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Shervin R. Dashti, Humain Baharvahdat, Robert F. Spetzler, Eric Sauvageau, Steven W. Chang, Michael F. Stiefel, Min S. Park and Nicholas C. Bambakidis

Object

Postoperative infection after cranial surgery is a serious complication that requires immediate recognition and treatment. In certain cases such as postoperative meningitis, the patient can be treated with antibiotics only. In cases that involve a bone flap infection, subdural empyema, or cerebral abscess, however, reoperation is often needed. There has been significant disagreement regarding the incidence of postoperative central nervous system (CNS) infections following cranial surgery. In this paper the authors' goal was to perform a retrospective review of the incidence of CNS infection after cranial surgery at their institution. They focused their review on those patients who required repeated surgery to treat the infection.

Methods

The authors reviewed the medical records and imaging studies in all patients who underwent a craniotomy or stereotactic drainage for CNS infection over the past 10 years. Subgroup analysis was then performed in patients whose infection was a result of a previous cranial operation to determine the incidence, factors associated with infection, and the type of infectious organism. Patients treated nonoperatively (that is, those who received intravenous antibiotics for postoperative meningitis or cellulitis) were not included. Patients treated for wound infection without intracranial pus were also not included.

Results

During the study period from January 1997 through December 2007, ~ 16,540 cranial surgeries were performed by 25 neurosurgeons. These included elective as well as emergency and trauma cases. Of these cases 82 (0.5%) were performed to treat postoperative infection in 50 patients. All 50 patients underwent their original surgery at the authors' institution. The median age was 51 years (range 2–74 years). There were 26 male and 24 female patients.

The most common offending organism was methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, which was found in 10 of 50 patients. Gram-negative rods were found in 15 patients. Multiple organisms were identified in specimens obtained in 5 patients. Six patients had negative cultures. Most craniotomies leading to subsequent infection were performed for tumors or other mass lesions (23 of 50 patients), followed by craniotomies for hemorrhage and vascular lesions. Almost half of the patients underwent > 1 cranial operation before presenting with infection.

Conclusions

Postoperative infection after cranial surgery is an important phenomenon that needs immediate recognition. Even with strict adherence to sterile techniques and administration of antibiotic prophylaxis, a small percentage of these patients will develop an infection severe enough to require reoperation.

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Shervin R. Dashti, Humain Baharvahdat, Eric Sauvageau, Steven W. Chang, Michael F. Stiefel, Min S. Park, Robert F. Spetzler and Nicholas C. Bambakidis

✓ Brain abscess is a rare but very dangerous neurosurgical lesion. Prompt diagnosis and emergency surgical evacuation are the hallmarks of therapy. Brain abscess following ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke is a rare entity. These cases are often preceded by episodes of bacteremia, sepsis, and local infection. The authors report the case of a 30-year-old woman who presented with a cerebral abscess at the site of a recent intraparenchymal hemorrhage.

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Ricardo A. Hanel, Alan S. Boulos, Eric G. Sauvageau, Elad I. Levy, Lee R. Guterman and L. Nelson Hopkins

Vertebrobasilar nonsaccular aneurysms represent a small subset of intracranial aneurysms and usually are among the most challenging to be treated. The aim of this article was to review the literature and summarize the experience in the treatment of these lesions with endovascular approaches. The method of stent implantation as it is performed at the authors' institution, including options available for vertebral artery access, is described. Practitioners involved in the treatment of these lesions should be aware of the potential application of intravascular stent placement as well as the associated postprocedure risks and potential complications.

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Christopher D. Wilson, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Hai Sun, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Yan D. Zhao, Michael R. Levitt, Ricardo A. Hanel, Eric Sauvageau, Timothy B. Mapstone, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Cameron G. McDougall, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) may be complicated by hydrocephalus in 6.5%–67% of cases. Some patients with aSAH develop shunt dependency, which is often managed by ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. The objectives of this study were to review published risk factors for shunt dependency in patients with aSAH, determine the level of evidence for each factor, and calculate the magnitude of each risk factor to better guide patient management.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed and MEDLINE databases for Level A and Level B articles published through December 31, 2014, that describe factors affecting shunt dependency after aSAH and performed a systematic review and meta-analysis, stratifying the existing data according to level of evidence.

RESULTS

On the basis of the results of the meta-analysis, risk factors for shunt dependency included high Fisher grade (OR 7.74, 95% CI 4.47–13.41), acute hydrocephalus (OR 5.67, 95% CI 3.96–8.12), in-hospital complications (OR 4.91, 95% CI 2.79–8.64), presence of intraventricular blood (OR 3.93, 95% CI 2.80–5.52), high Hunt and Hess Scale score (OR 3.25, 95% CI 2.51–4.21), rehemorrhage (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.24–3.95), posterior circulation location of the aneurysm (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.53), and age ≥ 60 years (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.50–2.19). The only risk factor included in the meta-analysis that did not reach statistical significance was female sex (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.77–1.65).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors identified several risk factors for shunt dependency in aSAH patients that help predict which patients are likely to require a permanent shunt. Although some of these risk factors are not independent of each other, this information assists clinicians in identifying at-risk patients and managing their treatment.

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Marcelo Magaldi Ribeiro de Oliveira, Taise Mosso Ramos, Carlos Eduardo Ferrarez, Carla Jorge Machado, Pollyana Helena Vieira Costa, Daniel L. Alvarenga, Carolina K. Soares, Luiza M. Mainart, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Sebastião Gusmão, Eric Sauvageau, Ricardo A. Hanel and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

Surgical performance evaluation was first described with the OSATS (Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) and modified for aneurysm microsurgery simulation with the OSAACS (Objective Structured Assessment of Aneurysm Clipping Skills). These methods rely on the subjective opinions of evaluators, however, and there is a lack of objective evaluation for proficiency in the microsurgical treatment of brain aneurysms. The authors present a new instrument, the Skill Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) scale, which can be used similarly in a simulation model and in the treatment of unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms to predict surgical performance; the authors also report on its validation.

METHODS

The SAMBA scale was created by consensus among 5 vascular neurosurgeons from 2 different neurosurgical departments. SAMBA results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s alpha indexes, and multivariate ANOVA analyses (p < 0.05).

RESULTS

Expert, intermediate-level, and novice surgeons scored, respectively, an average of 33.9, 27.1, and 16.4 points in the real surgery and 33.3, 27.3, and 19.4 points in the simulation. The SAMBA interrater reliability index was 0.995 for the real surgery and 0.996 for the simulated surgery; the intrarater reliability was 0.983 (Cronbach’s alpha). In both the simulation and the real surgery settings, the average scores achieved by members of each group (expert, intermediate level, and novice) were significantly different (p < 0.001). Scores among novice surgeons were more diverse (coefficient of variation = 12.4).

CONCLUSIONS

Predictive validation of the placenta brain aneurysm model has been previously reported, but the SAMBA scale adds an objective scoring system to verify microsurgical ability in this complex operation, stratifying proficiency by points. The SAMBA scale can be used as an interface between learning and practicing, as it can be applied in a safe and controlled environment, such as is provided by a placenta model, with similar results obtained in real surgery, predicting real surgical performance.

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Benjamin L. Brown, Demetrius Lopes, David A. Miller, Rabih G. Tawk, Leonardo B. C. Brasiliense, Andrew Ringer, Eric Sauvageau, Ciarán J. Powers, Adam Arthur, Daniel Hoit, Kenneth Snyder, Adnan Siddiqui, Elad Levy, L. Nelson Hopkins, Hugo Cuellar, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Erol Veznedaroglu, Mandy Binning, J Mocco, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Alan Boulos, Junichi Yamamoto and Ricardo A. Hanel

OBJECT

The authors sought to determine whether flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) can approximate microsurgical decompression in restoring function after cranial neuropathy following carotid artery aneurysms.

METHODS

This multiinstitutional retrospective study involved 45 patients treated with PED across the United States. All patients included presented between November 2009 and October 2013 with cranial neuropathy (cranial nerves [CNs] II, III, IV, and VI) due to intracranial aneurysm. Outcome analysis included clinical and procedural variables at the time of treatment as well as at the latest clinical and radiographic follow-up.

RESULTS

Twenty-six aneurysms (57.8%) were located in the cavernous segment, while 6 (13.3%) were in the clinoid segment, and 13 (28.9%) were in the ophthalmic segment of the internal carotid artery. The average aneurysm size was 18.6 mm (range 4–35 mm), and the average number of flow diverters placed per patient was 1.2. Thirty-eight patients had available information regarding duration of cranial neuropathy prior to treatment. Eleven patients (28.9%) were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, while 27 (71.1%) were treated after 1 month of symptoms. The overall rate of cranial neuropathy improvement for all patients was 66.7%. The CN deficits resolved in 19 patients (42.2%), improved in 11 (24.4%), were unchanged in 14 (31.1%), and worsened in 1 (2.2%). Overtime, the rate of cranial neuropathy improvement was 33.3% (15/45), 68.8% (22/32), and 81.0% (17/21) at less than 6, 6, and 12 months, respectively. At last follow-up, 60% of patients in the isolated CN II group had improvement, while in the CN III, IV, or VI group, 85.7% had improved. Moreover, 100% (11/11) of patients experienced improvement if they were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, whereas 44.4% (12/27) experienced improvement if they treated after 1 month of symptom onset; 70.4% (19/27) of those with partial deficits improved compared with 30% (3/10) of those with complete deficits.

CONCLUSIONS

Cranial neuropathy caused by cerebral aneurysm responds similarly when the aneurysm is treated with the PED compared with open surgery and coil embolization. Lower morbidity and higher occlusion rates obtained with the PED may suggest it as treatment of choice for some of these lesions. Time to treatment is an important consideration regardless of treatment modality.