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Alim P. Mitha, Erin E. Murphy and Christopher S. Ogilvy

✓ In this report, the authors present the case of a patient with a unique type of spinal arteriovenous fistula. Both the location and venous angioarchitecture of this variant are uncommon, making diagnosis of the lesion challenging and raising particular management issues. The authors discuss this unusual lesion and describe its imaging features and surgical findings, as well as highlight its pathological abnormalities.

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Terrence F. Holekamp, Matthew E. Mollman, Rory K. J. Murphy, Grant R. Kolar, Neha M. Kramer, Colin P. Derdeyn, Christopher J. Moran, Richard J. Perrin, Keith M. Rich, Giuseppe Lanzino and Gregory J. Zipfel

Nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits are underrecognized symptoms of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) having cortical venous drainage. These symptoms are the consequence of cortical venous hypertension and portend a clinical course with increased risk of neurological morbidity and mortality. One rarely documented and easily misinterpreted type of nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit is progressive dementia, which can result from venous hypertension in the cortex or in bilateral thalami. The latter, which is due to dAVF drainage into the deep venous system, is the less common of these 2 dementia syndromes. Herein, the authors report 4 cases of dAVF with venous drainage into the vein of Galen causing bithalamic edema and rapidly progressive dementia. Two patients were treated successfully with endovascular embolization, and the other 2 patients were treated successfully with endovascular embolization followed by surgery. The radiographic abnormalities and presenting symptoms rapidly resolved after dAVF obliteration in all 4 cases. Detailed descriptions of these 4 cases are presented along with a critical review of 15 previously reported cases. In our analysis of these 19 published cases, the following were emphasized: 1) the clinical and radiographic differences between dAVF-induced thalamic versus cortical dementia syndromes; 2) the differential diagnosis and necessary radiographic workup for patients presenting with a rapidly progressive thalamic dementia syndrome; 3) the frequency at which delays in diagnosis occurred and potentially dangerous and avoidable diagnostic procedures were used; and 4) the rapidity and completeness of symptom resolution following dAVF treatment.

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Daniel M. Sciubba, E. Clif Burdette, Jennifer J. Cheng, William A. Pennant, Joseph C. Noggle, Rory J. Petteys, Christopher Alix, Chris J. Diederich, Gabor Fichtinger, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Kieran P. Murphy


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has proven to be effective for treatment of malignant and benign tumors in numerous anatomical sites outside the spine. The major challenge of using RFA for spinal tumors is difficulty protecting the spinal cord and nerves from damage. However, conforming ultrasound energy to match the exact anatomy of the tumor may provide successful ablation in such sensitive locations. In a rabbit model of vertebral body tumor, the authors have successfully ablated tumors using an acoustic ablator placed percutaneously via computed tomography fluoroscopic (CTF) guidance.


Using CTF guidance, 12 adult male New Zealand White rabbits were injected with VX2 carcinoma cells in the lowest lumbar vertebral body. At 21 days, a bone biopsy needle was placed into the geographical center of the lesion, down which an acoustic ablator was inserted. Three multisensor thermocouple arrays were placed around the lesion to provide measurement of tissue temperature during ablation, at thermal doses ranging from 100 to 1,000,000 TEM (thermal equivalent minutes at 43°C), and tumor volumes were given a tumoricidal dose of acoustic energy. Animals were monitored for 24 hours and then sacrificed. Pathological specimens were obtained to determine the extent of tumor death and surrounding tissue damage. Measured temperature distributions were used to reconstruct volumetric doses of energy delivered to tumor tissue, and such data were correlated with pathological findings.


All rabbits were successfully implanted with VX2 cells, leading to a grossly apparent spinal and paraspinal tissue mass. The CTF guidance provided accurate placement of the acoustic ablator in all tumors, as corroborated through gross and microscopic histology. Significant tumor death was noted in all specimens without collateral damage to nearby nerve tissue. Tissue destruction just beyond the margin of the tumor was noted in some but not all specimens. No neurological deficits occurred in response to ablation. Reconstruction of measured temperature data allowed accurate assessment of volumetric dose delivered to tissues.


Using a rabbit intravertebral tumor model, the authors have successfully delivered tumoricidal doses of acoustic energy via a therapeutic ultrasound ablation probe placed percutaneously with CTF guidance. The authors have thus established the first technical and preclinical feasibility study of controlled ultrasound ablation of spinal tumors in vivo.