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Roberto C. Heros

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Yasha Kadkhodayan, Colin P. Derdeyn, Dewitte T. Cross III, and Christopher J. Moran

Object

The goal in this retrospective study was to examine the procedural complication rate for carotid angioplasty and stent placement performed without cerebral protection devices.

Methods

Between March 1996 and December 2003, 167 carotid angioplasty and/or stent placement procedures were performed without cerebral protection devices in 152 patients (57 women and 95 men whose mean age was 64 years, range 19–92 years). Seven of these patients underwent angioplasty alone. Eighty-nine patients presented with focal neurological symptoms. Indications for surgery included atherosclerosis, radiation-associated stenosis, dissection, pseudoaneurysm, and stretched endovascular coils from aneurysm treatment. In this study, the patients' medical records were reviewed for clinical characteristics, techniques used, and resulting intraprocedural and 30-day complication rates.

The intraprocedural stroke rate was four (2.4%) of 167; this included three hemispheric strokes and one retinal embolus. All events occurred in patients who had symptomatic stenosis. The procedural transient ischemic complication rate was six (3.6%) of 167, as was the procedural nonneurological complication rate. During the 30 days post-procedure, one patient had died and three had suffered permanent ischemic events (two cerebral and one ocular). The composite 30-day postprocedural stroke and death rate was eight (5%) of 160. The rate of asymptomatic angiographically confirmed abnormalities was 0.6% (one treated vessel that was occluded but asymptomatic). The 30-day rate of nonneurological complications was 2.5%. A strong association between intraprocedural thromboembolic events (eight cases) and prior ischemic symptoms was found (p = 0.01).

Conclusions

Carotid angioplasty and stent placement without cerebral protection devices is safe, particularly in patients without symptomatic stenosis.

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Avi Mazumdar, Dennis J. Rivet, Colin P. Derdeyn, DeWitte T. Cross III, and Christopher J. Moran

Object

This study was conducted to determine whether there is a change in intracranial arterial diameters after verapamil infusion for vasospasm and, if it is present, to determine whether the change occurs in proximal, intermediate, or distal vessels.

Methods

The authors measured arterial diameters in all patients treated with intraarterial verapamil at their institutions between August 2003 and September 2004. In all, 18 treatments were examined in 15 patients. Measurements were made before and after verapamil infusion in a blinded fashion with the aid of a magnification loupe at nine predetermined arterial sites on each angiogram. Baseline arterial measurements were made on each patient's initial angiogram and on the angiogram demonstrating spasm prior to endovascular therapy as well in 14 of the patients. Charts were retrospectively reviewed to determine whether the patients benefited from intraarterial vera-pamil.

From the time of the initial angiogram to the time of vasospasm, there was a 21.6% decrease (p = 0.092) in proximal artery diameter, a 47.1% decrease (p < 0.05) in intermediate artery diameter, and a 12.4% decrease (p < 0.05) in distal artery diameter. There were no significant changes in the diameters of proximal, intermediate, or distal vessels after verapamil infusion (mean dose 7.4 mg, range 2.5–10 mg). After infusion of intraarterial verapamil, the proximal vessels showed a 1.1% decrease in diameter, the intermediate vessels showed a 9.4% increase, and the distal vessels showed a 3.3% decrease.

Conclusions

Administration of intraarterial verapamil does not cause a significant increase in the diameter of vasospastic vessels at the administered doses.

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DeWitte T. Cross III, David L. Tirschwell, Mary Ann Clark, Dan Tuden, Colin P. Derdeyn, Christopher J. Moran, and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

Object. The goal of this study was to determine whether a hospital's volume of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) cases affects mortality rates in patients with SAH. For certain serious illnesses and surgical procedures, outcome has been associated with hospital case volume. Subarachnoid hemorrhage, usually resulting from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, yields a high mortality rate. There has been no multistate study of a diverse set of hospitals to determine whether in-hospital mortality rates are influenced by hospital volume of SAH cases.

Methods. The authors conducted an analysis of a retrospective, administrative database of 16,399 hospitalizations for SAH (9290 admitted through emergency departments). These hospitalizations were from acute-care hospitals in 18 states representing 58% of the US population. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the case volume—mortality rate relationship. The authors used patient age, sex, Medicaid status, hospital region, data source year, hospital case volume quartile, and a comorbidity index in multivariate generalized estimating equations to model the relationship between hospital volume and mortality rates after SAH.

Patients with SAH who were treated in hospitals in which low volumes of patients with SAH are admitted through the emergency department had 1.4 times the odds of dying in the hospital (95% confidence interval 1.2–1.6) as patients admitted to high-volume hospitals after controlling for patient age, sex, Medicaid status, hospital region, database year, and comorbid conditions.

Conclusions. Patients with a diagnosis of SAH on their discharge records who initially presented through the emergency department of a hospital with a high volume of SAH cases had significantly lower mortality rates. Concentrating care for this disease in high-volume SAH treatment centers may improve overall survival.

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James M. Milburn, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Michael N. Diringer, Thomas K. Pilgram, and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

Object. This study was conducted to determine if there is a change in intracranial arterial diameters after papaverine infusion for vasospasm and to determine whether the change occurs in proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries.

Methods. The authors measured arterial diameters retrospectively in all patients who received intraarterial papaverine for treatment of vasospasm between November 1992 and August 1995. Patients who received papaverine in the same session with or following angioplasty were excluded. Measurements were made in a blinded manner with the aid of a magnification loupe at 12 predetermined sites on each angiogram before and after papaverine infusion. Eighty-one treatments in 34 patients were included. Angiograms obtained at the time of presentation with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were examined in 26 of the 34 patients. Nine carotid territories visualized by repeated angiography on the day after infusion were examined to determine the duration of the papaverine effect.

Conclusions. In all treatment groups an increase was found in the average arterial diameters ranging from 2.8 to 73.9%, with a mean increase of 26.5%. Increases in diameter were observed in proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries. The timing of treatments ranged from Day 3 to Day 19 post-SAH, and there was no relationship between timing and arterial responsiveness (r = −0.06). There was a moderately good correlation between the degree of vasospasm in an artery and its responsiveness to papaverine (r = −0.54, −0.66, and −0.66, for proximal, intermediate, and distal arteries, respectively). The effect of papaverine did not persist until the following day in patients in whom repeated angiography was performed.

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Matthew R. Reynolds, Jarod L. Roland, Ashwin A. Kamath, DeWitte T. Cross III, and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

Perforating arteries rarely project from the fundus of an aneurysm. We present the case of a 35-year-old woman who was found to have a right posterior communicating artery (PCOM) aneurysm via catheter angiography. Superselective microcatheter angiography revealed that perforating arteries arose from the aneurysm fundus that supplied the anterolateral thalamus. Microsurgical exploration confirmed several small perforating arteries arising from the aneurysm dome as well as an atretic distal PCOM artery. Given the complex anatomy, the lesion was unsuitable for clipping. We propose that this aneurysm represents a developmental variant whereby the proximal PCOM artery becomes atretic and terminates in PCOM perforators.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/iDcp9fsDjq4.

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Fang Qu, Venkatesh Aiyagari, DeWitte T. Cross III, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., and Michael N. Diringer

Object

When subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is caused by an aneurysm or other vascular anomaly, surgery or en-dovascular treatment is generally indicated. Nevertheless, some patients with SAH do not receive such therapy. The objective of this study was to characterize the patients who do not receive treatment.

Methods

The records of all patients with SAH who were admitted to a tertiary care center during a 9-year period were retrospectively reviewed. Untreated patients were classified into one of three groups based on angiographic results. Demographic, clinical, and neuroimaging findings and outcomes were compared between these three groups and between treated and untreated patients.

Definitive treatment of SAH was provided in 477 patients and 166 were untreated. Untreated patients were older, had a worse neurological status on presentation, and a higher mortality rate (43.4% compared with 11.7%). Among these, 76 had normal angiographic results and a low mortality rate (6.6%). Fifty-two patients in whom no cerebral angiogram was obtained (mostly because of their neurological condition) had the highest mortality rate (92.3%). Of 38 patients with abnormal angiographic results 50% died, mostly due to rebleeding. Among elderly patients or those with a severe neurological deficit, outcome was significantly better in the ones who were treated.

Conclusions

A significant proportion of patients who were admitted with SAH did not receive definitive therapy. Major reasons for this included normal results on angiographic studies and poor clinical grade. Untreated patients with normal angiographic results had a good outcome, whereas those in whom angiography was not performed and those with abnormal angiographic results had a high mortality rate from the consequences of the initial hemorrhage in the first instance or rebleeding in the second. Although among elderly patients and those with a poor clinical grade the mortality rate was lower among those who received treatment, a definitive conclusion favoring treatment in these high-risk groups can only be drawn from a prospective randomized study.

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Anna Terry, Gregory Zipfel, Eric Milner, DeWitte T. Cross III, Christopher J. Moran, Michael N. Diringer, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., and Colin P. Derdeyn

Object

Over the past decade, low-pressure, flow-directed balloons have been replaced by over-the-wire balloons in the treatment of vasospasm induced by subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The authors assess the procedural safety and technical efficacy of these newer devices.

Methods

Seventy-five patients who underwent 85 balloon angioplasty procedures for the treatment of SAH-induced vasospasm were identified from a prospective quality-assurance database. Medical records and angiographic reports were reviewed for evidence of procedural complications and technical efficacy.

No vessel rupture or perforation occurred, but thromboembolic complications were noted in four (4.7%) of the 85 procedures. Balloon angioplasty was frequently attempted and successfully accomplished in the distal internal carotid (100%), proximal middle cerebral (94%), vertebral (73%), and basilar (88%) arteries. Severe narrowing was present in 89 proximal anterior cerebral arteries. Angioplasty was attempted in 41 of these vessels and was successful in only 14 (34%). In 19 of the 27 unsuccessful attempts, the balloon could not be advanced over the wire due to severe vasospasm or unfavorable vessel angle. Follow-up angiography in a subset of patients demonstrated that severe recurrent vasospasm occurred in 15 (13%) of 116 vessels studied after angioplasty.

Conclusions

Over-the-wire balloons involve a low risk for vessel rupture. The anterior cerebral artery remains difficult to access and successfully treat with current devices. Further improvements in balloon design, such as smaller inflated diameters and better tracking, are necessary. Finally, thromboembolic complications remain an important concern, and severe vasospasm may recur after balloon angioplasty.

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Manish N. Shah, James A. Botros, Thomas K. Pilgram, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Michael R. Chicoine, Keith M. Rich, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn, and Gregory J. Zipfel

Object

The goal of this study was to determine the clinical course of Borden-Shucart Type I cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) and to calculate the annual rate of conversion of these lesions to more aggressive fistulas that have cortical venous drainage (CVD).

Methods

A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients harboring DAVFs who were seen at the authors' institution between 1997 and 2009. Twenty-three patients with Type I DAVFs who had available clinical follow-up were identified. Angiographic and clinical data from these patients were reviewed. Neurological outcome and status of presenting symptoms were assessed during long-term follow-up.

Results

Of the 23 patients, 13 underwent endovascular treatment for intolerable tinnitus or ophthalmological symptoms, and 10 did not undergo treatment. Three untreated patients died of unrelated causes. In those who were treated, complete DAVF obliteration was achieved in 4 patients, and palliative reduction in DAVF flow was achieved in 9 patients. Of the 19 patients without radiographic cure, no patient developed intracranial hemorrhage or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits (NHNDs), and no patient died of DAVF-related causes over a mean follow-up of 5.6 years. One patient experienced a spontaneous, asymptomatic obliteration of a partially treated DAVF in late follow-up, and 2 patients experienced a symptomatic conversion of their DAVF to a higher-grade fistula with CVD in late follow-up. The annual rate of conversion to a higher-grade DAVF based on Kaplan-Meier cumulative event-free survival analysis was 1.0%. The annual rate of intracranial hemorrhage, NHND, and DAVF-related death was 0.0%.

Conclusions

A small number of Type I DAVFs will convert to more aggressive DAVFs with CVD over time. This conversion to a higher-grade DAVF is typically heralded by a change in patient symptoms. Follow-up vascular imaging is important, particularly in the setting of recurrent or new symptoms.