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Matthew B. Potts, Daniel W. Zumofen, Eytan Raz, Peter K. Nelson and Howard A. Riina

Endovascular embolization is typically reserved as an adjuvant therapy in the management of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), either for preoperative devascularization or preradiosurgical volume reduction. Curative embolization plays a limited role in AVM treatment but several studies have shown that it is possible, especially with later-generation liquid embolic agents. Given the complexity of AVM anatomy and the recent controversies over the role of any intervention in AVM management, it is critical that the cerebrovascular community better define the indications of each treatment modality to provide quality AVM management. In this review, the authors evaluate the role of curative AVM embolization. Important considerations in the feasibility of curative AVM embolization include whether it can be performed reliably and safely, and whether it is a durable cure. Studies over the past 20 years have begun to define the anatomical factors that are amenable to complete endovascular occlusion, including size, feeding artery anatomy, AVM morphology, and endovascular accessibility. More recent studies have shown that highly selected patients with AVMs can be treated with curative intent, leading to occlusion rates as high as 100% of such prospectively identified lesions with minimal morbidity. Advances in endovascular technology and techniques that support the efficacy and safety of curative embolization are discussed, as is the importance of superselective diagnostic angiography. Finally, the durability of curative embolization is analyzed. Overall, while still unproven, endovascular embolization has the potential to be a safe, effective, and durable curative treatment for select AVMs, broadening the armamentarium with which one can treat this disease.

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Matthew B. Potts, Maksim Shapiro, Daniel W. Zumofen, Eytan Raz, Erez Nossek, Keith G. DeSousa, Tibor Becske, Howard A. Riina and Peter K. Nelson

OBJECTIVE

The Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) is now a well-established option for the treatment of giant or complex aneurysms, especially those arising from the anterior circulation. Considering the purpose of such treatment is to maintain patency of the parent vessel, postembolization occlusion of the parent artery can be regarded as an untoward outcome. Antiplatelet therapy in the posttreatment period is therefore required to minimize such events. Here, the authors present a series of patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated with the PED who subsequently experienced parent vessel occlusion (PVO).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all anterior circulation aneurysms consecutively treated at a single institution with the PED through 2014, identifying those with PVO on follow-up imaging. Aneurysm size and location, number of PEDs used, and follow-up digital subtraction angiography results were recorded. When available, pre- and postembolization platelet function testing results were also recorded.

RESULTS

Among 256 patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated with the PED, the authors identified 8 who developed PVO after embolization. The mean aneurysm size in this cohort was 22.3 mm, and the number of PEDs used per case ranged from 2 to 10. Six patients were found to have asymptomatic PVO discovered incidentally on routine follow-up imaging between 6 months and 3 years postembolization, 3 of whom had documented “delayed” PVO with prior postembolization angiograms confirming aneurysm occlusion and a patent parent vessel at an earlier time. Two additional patients experienced symptomatic PVO, one of which was associated with early discontinuation of antiplatelet therapy.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large series of anterior circulation aneurysms, the authors report a low incidence of symptomatic PVO, complicating premature discontinuation of postembolization antiplatelet or anticoagulation therapy. Beyond the subacute period, asymptomatic PVO was more common, particularly among complex fusiform or very large–necked aneurysms, highlighting an important phenomenon with the use of PED for the treatment of anterior circulation aneurysms, and suggesting that extended periods of antiplatelet coverage may be required in select complex aneurysms.

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Simone A. Dijkland, Blessing N. R. Jaja, Mathieu van der Jagt, Bob Roozenbeek, Mervyn D. I. Vergouwen, Jose I. Suarez, James C. Torner, Michael M. Todd, Walter M. van den Bergh, Gustavo Saposnik, Daniel W. Zumofen, Michael D. Cusimano, Stephan A. Mayer, Benjamin W. Y. Lo, Ewout W. Steyerberg, Diederik W. J. Dippel, Tom A. Schweizer, R. Loch Macdonald and Hester F. Lingsma

OBJECTIVE

Differences in clinical outcomes between centers and countries may reflect variation in patient characteristics, diagnostic and therapeutic policies, or quality of care. The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence and magnitude of between-center and between-country differences in outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).

METHODS

The authors analyzed data from 5972 aSAH patients enrolled in randomized clinical trials of 3 different treatments from the Subarachnoid Hemorrhage International Trialists (SAHIT) repository, including data from 179 centers and 20 countries. They used random effects logistic regression adjusted for patient characteristics and timing of aneurysm treatment to estimate between-center and between-country differences in unfavorable outcome, defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 1–3 (severe disability, vegetative state, or death) or modified Rankin Scale score of 4–6 (moderately severe disability, severe disability, or death) at 3 months. Between-center and between-country differences were quantified with the median odds ratio (MOR), which can be interpreted as the ratio of odds of unfavorable outcome between a typical high-risk and a typical low-risk center or country.

RESULTS

The proportion of patients with unfavorable outcome was 27% (n = 1599). The authors found substantial between-center differences (MOR 1.26, 95% CI 1.16–1.52), which could not be explained by patient characteristics and timing of aneurysm treatment (adjusted MOR 1.21, 95% CI 1.11–1.44). They observed no between-country differences (adjusted MOR 1.13, 95% CI 1.00–1.40).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes after aSAH differ between centers. These differences could not be explained by patient characteristics or timing of aneurysm treatment. Further research is needed to confirm the presence of differences in outcome after aSAH between hospitals in more recent data and to investigate potential causes.