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Eric S. Nussbaum

Despite decades of critical analysis, the precise indications for cerebral revascularization remain poorly defined. It is clear that some patients undergoing therapeutic carotid artery (CA) sacrifice for the management of unclippable intracranial aneurysms or skull base neoplasms will require revascularization to prevent or reduce the risk of cerebral infarction.4,11 Nevertheless, the decisions of when to perform this procedure and what type of bypass to undertake in these cases remain debated. The question of whether revascularization should be conducted in cases involving ischemic disease is even more controversial.1–3,5,8

This issue of Neurosurgical Focus is devoted to the topic of cerebral revascularization, assembling a collection of articles from noted experts in this field. The papers address many of the challenging and important issues yet to be defined in this controversial area.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Eric S. Nussbaum, Kevin Kallmes, Jodi Lowary and Leslie A. Nussbaum

OBJECTIVE

Undiagnosed hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV in patients present risks of transmission of bloodborne infections to surgeons intraoperatively. Presurgical screening has been suggested as a protocol to protect surgical staff from these pathogens. The authors sought to determine the incidence of HCV and HIV infection in elective craniotomy patients and analyze the cost-effectiveness of universal and risk factor–specific screening for protection of the surgical staff.

METHODS

All patients undergoing elective craniotomy between July 2009 and July 2016 at the National Brain Aneurysm Center who did not refuse screening were included in this study. The authors utilized rapid HCV and HIV tests to screen patients prior to elective surgery, and for each patient who tested positive using the rapid HCV or HIV test, qualitative nucleic acid testing was used to confirm active viral load, and risk factor information was collected. Patients scheduled for nonurgent surgery who were found to be HCV positive were referred to a hepatologist for preoperative treatment. The authors compared risk factors between patients who tested positive on rapid tests, patients with active viral loads, and a random sample of patients who tested negative. The authors also tracked the clinical and material costs of HCV and HIV rapid test screening per patient for cost-effectiveness analysis and calculated the cost per positive result of screening all patients and of screening based on all patient risk factors that differed significantly between patients with and those without positive HCV test results.

RESULTS

The study population of patients scheduled for elective craniotomy included 1461 patients, of whom 22 (1.5%) refused the screening. Of the 1439 patients screened, 15 (1.0%) tested positive for HCV using rapid HCV screening; 9 (60%) of these patients had active viral loads. No patient (0%) tested positive for HIV. Seven (77.8%) of the 9 patients with active viral loads underwent treatment with a hepatologist and were referred back for surgery 3–6 months after sustained virologic response to treatment, but the remaining 2 patients (22.2%) required urgent surgery. Of the 9 patients with active viral loads, 1 patient (11%) had a history of both intravenous drug abuse and tattoos. Two of the 9 patients (22%) had tattoos, and 3 (33%) were born within the age-screening bracket (born 1945–1965) recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates of smoking differed significantly (p < 0.001) between patients who had active viral loads of HCV and patients who were HCV negative, and rates of smoking (p < 0.001) and IV drug abuse (p < 0.01) differed significantly between patients who were HCV rapid-test positive and those who were HCV negative. Total screening costs (95% CI) per positive result were $3,877.33 ($2,348.05–$11,119.28) for all patients undergoing HCV rapid screening, $226.29 ($93.54–$312.68) for patients with a history of smoking, and $72.00 ($29.15–$619.39) for patients with a history of IV drug abuse.

CONCLUSIONS

The rate of undiagnosed HCV infection in this patient population was commensurate with national levels. While the cost of universal screening was considerable, screening patients based on a history of smoking or IV drug abuse would likely reduce costs per positive result greatly and potentially provide cost-effective identification and treatment of HCV patients and surgical staff protection. HIV screening found no infected patients and was not cost-effective.

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Ramachandra P. Tummala, Ray M. Chu and Eric S. Nussbaum

Object

The role of cerebral revascularization remains unclear in symptomatic occlusive cerebrovascular disease refractory to medical therapy. Despite the disappointing findings of the Cooperative Study on Extracranial–Intracranial Bypass, a subpopulation of patients with ischemic cerebrovascular disease and poor hemodynamic reserve may benefit from extracranial–intracranial (EC–IC) bypass. The authors reviewed the records of 65 patients who underwent 71 EC–IC bypass procedures at their institution over the past 6 years.

Methods

All patients except one presented with repeated transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) that were referable to the involved vascular region. Eight patients underwent EC–IC bypass urgently for “crescendo” TIAs refractory to anti-platelet and anticoagulation therapy. Indications for surgery included cervical internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion in 28, supraclinoid ICA stenosis in two, middle cerebral artery stenosis or occlusion in 14, moyamoya disease in 18, and ICA dissection in three. Cerebral angiography demonstrated poor collateral flow to the involved region in each case. There were no postoperative strokes or deaths in this series. Following EC–IC bypass, the vast majority (95.4%) of patients experienced cessation of their ischemic events and stabilization of preexisting neurological dysfunction. Of the eight patients who underwent EC–IC bypass urgently for crescendo TIAs, two awoke with increased neurological deficits that improved rapidly within 24 hours of surgery.

Conclusions

Although the Cooperative Study failed to show benefit from this treatment modality, the authors have continued to perform EC–IC bypass in certain cases. Carefully selected individuals with occlusive cerebrovascular disease and persistent ischemic symptoms refractory to maximal medical therapy appear to benefit from cerebral revascularization.

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Eric S. Nussbaum, Tariq M. Janjua, Archie Defillo, Jody L. Lowary and Leslie A. Nussbaum

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of urgent extracranial-intracranial (ECIC) bypass in the management of intracranial cerebrovascular disease and acute cerebral ischemic injury in carefully selected patients.

Methods

The authors reviewed the medical records and neuroimaging studies in 13 consecutive patients who underwent urgent surgical cerebral revascularization to treat acute cerebral ischemia. None were thought to be appropriate candidates for endovascular therapy. The patients' ages ranged from 21 to 65 years (mean 41.2 years). The mean follow-up review was 3.5 years, and no patient was lost to follow-up.

Results

Preoperative angiographic evaluation identified critical narrowing of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA) in 8 patients, the M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in 3, and the cervical/petrous ICA in 2. All patients had progressive, refractory symptoms associated with enlarging areas of infarction on diffusion weighted MR imaging, despite maximal medical therapy, which included anticoagulation and antiplatelet agents, blood pressure elevation, and fluid resuscitation. All patients underwent superficial temporal artery–MCA anastomosis on an urgent basis. In every case, the bypass prevented further stroke progression. In 2 cases, revascularization was followed by rapid, dramatic improvement of preoperative neurological deficits.

Conclusions

In the authors' experience, emergency EC-IC bypass in patients with acute ischemic injury was both safe and effective. This population was characterized by relatively young patients with severely limited collateral circulation. In this series of 13 carefully selected patients, bypass was successful in arresting progression of stroke, and in some cases resulted in rapid neurological improvement.

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Eric S. Nussbaum, Michael T. Madison, James K. Goddard, Jeffrey P. Lassig and Leslie A. Nussbaum

Object

The authors report the management and outcomes of 55 patients with 60 intracranial aneurysms arising distal to the major branch points of the circle of Willis and vertebrobasilar system.

Methods

Between July 1997 and December 2006, the authors' neurovascular service treated 2021 intracranial aneurysms in 1850 patients. The database was reviewed retrospectively to identify peripherally located intracranial aneurysms. Aneurysms that were mycotic and aneurysms that were associated with either an arteriovenous malformation or an atrial myxoma were excluded from review.

Results

The authors encountered 60 peripheral intracranial aneurysms in 55 patients. There were 42 small, 7 large, and 11 giant lesions. Forty-one (68%) were unruptured, and 19 (32%) had bled. Fifty-three aneurysms were treated surgically by using direct clip reconstruction in 26, trapping or proximal occlusion with distal revascularization in 21, excision with end-to-end anastomosis in 3, and circumferential wrap/clip reconstruction in 3. Coils were used to treat 6 aneurysms, and 1 was treated by endovascular parent artery occlusion. Overall, 49 patients had good outcomes, 4 were left with new neurological deficits, and 2 died.

Conclusions

Peripherally situated intracranial aneurysms are rare lesions that present unique management challenges. Despite the fact that in the authors' experience these lesions were rarely treatable with simple clipping of the aneurysm neck or endovascular coil occlusion, preservation of the parent artery was possible in most cases, and the majority of patients had a good outcome.

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Eric S. Nussbaum, Patrick Graupman, James K. Goddard and Kevin M. Kallmes

The authors describe a 14-year-old boy presenting with an orbitocranial penetrating injury (OPI) from a metallic air gun pellet to the left eye who developed hemiparesis and speech difficulty due to migration of the pellet to the left middle cerebral artery. They highlight the potential complications associated with both OPIs and intravascular foreign body migration and occlusion by describing the patient’s presentation, results of imaging evaluation, and the combined endovascular treatment and extracranial-intracranial bypass, which resulted in rapid restoration of blood flow and full neurological recovery with intact vision. Based on this case and a review of the literature on intracranial foreign body migration with resultant vascular occlusion, the authors recommend that complex OPIs be treated at centers that offer both neuroendovascular and neurovascular surgical capabilities on an urgent basis to manage both the primary injury and potential secondary vascular compromise.

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Archie Defillo and Eric S. Nussbaum

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Eric S. Nussbaum, Michael T. Madison, James K. Goddard, Jeffrey P. Lassig, Kevin M. Kallmes and Leslie A. Nussbaum

OBJECTIVE

Advances in endovascular therapy for the treatment of middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms have led to scrutiny of its benefits compared with microsurgical repair. To provide information regarding complication rates and outcomes, the authors reviewed the results of a large series of unruptured MCA aneurysms treated with open microsurgery.

METHODS

The authors included all patients who underwent surgical repair of an unruptured MCA aneurysm between 1997 and 2015. All surgical procedures, including clipping, wrapping, bypass, and parent artery occlusion, were performed by a single neurosurgeon. Aneurysm occlusion was assessed using intraoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA) or DSA and indocyanine green videoangiography in all cases. Postoperatively, all patients were monitored in a neurointensive care unit overnight. Clinical follow-up was scheduled for 2–4 weeks after surgery, and angiographic follow-up was performed in those patients with subtotally occluded aneurysms at 1, 2, and 5 years postoperation.

RESULTS

The authors treated 750 unruptured MCA aneurysms in 716 patients: 649 (86.5%) aneurysms were small, 75 (10.0%) were large, and 26 (3.5%) were giant. Most aneurysms (n = 677, 90%) were treated by primary clip reconstruction. The surgical morbidity rate was 2.8%, and the mortality rate was 0%. Complete angiographic aneurysm occlusion was achieved in 92.0% of aneurysms. At final follow-up, 713 patients had a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 0, 2 patients had an mRS score of 2 or 3, and 1 had an mRS score of 4.

CONCLUSIONS

In high-volume centers, microsurgical management of MCA aneurysms can be performed with very low morbidity rates. Currently, microsurgical repair appears to be a highly effective method of treating MCA aneurysms.