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Juergen Konczalla, Sepide Kashefiolasl, Nina Brawanski, Christian Senft, Volker Seifert and Johannes Platz

OBJECT

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is usually caused by a ruptured intracranial aneurysm, but in some patients no source of hemorrhage can be detected. More recent data showed increasing numbers of cases of spontaneous nonaneurysmal SAH (NASAH). The aim of this study was to analyze factors, especially the use of antithrombotic medications such as systemic anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents (aCPs), influencing the increasing numbers of cases of NASAH and the clinical outcome.

METHODS

Between 1999 and 2013, 214 patients who were admitted to the authors’ institution suffered from NASAH, 14% of all patients with SAH. Outcome was assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at 6 months. Risk factors were identified based on the outcome.

RESULTS

The number of patients with NASAH increased significantly in the last 15 years of the study period. There was a statistically significant increase in the rate of nonperimesencephalic (NPM)-SAH occurrence and aCP use, while the proportion of elderly patients remained stable. Favorable outcome (mRS 0–2) was achieved in 85% of cases, but patients treated with aCPs had a significantly higher risk for an unfavorable outcome. Further analysis showed that elderly patients, and especially the subgroup with a Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern, had a high risk for an unfavorable outcome, whereas the subgroup of NPM-SAH without a Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern had a favorable outcome, similar to perimesencephalic (PM)-SAH.

CONCLUSIONS

Over the years, a significant increase in the number of patients with NASAH has been observed. Also, the rate of aCP use has increased significantly. Risk factors for an unfavorable outcome were age > 65 years, Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern, and aCP use. Both “PM-SAH” and “NPM-SAH without a Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern” had excellent outcomes. Patients with NASAH and a Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern had a significantly higher risk for an unfavorable outcome and death. Therefore, for further investigations, NPM-SAH should be stratified into patients with or without a Fisher Grade 3 bleeding pattern. Also, cases of spontaneous SAH should be stratified into NASAH and aneurysmal SAH.

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Stephan Dützmann, Florian Geßler, Gerhard Marquardt, Volker Seifert and Christian Senft

Object

The authors performed a study to evaluate whether preoperative assessment of prothrombin time (PT) is mandatory in patients undergoing routinely planned neurosurgical procedures.

Methods

The charts of all patients admitted to general wards of the authors' department for routinely planned surgery (excluding trauma and ICU patients) between 2006 and 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. The authors assessed preoperative PT and the clinical courses of all patients, with special consideration for patients receiving coagulation factor substitution. All cases involving hemorrhagic complications were analyzed in detail with regard to pre- and postoperative PT abnormalities. Prothrombin time was expressed as the international normalized ratio, and values greater than 1.28 were regarded as elevated.

Results

Clinical courses and PT values of 4310 patients were reviewed. Of these, 33 patients (0.7%) suffered hemorrhagic complications requiring repeat surgery. Thirty-one patients (94%) had a normal PT before the initial operation, while 2 patients had slightly elevated PT values of 1.33 and 1.65, which were anticipated based on the patient's history. In the latter 2 cases, surgery was performed without prior correction of PT. Preoperatively, PT was elevated in 78 patients (1.8%). In 73 (93.6%) of the 78 patients, the PT elevation was expected and explained by each patient's medical history. In only 5 (0.1%) of 4310 patients did we find an unexpected PT elevation (mean 1.53, range 1.37–1.74). All 5 patients underwent surgery without complications, while 2 had received coagulation factor substitution preoperatively, as requested by the surgeon, because of an estimated risk of bleeding complications. None of the 5 patients received coagulation factor substitution postoperatively, and later detailed laboratory studies ruled out single coagulation factor deficiencies. There was no statistically significant association between preoperatively elevated PT levels and the occurrence of hemorrhagic complications (p = 0.12). Before the second procedure but not before the initial operation, 4 (12%) of the 33 patients had elevated PT.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that the value of preoperative PT testing is limited in patients in whom a normal history can be ascertained. Close postoperative PT control is necessary in every neurosurgical patient, and better tests need to be developed to identify patients who are prone to hemorrhagic complications.

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Stephanie Lescher, Sonja Schniewindt, Alina Jurcoane, Christian Senft and Elke Hattingen

Object

Early postoperative MRI within 72 hours after brain tumor surgery is commonly used to assess residual contrast-enhancing tumor. The 72-hour window is commonly accepted because previous 1.5-T MRI studies have not found confounding postoperative reactive contrast enhancement in this time frame. The sensitivity to detect contrast enhancement increases with the field strengths. Therefore, the authors aimed to assess whether the 72-hour window is also appropriate for the MRI scanner with a field strength of 3 T.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed findings on early postsurgical MR images acquired in 46 patients treated for high-grade gliomas. They performed 3-T MRI within 7 days before surgery and within 72 hours thereafter. The appearance of enhancement was categorized as postoperative reactive enhancement or tumoral enhancement by comparison with the pattern and location of presurgical enhancing tumor.

Results

Postoperative reactive enhancement was present in 15 patients (32.6%). This enhancement, not seen on presurgical MRI, had a marginal or leptomeningeal/dural pattern. In 13 patients (28.3%) postsurgical enhancement was found within the first 72 postoperative hours, with the earliest seen 22:57 hours after surgery. Subsequent MR scans in patients with postoperative reactive enhancement did not reveal tumor recurrence in these regions.

Conclusions

Postoperative reactive enhancement earlier than 72 hours after brain tumor surgery can be expected in about one-third of the cases in which a 3-T scanner is used. This might be due to the higher enhancement-to-brain contrast at higher field strengths. Therefore, the time window of 72 hours does not prevent reactive enhancement, which, however, can be recognized as such comparing it with presurgical enhancing tumor.

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Florian Gessler, Haitham Mutlak, Karima Tizi, Christian Senft, Matthias Setzer, Volker Seifert and Lutz Weise

OBJECTIVE

The value of postoperative epidural analgesia after major spinal surgery is well established. Thus far, the use of patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) has been denied to patients undergoing debridement and instrumentation in spondylodiscitis, with the risk of increased postoperative pain resulting in prolonged recovery. The value of PCEA with special regard to infectious complications remains to be clarified. The present study examined the value of postoperative PCEA in comparison with intravenous analgesia in patients with spondylodiscitis undergoing posterior spinal surgery.

METHODS

Thirty-two patients treated surgically for spondylodiscitis of the thoracic and lumbar spine were prospectively included in a database and retrospectively reviewed for this study. Postoperative antibiotic treatment, functional capacity, pain levels, side effects, and complications were documented. Sixteen patients were given patient-demanded intravenous analgesia (PIA) followed by 16 patients assigned to PCEA. If PCEA was applied, the insertion of an epidural catheter was performed under the direct visual guidance of the surgeon at the end of the surgery.

RESULTS

Three patients intended for PCEA treatment were excluded due to predefined exclusion criteria. Postoperative pain was significantly lower in the PCEA group during the first 48 hours after surgery (p = 0.03). As determined by the trunk control test conducted at 8 (p < 0.001), 24 (p = 0.004), 48 (p = 0.015), 72 (p = 0.0031), and 96 hours (p < 0.001), patients in the PCEA treatment group displayed significantly increased mobilization capacity compared with those of the PIA group. Time until normal accomplishment of all mobilization maneuvers was reduced in the PCEA group compared with that in the PIA group (p = 0.04). No differences in complication rates were observed between the 2 groups (p = 0.52).

CONCLUSIONS

PCEA may reduce postoperative pain and lead to earlier achievement of functional capacity at a low complication rate in patients with surgically treated lumbar and thoracic spondylodiscitis.

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Sueleyman Tas, Frank Staub, Thomas Dombert, Gerhard Marquardt, Christian Senft, Volker Seifert and Stephan Duetzmann

OBJECT

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes increased cross-sectional area (CSA) of the median nerve, which can be assessed by high-definition ultrasonography. It is unclear today, however, whether high-definition ultrasonography may play a role in the postoperative period. This prospective study aimed to determine the natural history of the morphology of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel after surgical decompression assessed by high-definition ultrasonography.

METHODS

Between October and December 2014, patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome who were referred to the authors’ center for peripheral neurosurgery were prospectively enrolled and underwent pre- and postoperative (3 months) high-definition ultrasonography, electrophysiology, and clinical testing.

RESULTS

Eighty-one patients were enrolled in the study, and 100% were clinically better at the 3-month follow-up. The mean CSA decreased from 14.7 ± 4.9 mm2 to 12.4 ± 3.4 mm2 (mean ± SD, p < 0.0001). The mean distal motor latency decreased from 6.6 ± 2.4 msec to 4.8 ± 1.0 msec (mean ± SD, p < 0.0001). Ninety-eight percent of patients who were available for electrodiagnostic follow-up showed an improvement of the distal motor latency; only 80% had a reduction in the CSA.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present the second-largest series of patients with sonographic follow-up after surgical decompression of the carpal tunnel reported in the literature so far. This study, which showed a decrease in size of the median nerve after surgical decompression, suggests that the preoperative increase in median nerve CSA at the carpal tunnel may be due to compression and that enlargement of the median nerve is (partially) reversible.

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Florian Gessler, Markus Bruder, Stephan Duetzmann, Stephanie Tritt, Joshua D. Bernstock, Volker Seifert and Christian Senft

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgical intervention may increase the risk of developing cerebral vein and dural sinus thrombosis (CVT). The clinical management of CVT in postoperative patients remains unclear. This retrospective study explores the disease occurrence, associated risk factors, and outcomes in patients with tumors who developed CVT after craniotomy.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis and review of patient records in those who had undergone cranial tumor removal within the authors' neurosurgical department was performed. In so doing, the authors identified a cohort of patients who developed CVT postoperatively. The study included patients who presented to the department between January 2004 and December 2013.

RESULTS

Of 2286 patients with intracranial lesions who underwent craniotomy, 35 (1.5%) went on to develop CVT. The authors identified the semisitting position (OR 7.55, 95% CI 3.73–15.31, p < 0.001); intraoperative sinus injury (OR 1.5, 95% CI 3.57–15.76, p < 0.001); and known CVT risk factors (OR 7.77, 95% CI 2.28–21.39, p < 0.001) as predictors of CVT development. Of note, 19 patients (54.3%) had good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale Score 0–1), whereas 9 patients (25.7%) had suffered dependency or death (modified Rankin Scale Score 4–6) at last follow-up. Intracerebral hemorrhage (OR 21.27, 95% CI 1.59–285.01, p = 0.02) and delayed delivery of an intermediate dose of low-molecular-weight heparin anticoagulation (OR 24.12, 95% CI 2.08–280.13, p = 0.01) were associated with unfavorable outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Only a minority of patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor removal develop CVT, and the majority of those who do develop CVT recover well. Early administration of an intermediate dose of low-molecular-weight heparin anticoagulation might be considered once CVT is diagnosed.

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Stephan Duetzmann, Tyler Cole, Christian Senft, Volker Seifert, John Kevin Ratliff and Jon Park

OBJECT

Incisional pain after posterior cervical spine surgery can be severe and very unpleasant to the patient. Ongoing incisional pain is one of the key disadvantages of posterior over anterior surgical approaches to the cervical spine. It prolongs hospital stays and delays return to work. In this study, the hypothesized that incisional pain in the immediate postoperative period is caused partially by tension on the skin as well as on the deep cervical fascia and the fascia overlying the trapezius, which are usually sewn together during closure. Reduction of this tension through retraction of the shoulders should therefore reduce pain as well as the amount of pain medication used in the early postoperative period.

METHODS

In this prospective randomized controlled study, 30 patients who had undergone posterior cervical spine surgery were randomized into 2 groups who either wore or did not wear a clavicle brace to retract the shoulders. Patients in the brace group began wearing the brace on postoperative day (POD) 4 and wore it continuously throughout the 30-day study period. Outcome was assessed by two measures: 1) the daily level of self reported pain according to the visual analog scale (VAS) and 2) the number of pain pills taken during the 30-day postoperative period.

RESULTS

Wearing a clavicle brace in the immediate postoperative period significantly reduced incisional pain and the amount of pain medication that patients took. Beginning on POD 4 and continuing until day POD 13, the mean daily VAS score for pain was significantly lower in the brace group than in the control group. Furthermore, patients who wore the clavicle brace took less pain medication from POD 4 to POD 12. At this point the difference lost significance until the end of the study period. Four patients were randomized but did not tolerate wearing the brace.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who tolerated wearing the clavicle brace after posterior cervical spine surgery had reduced pain and used less pain medication.

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Ági Oszvald, Erdem Güresir, Matthias Setzer, Hartmut Vatter, Christian Senft, Volker Seifert and Kea Franz

Object

The objective of this study was to analyze whether age influences the outcome of patients with glioblastoma and whether elderly patients with glioblastoma can tolerate the same aggressive treatment as younger patients.

Methods

Data from 361 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed cerebral glioblastoma (2000–2006) who underwent regular follow-up evaluation from initial diagnosis until death were prospectively entered into a database. Patients underwent resection (complete, subtotal, or partial) or biopsy, depending on tumor size, location, and Karnofsky Performance Scale score. Following surgery, all patients underwent adjuvant treatment consisting of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combined treatment. Patients older than 65 years of age were defined as elderly (146 total).

Results

Two hundred thirty-four patients underwent tumor resection (complete 26%, subtotal 29%, and partial 45%). One hundred twenty-seven underwent biopsy. Mean patient age was 61 years, and overall survival was 11.6 ± 12.1 months. The overall survival of elderly patients (9.1 ± 11.6 months) was significantly lower than that of younger patients (14.9 ± 16.7 months; p = 0.0001). Stratifying between resection or biopsy, age was a negative prognostic factor in patients undergoing biopsy (4.0 ± 7.1 vs 7.9 ± 8.7 months; p = 0.007), but not in patients undergoing tumor resection (13.0 ± 8.5 vs 13.3 ± 14.5 months; p = 0.86). Survival of elderly patients undergoing complete tumor resection was 17.7 ± 8.1 months.

Conclusions

In this series of patients with glioblastoma, age was a prognostic factor in patients undergoing biopsy, but not in patients undergoing resection. Tumor location and patient clinical status may prohibit extensive resection, but resection should not be withheld from patients only on the basis of age. In elderly patients with glioblastoma, undergoing resection to the extent feasible, followed by adjuvant therapies, is warranted.

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Andrew E. Sloan

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Sae-Yeon Won, Florian Gessler, Daniel Dubinski, Michael Eibach, Bedjan Behmanesh, Eva Herrmann, Volker Seifert, Juergen Konczalla, Stephanie Tritt and Christian Senft

OBJECTIVE

Prophylactic placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is often performed prior to resection of a posterior fossa tumor (PFT); however, there is no general consensus regarding the indications. The purpose of this study was to establish a novel grading system for the prediction of required CSF drainage due to symptomatic elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) after resection of a PFT to identify patients who require an EVD.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data from a prospective database. All patients who had undergone resection of a PFT between 2012 and 2017 at the University Hospital, Goethe University Frankfurt, were identified and data from their cases were analyzed. PFTs were categorized as intraparenchymal (iPFT) or extraparenchymal (ePFT). Prior to resection, patients underwent EVD placement, prophylactic burr hole placement, or neither. The authors assessed the amount of CSF drainage (if applicable), rate of EVD placement at a later time point, and complication rate and screened for factors associated with CSF drainage. By applying those factors, they established a grading system to predict the necessity of CSF drainage for elevated ICP.

RESULTS

A total of 197 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of these 197, 70.6% received an EVD, 15.7% underwent prophylactic burr hole placement, and 29.4% required temporary CSF drainage. In the prophylactic burr hole group, 1 of 32 patients (3.1%) required EVD placement at a later time. Independent predictors for postoperative need for CSF drainage due to symptomatic intracranial hypertension in patients with iPFTs were preoperative hydrocephalus (OR 2.9) and periventricular CSF capping (OR 2.9), whereas semi-sitting surgical position (OR 0.2) and total resection (OR 0.3) were protective factors. For patients with ePFTs, petroclival/midline tumor location (OR 12.2/OR 5.7), perilesional edema (OR 10.0), and preoperative hydrocephalus (OR 4.0) were independent predictors of need for CSF drainage. According to our grading system, CSF drainage after resection of iPFT or ePFT, respectively, was required in 16.7% and 5.1% of patients with a score of 0, in 21.1% and 12.5% of patients with a score of 1, in 47.1% and 26.3% of patients with a score of 2, and in 100% and 76.5% of patients with a score ≥ 3 (p < 0.0001). The rate of relevant EVD complications was 4.3%, and 10.1% of patients were shunt-dependent at 3-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

This novel grading system for the prediction of need for CSF drainage following resection of PFT might be of help in deciding in favor of or against prophylactic EVD placement.