-up was complete for 91.8% of patients and the mean duration of VNS therapy in these patients was 5.2 years (range 25 days–11.4 years). Seizure frequency significantly improved with VNS therapy (mean reduction 58.9%, p < 0.0001) without a significant reduction in antiepileptic medication burden (median number of antiepileptic drugs taken 3, unchanged). Reduction in seizure frequency of at least 50% occurred in 64.8% of patients and 41.4% of patients experienced at least a 75% reduction. Major (3) and minor (6) complications occurred in 9 patients (6.4%) and included 1 deep infection requiring device removal, 1 pneumothorax, 2 superficial infections treated with antibiotics, 1 seroma/hematoma treated with aspiration, persistent cough in 1 patient, severe but transient neck pain in 1 patient, and hoarseness in 2 patients. There was no difference in efficacy or complications between children 12 years of age and older (FDA-approved indication) and those younger than 12 years of age (off-label usage). Linear regression analyses did not identify any demographic and clinical variables that predicted response to VNS.

Conclusions

Vagus nerve stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for treatment-resistant epilepsy in young adults and children. Over 50% of patients experienced at least 50% reduction in seizure burden. Children younger than 12 years had a response similar to that of older children with no increase in complications. Given the efficacy of this device and the devastating effects of persistent epilepsy during critical developmental epochs, randomized trials are needed to potentially expand the indications for VNS to include younger children.

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A management strategy for intraventricular subependymal giant cell astrocytomas in tuberous sclerosis complex

Clinical article

David H. Harter, Luigi Bassani, Shaun D. Rodgers, Jonathan Roth, Orrin Devinsky, Chad Carlson, Jeffery H. Wisoff, and Howard L. Weiner

Object

Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The vast majority of these tumors arise from the lateral ependymal surface adjacent to the foramen of Monro, therefore potentially encroaching on one or both foramina, and resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus that necessitates surgical decompression. The indications for surgery, intraoperative considerations, and evolution of the authors' management paradigm are presented.

Methods

Patients with TSC who underwent craniotomy for SEGA resection at New York University Langone Medical Center between January 1997 and March 2011 were identified. Preoperative imaging, clinical characteristics, management decisions, operative procedures, and outcomes were reviewed.

Results

Eighteen patients with TSC underwent 22 primary tumor resections for SEGAs. The indication for surgery was meaningful radiographic tumor progression in 16 of 21 cases. The average age at the time of operation was 10.3 years. Average follow-up duration was 52 months (range 12–124 months). The operative approach was intrahemispheric-transcallosal in 16 cases, transcortical-transventricular in 5, and neuroendoscopic in 1. Nine tumors were on the right, 9 on the left, and 3 were bilateral. Gross-total resection was documented in 16 of 22 cases in our series, with radical subtotal resection achieved in 4 cases, and subtotal resection (STR) in 2 cases. Two patients had undergone ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement preoperatively and 7 patients required shunt placement after surgery for moderate to severe ventriculomegaly. Two patients experienced tumor progression requiring reoperation; both of these patients had initially undergone STR.

Conclusions

The authors present their management strategy for TSC patients with SEGAs. Select patients underwent microsurgical resection of SEGAs with acceptable morbidity. Gross-total resection or radical STR was achieved in 90.9% of our series (20 of 22 primary tumor resections), with no recurrences in this group. Approximately half of our patient series required CSF diversionary procedures. There were no instances of permanent neurological morbidity associated with surgery.

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Editorial: Temporal lobectomy

Richard W. Byrne

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Anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy for mesial temporal sclerosis: predictors of long-term seizure control

Clinical article

Robert E. Elliott, Robert J. Bollo, Jonathan L. Berliner, Alyson Silverberg, Chad Carlson, Eric B. Geller, William B. Barr, Orrin Devinsky, and Werner K. Doyle

Object

In this paper the authors' goal was to identify preoperative variables that predict long-term seizure freedom among patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) after single-stage anterior temporal lobectomy and amygdalohippocampectomy (ATL-AH).

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 116 consecutive patients (66 females, mean age at surgery 40.7 years) with refractory seizures and pathologically confirmed MTS who underwent ATL-AH with at least 2 years of follow-up. All patients underwent preoperative MRI and video-electroencephalography (EEG); 106 patients (91.4%) underwent Wada testing and 107 patients (92.2%) had neuropsychological evaluations. The authors assessed the concordance of these 4 studies (defined as test consistent with the side of eventual surgery) and analyzed the impact of preoperative variables on seizure freedom.

Results

The median follow-up after surgery was 6.7 years (mean 6.9 years). Overall, 103 patients (89%) were seizure free, and 109 patients (94%) had Engel Class I or II outcome. Concordant findings were highest for video-EEG (100%), PET (100%), MRI (99.0%), and Wada testing (90.4%) and lowest for SPECT (84.6%) and neuropsychological testing (82.5%). Using binary logistic regression analysis (seizure free or not) and Cox proportional hazard analysis (seizure-free survival), less disparity in the Wada memory scores between the ipsilateral and contralateral sides was associated with persistent seizures.

Conclusions

Seizure freedom of nearly 90% can be achieved with ATL-AH in properly selected patients with MTS and concordant preoperative studies. The low number of poor outcomes and exclusion of multistage patients limit the statistical power to determine preoperative variables that predict failure. Strong Wada memory lateralization was associated with excellent long-term outcome and adds important localization information to structural and neurophysiological data in predicting outcome after ATL-AH for MTS.

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HummingFlow: novel single twist-drill access for ventricular drainage, irrigation, monitoring, and automated local drug delivery in subarachnoid hemorrhage

Diego A. Carrera, Laura M. Marsh, Jessica J. Roach, Preeyaporn Sarangarm, Chad D. Cole, Michel T. Torbey, and Andrew P. Carlson

OBJECTIVE

The management of delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) remains one of the most important targets for neurocritical care. Advances in monitoring technology have facilitated a more thorough understanding of the pathophysiology and therapeutic approaches, but interventions are generally limited to either systemic therapies or passive CSF drainage. The authors present a novel approach that combines a multimodal monitoring bolt-based system with an irrigating ventricular drain capable of delivering intrathecal medications and describe their early experience in patients with aSAH.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of cases treated with the combined Hummingbird multimodal bolt system and the IRRAflow irrigating ventriculostomy.

RESULTS

Nine patients were treated with the combined multimodal bolt system with irrigating ventriculostomy approach. The median number of days to clearance of the third and fourth ventricles was 3 days in patients with obstructive intraventricular hemorrhage. Two patients received intrathecal alteplase for intraventricular hemorrhage clearance, and 2 patients received intrathecal nicardipine as rescue therapy for severe symptomatic angiographic vasospasm.

CONCLUSIONS

Combined CSF drainage, irrigation, multimodality monitoring, and automated local drug delivery are feasible using a single twist-drill hole device. Further investigation of irrigation settings and treatment approaches in high-risk cases is warranted.