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  • Author or Editor: Erich Schmutzhard x
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Bettina Pfausler, Regina Belcl, Regina Metzler, Iradj Mohsenipour and Erich Schmutzhard

✓ Sixty consecutive patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were prospectively studied by means of indirect funduscopy to address the question of incidence and prognostic implications of Terson's syndrome (TS) after SAH. Terson's syndrome was diagnosed in 10 (16.7%) of 60 patients and was associated with subarachnoid rebleeding in seven of 10. No correlation was found between anatomical localization of the ruptured aneurysm and TS laterality. Case fatality was nine (90%) of 10 in patients with TS compared to five (10%) of 50 in non-TS patients. It is concluded that TS is not infrequent (16.7%) in spontaneous SAH and has a poor prognosis, often heralding subarachnoid rebleeding.

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Bettina Pfausler, Heinrich Spiss, Ronny Beer, Andreas Kampfl, Klaus Engelhardt, Maria Schober and Erich Schmutzhard

Object. Staphylococcal ventriculitis may be a complication in temporary external ventricular drains (EVDs). The limited penetration of vancomycin into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is well known; the pharmacodynamics and efficacy of systemically compared with intraventricularly administered vancomycin is examined in this prospective study.

Methods. Ten patients in whom EVDs were implanted to treat intracranial hemorrhage and who were suffering from drain-associated ventriculitis were randomized into two treatment groups. Five of these patients (median age 47 years) were treated with 2 g/day vancomycin administered intravenously (four infusions/day, Group 1), and the other five (median age 49 years) received 10 mg vancomycin intraventricularly once daily (Group 2). Vancomycin levels were measured in serum and CSF six times a day. The maximum vancomycin level in CSF was 1.73 ± 0.4 µg/ml in Group 1 and 565.58 ± 168.71 µg/ml 1 hour after vancomycin application in Group 2 (mean ± standard deviation). Vancomycin levels above the recommended trough level of 5 µg/ml in CSF were never reached in Group 1, whereas in Group 2 they were below the trough level (3.74 ± 0.66 µg/ml) only at 21 hours after intraventricular vancomycin application. The vancomycin level in the serum was constant within therapeutic levels in Group 1, whereas in Group 2 in most instances vancomycin was almost below a measurable concentration. In both groups bacteriologically and laboratory-confirmed CSF clearance could be obtained.

Conclusions. Intraventricular vancomycin application is a safe and efficacious treatment modality in drain-associated ventriculitis, with much higher vancomycin levels being achieved in the ventricular CSF than by intravenous administration.

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Andreas Kampfl, Gerhard Franz, Franz Aichner, Bettina Pfausler, Hans-Peter Haring, Stefan Felber, Gabriele Luz, Michael Schocke and Erich Schmutzhard

Object. In this retrospective study, the authors analyzed the frequency, anatomical distribution, and appearance of traumatic brain lesions in 42 patients in a posttraumatic persistent vegetative state.

Methods. Cerebral magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was used to detect the number of lesions, which ranged from as few as five to as many as 19, with a mean of 11 lesions. In all 42 cases there was evidence on MR imaging of diffuse axonal injury, and injury to the corpus callosum was detected in all patients. The second most common area of diffuse axonal injury involved the dorsolateral aspect of the rostral brainstem (74% of patients). In addition, 65% of these patients exhibited white matter injury in the corona radiata and the frontal and temporal lobes. Lesions to the basal ganglia or thalamus were seen in 52% and 40% of patients, respectively. Magnetic resonance imaging showed some evidence of cortical contusion in 48% of patients in this study; the frontal and temporal lobes were most frequently involved. Injury to the parahippocampal gyrus was detected in 45% of patients; in this subgroup there was an 80% incidence of contralateral peduncular lesions in the midbrain.

The most common pattern of injury (74% in this series) was the combination of focal lesions of the corpus callosum and the dorsolateral brainstem. In patients with no evidence of diffuse axonal injury in the upper brainstem (26% in this series), callosal lesions were most often associated with basal ganglia lesions. Lesions of the corona radiata and lobar white matter were equally distributed in patients with or without dorsolateral brainstem injury. Moreover, cortical contusions and thalamic, parahippocampal, and cerebral peduncular lesions were also similarly distributed in both groups.

Conclusions. The data indicate that diffuse axonal injury may be the major form of primary brain damage in the posttraumatic persistent vegetative state. In addition, the authors demonstrated in this study that MR imaging, in conjunction with a precise clinical correlation, may provide useful supportive information for the accurate diagnosis of a persistent vegetative state after traumatic brain injury.

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