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Elad I. Levy, Adnan H. Siddiqui and L. Nelson Hopkins

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Todd P. Thompson, Elad Levy, Emanuel Kanal and L. Dade Lunsford

✓ The presence of pneumocephalus in a patient without a history of undergoing intracranial or intrathecal procedures is a significant radiographic finding that portends a violation of the dural barrier or the presence of infection. The authors report a case of iatrogenic pneumocephalus that confounded the evaluation of a patient with unrelated neurological disorders, resulting in unnecessary transfer of the patient and utilization of medical resources. A review of 100 sequential computerized tomography scans obtained in patients for any indication in the emergency department revealed a 6% incidence of iatrogenic intravenous pneumocephalus. Computerized tomography scans revealing pneumocephalus had been obtained for altered mental status, focal motor deficit, seizure, and trauma. More careful intravenous catheterization and recognition of the condition on imaging may avoid similar problems.

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Elad I. Levy, John D. Heiss, Michael S. Kent, Charles J. Riedel and Edward H. Oldfield

U The pathophysiology of syrinx development is controversial. The authors report on a patient with progressive cervical myelopathy and a Chiari I malformation in whom spinal cord swelling preceded, by a few months, the development of a syrinx in the same location. The patient underwent a craniocervical decompressive procedure and duraplasty, and complete resolution of cord swelling and syringomyelia was achieved. This report is consistent with the theory that patients with Chiari I malformation have increased transmural flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which causes spinal cord swelling that later coalesces into a syrinx. The pathophysiology of syrinx development from spinal cord edema and the success of surgical decompressive treatments that do not invade the central nervous system support the prompt treatment of patients with spinal cord edema who are at risk for the development of a syrinx.

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Robert D. Ecker, Tsz Lau, Elad I. Levy and L. Nelson Hopkins


There is no known standard 30-day morbidity and mortality rate for high-risk patients undergoing carotid artery (CA) angioplasty and stent (CAS) placement. The high-risk registries and the Stenting and Angioplasty with Protection in Patients at High Risk for Endarterectomy, Carotid Revascularization using Endarterectomy or Stenting Systems, and European Long-term Carotid Artery Stenting trials report different rates of morbidity and mortality, and each high-risk cohort has a different risk profile. The applicability of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) results from North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial/Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study (NASCET/ACAS) remains uncertain, as most clinical CAS placement series reported to date typically included patients who would not have qualified for those studies. At the University at Buffalo, the same neurosurgeons perform triage in patients with CA disease and perform both CEA and CAS insertion. The authors review morbidity and mortality rates in this practice model.


Diagnosis-related group codes were used to search the authors’ practice database for patients who had undergone a completed CA intervention solely for the indication of atherosclerotic disease. One hundred twenty patients (129 vessels) treated with CAS surgery and 95 patients (100 vessels) treated with CEA met these criteria. In the CAS placement group, 78% of the patients would not have met NASCET/ACAS inclusion criteria. Demographic and clinical data for both groups were recorded on a spreadsheet for analysis.

At 30 days, one patient in the CEA group and two in the CAS group had died. Stroke occurred in one patient in the CAS group and none in the CEA group. Myocardial infarction (MI) occurred in one patient who underwent CAS surgery compared with three undergoing CEA. Composite incidence of stroke/death/MI was 3.3% in the CAS group and 3.2% in the CEA group.


In a practice in which surgeons perform both CEA and CAS surgery, the event rates for the CAS surgery equivalent to NASCET and ACAS rates for CEA can be achieved, even in high-risk NASCET/ACAS-ineligible patients in 78% of the CAS cases.

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Giuseppe Lanzino and Pietro Ivo D'Urso

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Melvin Field, Barton F. Branstetter IV, Elad Levy, Howard Yonas and Charles A. Jungreis

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Kunal Vakharia, Stephan A. Munich, Michael K. Tso, Muhammad Waqas and Elad I. Levy

Stent-assisted coiling offers a potential solution for coil embolization of broad-based aneurysms. Challenges associated with navigating a microcatheter beyond these aneurysms sometimes require looping the microcatheter within the aneurysm dome. Reducing microcatheter loops within domes can be difficult, and anchor techniques have been described, including balloon anchor, stent-retriever anchor, and stent anchor techniques. The authors present a patient requiring stent-assisted coiling of an anterior communicating artery aneurysm in whom a stent anchor technique was used to reduce a microcatheter loop within an aneurysm dome before coil embolization. Postembolization angiographic runs showed complete coil occlusion of the aneurysm with approximately 35% packing density.

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Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Amin B. Kassam, Michael H. Horowitz, Louise Urgo, Constantinos Hadjipanayis, Elad I. Levy and Yue-Fang Chang

Object. Microvascular decompression (MVD) has become one of the primary treatments for typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Not all patients with facial pain, however, suffer from the typical form of this disease; many patients who present for surgical intervention actually have atypical TN. The authors compare the results of MVD performed for typical and atypical TN at their institution.

Methods. The results of 2675 MVDs in 2264 patients were reviewed using information obtained from the department database. The authors examined immediate postoperative relief in 2003 patients with typical and 672 with atypical TN, and long-term follow-up results in patients for whom more than 5 years of follow-up data were available (969 with typical and 219 with atypical TN). Outcomes were divided into three categories: excellent, pain relief without medication; good, mild or intermittent pain controlled with low-dose medication; and poor, no or poor pain relief with large amounts of medication. The results for typical and atypical TN were compared and patient history and pain characteristics were evaluated for possible predictive factors.

Conclusions. In this study, MVD for typical TN resulted in complete postoperative pain relief in 80% of patients, compared with 47% with complete relief in those with atypical TN. Significant pain relief was achieved after 97% of MVDs in patients with typical TN and after 87% of these procedures for atypical TN. When patients were followed for more than 5 years, the long-term pain relief after MVD for those with typical TN was excellent in 73% and good in an additional 7%, for an overall significant pain relief in 80% of patients. In contrast, following MVD for atypical TN, the long-term results were excellent in only 35% of cases and good in an additional 16%, for overall significant pain relief in only 51%. Memorable onset and trigger points were predictive of better postoperative pain relief in both atypical and typical TN. Preoperative sensory loss was a negative predictor for good long-term results following MVD for atypical TN.

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Robert D. Ecker, Ramachandra P. Tummala, Elad I. Levy and L. Nelson Hopkins

✓Both carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stent placement with filter embolic protection present a higher risk for patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) lesions containing intraluminal thrombus. Despite the risk associated with intervention, patients with symptomatic intraluminal thrombus who were enrolled in the North American Symptomatic Endarterectomy Trial did better with surgical than medical treatment. We describe the novel use of an endovascular “internal cross-clamping” technique in two patients with symptomatic intraluminal thrombus in the ICA. A 57-year-old woman presented with a history of multiple episodes of left upper-extremity numbness, mild dysarthria, and agraphia occurring over the previous 24 hours. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging revealed a scattered watershed infarction of the right hemisphere and a critical stenosis of the right ICA. An 81-year-old man awoke with hemiplegia and inability to follow commands after undergoing a complicated carotid endarterectomy. Computed tomographic perfusion imaging demonstrated an increased time to peak in the left middle cerebral territory, and emergent angiography demonstrated both intimal flaps and thrombus in the endarterectomy bed. The lesions in both patients were treated with endovascular stent placement using both proximal and distal flow occlusion—a functional “internal cross-clamping”—for embolic protection. To our knowledge, this is the first report of internal trapping and stent placement for symptomatic carotid stenosis containing intraluminal thrombus. This treatment strategy should be added to the armamentarium of endovascular surgeons in selected patients with symptomatic carotid intraluminal thrombus.