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David J. Padalino and Eric M. Deshaies

Rapid revascularization of tandem extracranial and intracranial acute thromboembolic occlusions can be challenging and can delay restoration of blood flow to the cerebral circulation. Taking advantage of collateral pathways in the circle of Willis for thrombectomy can reduce the occlusion-to-revascularization time significantly, thereby protecting brain tissue from ischemic injury. The authors report using the trans–anterior communicating artery (ACoA) approach by using the Penumbra microcatheter to rapidly restore blood flow to the middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory prior to treating the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion. Two patients with acute onset of tandem ipsilateral ICA and MCA occlusions and a competent ACoA underwent rapid revascularization of the MCA using a trans-ACoA approach for pharmaceutical and mechanical thrombolysis with the 0.026-in Penumbra microcatheter. Subsequently, once blood flow was reestablished in the MCA territory via cross-filling from the contralateral ICA, the proximally occluded ICA dissection was revascularized with a stent. Both patients had rapid revascularization of the MCA territory (both Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction Grade 3) with the trans-ACoA approach (19 and 36 minutes) followed by treatment of the ipsilateral proximal ICA occlusion. This prevented prolonged MCA ischemia time (72 and 47 minutes for ICA revascularization time saved) that would have otherwise occurred if the dissections were treated prior to revascularization of the MCA. Both patients had improved NIH Stroke Scale scores after the procedure. No adverse events from crossing the ACoA with the Penumbra microcatheter were encountered during the revascularization procedure. The trans-ACoA approach with the Penumbra microcatheter for rapid revascularization of an acutely thrombosed MCA in the setting of a simultaneous ipsilateral proximal ICA occlusion is feasible in patients with a competent ACoA. This technique can significantly minimize ischemic injury by reducing the occlusion-to-revascularization time and allow for MCA perfusion via collateral circulation while treating a proximal occlusion. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported trans-ACoA approach with the Penumbra microcatheter and the first to report the utilization of the collateral intracranial circulation to reduce occlusion-to-revascularization time.

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Eric M. Deshaies, Darryl DiRisio and A. John Popp

In recent decades there have been revolutionary technological advances in the management of traumatic spinal column injuries. Despite these advances, the basic principles of reduction and stabilization of vertebral fractures and dislocations remain similar to those proposed by ancient and medieval physicians. Theodoric of Bologna, in his text Chiurgica de Theodoric (ca. AD 1267), described an extracorporeal approach to the management of traumatic spinal column misalignments. Surprisingly, his techniques are still used in many instances by contemporary spine surgeons, despite the availability of a more advanced technological armamentarium than that existent in medieval times.

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Matthew A. Adamo and Eric M. Deshaies

✓In patients who develop fulminant cerebral edema and elevated intracranial pressures, viral encephalitis can result in devastating neurological and cognitive sequelae despite antiviral therapy. The benefits of decompressive craniectomy, if any, in this group of patients are unclear. In this manuscript, the authors report their experience with 2 patients who presented with herpes simplex virus requiring surgical decompression resulting in excellent neurocognitive outcomes. They also review the literature on decompressive craniectomy in patients with fulminating infectious encephalitis.

Four published articles consisting of 13 patients were identified in which the authors had reported their experience with decompressive craniectomy for fulminant infectious encephalitis. Herpes simplex virus was confirmed in 6 cases, Mycoplasma pneumoniae in 2, and an unidentified viral infection in 5 others. All patients developed clinical signs of brainstem dysfunction and underwent surgical decompression resulting in good (Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] Score 4) or excellent (GOS Score 5) functional recoveries.

The authors conclude that infectious encephalitis is a neurosurgical disease in cases in which there is clinical and imaging evidence of brainstem compression. Surgical decompression results in excellent recovery of functional independence in both children and adults despite early clinical signs of brainstem dysfunction.

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Eric M. Deshaies, Matthew A. Adamo and Alan S. Boulos

Object

The HydroCoil embolization system is a helical platinum coil coated with a polymeric hydrogel that expands when it contacts aqueous solutions to increase filling volumes, improve mesh stability, and possibly elicit a healing response within the aneurysm. In this paper, the authors report the 1-year recurrence and complication rates of 67 aneurysms embolized with the HydroCoil system.

Methods

Sixty-four consecutive patients (67 total aneurysms) with small (≤ 7 mm), large (8–15 mm), very large (16–24 mm), and giant (≥ 25 mm) aneurysms in the anterior and posterior intracranial circulations were treated with HydroCoils between March 2003 and September 2004. All aneurysms were embolized by the senior author (A.S.B) with HydroCoils alone or in combination with bare platinum coils, until either there was no further angiographic contrast filling of the aneurysm or the microcatheter was pushed out of the dome by the coil mass. Balloon assistance was used in three cases and combined Neuroform stent–coil embolization in eight other cases. To evaluate the safety and 1-year efficacy of the HydroCoil system, periprocedural complications were recorded, and angiographic recurrences were categorized using the Raymond–Roy Occlusion Classification (RROC) system.

The 1-year aneurysm recurrence rate independent of size was 15% in patients treated with HydroCoils. Seventy percent of the patients had stable occlusions. The recurrence rate for small aneurysms was 3.7%, and the combined recurrence rate for small and large aneurysms was 6%. Fifteen percent of the aneurysms initially categorized as RROC Type 2 or 3 with stasis of contrast material at the time of initial embolization improved in RROC type, allowing the authors to develop the aneurysm embolization grade to predict recurrence. The neurological complication rate was 14.9%, of which 4.5% represented permanent neurological deficits.

Conclusions

The HydroCoil embolization system is safe and provides excellent 1-year occlusion of small and large aneurysms with initial RROC Type 1, as well as those with RROC Types 2 and 3 with stasis of contrast material at the time of embolization. Very large and giant aneurysms were not as successfully occluded with this system. Treatment of large and giant internal carotid artery aneurysms was more likely to result in cranial nerve palsies and postembolization headaches than treatment in other locations. The aneurysm embolization grade the authors developed using the results of this study accurately predicted 1-year recurrence rates based on the immediate postembolization angiographic characteristics of the treated aneurysm.

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Eric M. Deshaies, Sandeep Bagla, Celso Agner and Alan S. Boulos

Object

Coil embolization of aneurysms has been shown to be as safe and effective as surgical clip ligation, but has a higher recurrence rate. Advances in coil technology aim to reduce aneurysm recurrence by coating the devices with biological substances. An example of this is MicroVention's HydroCoil, which is a platinum coil coated with hydro-gel that improves filling volumes by swelling when it contacts blood. The goal of this study was to determine whether this new coil type significantly reduced or prevented recurrences of aneurysms.

Methods

The authors used three-dimensional computerized tomography angiography to determine aneurysm volumes accurately in 12 patients prior to coil embolization. The percentage filling volume was subsequently calculated for each aneurysm after treatment with HydroCoils and the immediate and 6-month follow-up angiographically confirmed occlusions were evaluated. The data demonstrated that both anterior and posterior intracranial aneurysms with diameters of 3 to 25 mm and volumes of 0.03 to 4.8 ml had filling volumes of 0.02 to 1.36 ml, resulting in filling volumes from 23% in a giant ophthalmic artery aneurysm to 80% in a small anterior communicating artery aneurysm. All of the aneurysms except for the giant one demonstrated stable occlusion on angiographic studies obtained at the 6-month follow-up review.

Conclusions

HydroCoil embolization of intracranial aneurysms is safe and effective for small, large, and very large aneurysms. The percentage filling volume is greater than that reported for bare platinum coils in every case except the giant aneurysm. Nevertheless, angiographically confirmed occlusion is not directly related to percentage filling volume, but rather to the ability to occlude the aneurysm neck.

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Alan S. Boulos, Eric M. Deshaies, Jiang Qian and A. John Popp

✓ In this report, the authors discuss a novel use of intradural vertebral artery (VA) stent placement to protect a tumor-encased vessel from injury during lesion resection. The tumor was a rare foramen magnum region xanthogranuloma and a component of Erdheim—Chester disease (ECD). This 64-year-old man presented with large masses encasing and compressing the intracranial segments of each VA. Preoperatively, a left VA stent was placed to protect the arterial wall during resection of the tumor. Histopathological study results on the subtotally resected mass were consistent with xanthogranuloma, a rare benign histiocytic tumor frequently occurring in patients with ECD. Further radiographic evaluation in the patient revealed an osteolytic lesion of the eleventh thoracic vertebra supporting the diagnosis of ECD disease. Based on this case study, the authors recommend the following: 1) tumor-encased vessels can be protected preoperatively by stent placement to assist with tumor debulking; and 2) patients diagnosed with a xanthogranuloma should be evaluated for multisystem involvement consistent with ECD.

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Eric M. Deshaies, Matthew A. Adamo, Jiang Qian and Darryl A. DiRisio

✓ This 79-year-old woman presented with progressively worsening dementia, abulia, flat affect, urinary incontinence, and profuse watery diarrhea. Results of computerized tomography and magnetic resonance studies indicated an extraaxial, dural-based mass compressing the right frontal lobe and consistent with a convexity meningioma. A right frontal craniotomy was performed and the dural-based mass was resected. Histopathological features on immunostaining of the lesion were consistent with a carcinoid tumor (low-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma). Further evaluation revealed no primary carcinoid tumor in the foregut from which they typically originate. The authors concluded that this intracranial carcinoid tumor was the primary lesion despite its unusual location and that it should be included in the differential diagnosis of dural-based, extraaxial brain lesions.

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Celso Agner, Eric M. Deshaies, Gary L. Bernardini, A. John Popp and Alan S. Boulos

✓ In most cases of deep venous sinus thrombosis, systemic anticoagulation represents the initial treatment of choice for preventing propagation of a clot in the dural sinuses. In patients with deep or extensive venous sinus thrombosis, a combination of treatment modalities may be required including systemic anticoagulation, selective venous thrombolysis, and mechanical thrombectomy. In the current study the authors report on a patient who presented with the acute onset of headache, vomiting, a depressed level of consciousness, and a left hemiparesis and in whom a right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory ischemic stroke with hemorrhagic conversion was initially diagnosed. Results of diagnostic cerebral angiography demonstrated a patent right MCA and a deep venous sinus thrombosis involving most of the dural sinuses. Despite adequate systemic heparinization, the patient's neurological condition deteriorated and direct administration of alteplase into the transverse sinus in conjunction with mechanical clot disruption using a coronary AngioJet was required. Venous flow was successfully reestablished in the deep and superficial venous sinuses by using a 0.014-in exchange wire routed from the right common femoral vein through the sinuses and out the left common femoral vein. Excellent angiographic results were obtained, and the patient had recovered completely by the 7-month follow up.

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Tyler J. Kenning, Eric M. Deshaies, Matthew A. Adamo, John B. Waldman and Alan S. Boulos

Identifying a source of spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) or intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in patients with negative results on cranial angiographic imaging can be a diagnostic challenge. The authors present the case of a 14-month-old girl who presented with lethargy and spontaneous SAH and IVH, and later became acutely paraplegic. Except for the SAH and IVH, findings on neuroimages of the brain were normal. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intramedullary thoracolumbar spinal cord hemorrhage that was found to be associated with arterialized veins intraoperatively. Catheter-based diagnostic angiography identified a spinal perimedullary macroarteriovenous fistula (macro-AVF) that was completely embolized with Onyx, negating the need for further surgical intervention. The authors believe this to be the first reported case of a thoracolumbar perimedullary macro-AVF presenting with SAH and IVH. In addition, descriptions of Onyx embolization of a spinal AVF in the literature are rare, especially in pediatric patients.

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Amit Singla, Eric M. Deshaies, Vlad Melnyk, Gentian Toshkezi, Amar Swarnkar, Hoon Choi and Lawrence S. Chin

The role of preoperative embolization in meningioma management remains controversial, even though 4 decades have passed since it was first described. It has been shown to offer benefits such as decreased blood loss and “softening of the tumor” during subsequent resection. However, the actual benefits remain unclear, and the potential harm of an additional procedure along with the cost of embolization have limited its use to a small proportion of the meningiomas treated.

In this article the authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with preoperative embolization of meningiomas over the previous 6 years (March 2007–March 2013). In addition, they performed a MEDLINE search using a combination of the terms “meningioma,” “preoperative,” and “embolization” to analyze the indications, embolizing agents, timing, and complications reported during preoperative embolization of meningiomas. In this retrospective review, 18 cases (female/male ratio 12:6) were identified in which endovascular embolization was used prior to resection of an intracranial meningioma. Craniotomy for tumor resection was performed within 4 days after endovascular embolization in all cases, with an average time to surgery of 1.9 days. The average duration of surgery was 4 hours and 18 minutes, and the average blood loss was 574 ml, with a range of 300–1000 ml. Complications following endovascular therapy were identified in 3 (16.7%) of 18 cases, including one each of transient hemiparesis, permanent hemiparesis, and tumor swelling.

The literature review returned 15 articles consisting of a study population greater than 25 patients. No randomized controlled study was found. The use of small polyvinyl alcohol particles (45–150 μm) is more effective in preoperative devascularization than larger particles (150–250 μm), but is criticized due to the higher risk of complications such as cranial nerve palsies and postprocedural hemorrhage. Time to surgery after embolization is inconsistently reported across the articles, and conclusions on the appropriate timing of surgery could not be drawn. The overall complication rate reported after treatment with preoperative meningioma embolization ranges from as high as 21% in some of the older literature to approximately 6% in recent literature describing treatment with newer embolization techniques. The evidence in the literature supporting the use of preoperative meningioma embolization is mainly from case series, and represents Level III evidence. Due to the lack of randomized controlled clinical trials, it is difficult to draw any significant conclusions on the overall usefulness of preoperative embolization during the management of meningiomas to consider it a standard practice.