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Domenico Zacà, Jorge Jovicich, Francesco Corsini, Umberto Rozzanigo, Franco Chioffi, and Silvio Sarubbo

OBJECTIVE

Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) represents a promising and cost-effective alternative to task-based fMRI for presurgical mapping. However, the lack of clinically streamlined and reliable rs-fMRI analysis tools has prevented wide adoption of this technique. In this work, the authors introduce an rs-fMRI processing pipeline (ReStNeuMap) for automatic single-patient rs-fMRI network analysis.

METHODS

The authors provide a description of the rs-fMRI network analysis steps implemented in ReStNeuMap and report their initial experience with this tool after performing presurgical mapping in 6 patients. They verified the spatial agreement between rs-fMRI networks derived by ReStNeuMap and localization of activation with intraoperative direct electrical stimulation (DES).

RESULTS

The authors automatically extracted rs-fMRI networks including eloquent cortex in spatial proximity with the resected lesion in all patients. The distance between DES points and corresponding rs-fMRI networks was less than 1 cm in 78% of cases for motor, 100% of cases for visual, 87.5% of cases for language, and 100% of cases for speech articulation mapping.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ initial experience with ReStNeuMap showed good spatial agreement between presurgical rs-fMRI predictions and DES findings during awake surgery. The availability of the rs-fMRI analysis tools for clinicians aiming to perform noninvasive mapping of brain functional networks may extend its application beyond surgical practice.

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Richard Ferch, Alberto Pasqualin, Giampietro Pinna, Franco Chioffi, and Albino Bricolo

Object. This study was performed to further elucidate technical and patient-specific risk factors for perioperative stroke in patients undergoing temporary arterial occlusion during the surgical repair of their aneurysms.

Methods. One hundred twelve consecutive patients in whom temporary arterial occlusion was performed during surgical repair of an aneurysm were retrospectively analyzed. Confounding factors (inadvertent permanent vessel occlusion and retraction injury) were identified in six cases (5%) and these were excluded from further analysis. The demographics for the remaining 106 patients were analyzed with respect to age, neurological status, aneurysm characteristics, intraoperative rupture, duration of temporary occlusion, and number of occlusive episodes; end points considered were outcome at 3-month follow up and symptomatic and radiological stroke.

Conclusions. Overall 17% of patients experienced symptomatic stroke and 26% had radiological evidence of stroke attributable to temporary arterial occlusion. A longer duration of clip placement, older patient age, a poor clinical grade (Hunt and Hess Grades IV–V), early surgery, and the use of single prolonged clip placement rather than repeated shorter episodes were associated with a higher risk of stroke based on univariate analysis. Intraoperative aneurysm rupture did not affect stroke risk. On multivariate analysis, only poorer clinical grade (p = 0.001) and increasing age (p = 0.04) were significantly associated with symptomatic stroke risk.

Free access

Silvio Sarubbo, Domenico Zacà, Lisa Novello, Luciano Annicchiarico, Francesco Corsini, Umberto Rozzanigo, Franco Chioffi, and Jorge Jovicich

Free access

Fabio Raneri, Oriela Rustemi, Giampaolo Zambon, Giulia Del Moro, Salima Magrini, Yuri Ceccaroni, Elisabetta Basso, Francesco Volpin, Martina Cappelletti, Jacopo Lardani, Stefano Ferraresi, Franco Guida, Franco Chioffi, Giampietro Pinna, Giuseppe Canova, Domenico d’Avella, Francesco Sala, and Lorenzo Volpin

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and of the subsequent lockdown on the neurosurgical services of the Veneto region in Italy compared to the previous 4 years.

METHODS

A survey was conducted in all 6 neurosurgical departments in the Veneto region to collect data about surgical, inpatient care and endovascular procedures during the month of March for each year from 2016 to 2020. Safety measures to avoid infection from SARS-CoV-2 and any COVID-19 cases reported among neurosurgical patients or staff members were considered.

RESULTS

The mean number of neurosurgical admissions for the month of March over the 2016–2019 period was 663, whereas in March 2020 admissions decreased by 42%. Emergency admissions decreased by 23%. The average number of neurosurgical procedures was 697, and declined by 30% (range −10% to −51% in individual centers). Emergency procedures decreased in the same period by 23%. Subarachnoid hemorrhage and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage both decreased in Veneto—by 25% and 22%, respectively. Coiling for unruptured aneurysm, coiling for ruptured aneurysm, and surgery for ruptured aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation diminished by 49%, 27%, and 78%, respectively. Endovascular procedures for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) increased by 33% in 2020 (28 procedures in total). There was a slight decrease (8%) in brain tumor surgeries. Neurosurgical admissions decreased by 25% and 35% for head trauma and spinal trauma, respectively, while surgical procedures for head trauma diminished by 19% and procedures for spinal trauma declined by 26%. Admissions and surgical treatments for degenerative spine were halved. Eleven healthcare workers and 8 patients were infected in the acute phase of the pandemic.

CONCLUSIONS

This multicenter study describes the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak on neurosurgical activities in a vast region in Italy. Remodulation of neurosurgical activities has resulted in a significant reduction of elective and emergency surgeries compared to previous years. Most likely this is a combined result of cancellation of elective and postponable surgeries, increase of conservative management, increase in social restrictions, and in patients’ fear of accessing hospitals. Curiously, only endovascular procedures for AIS have increased, possibly due to reduced physical activity or increased thrombosis in SARS-CoV-2. The confounding effect of thrombectomy increase over time cannot be excluded. No conclusion can be drawn on AIS incidence. Active monitoring with nasopharyngeal swabs, wearing face masks, and using separate pathways for infected patients reduce the risk of infection.