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Markus Beitzke, Klaus A. Leber, Hannes Deutschmann, Thomas Gattringer, Birgit Poltrum and Franz Fazekas

Object

Reinforcement of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) by wrapping or coating is a well-established therapeutic approach to those IAs not amenable to any other definitive treatment, but has been associated with complications such as parent artery narrowing, granuloma formation, and ischemic stroke. The goal of this study was to systematically investigate cerebrovascular complications following this procedure.

Methods

The authors' hospital database was searched for all patients who underwent wrapping or coating of IAs with cotton gauze and human fibrin adhesives between October 2006 and October 2011. The follow-up records of these patients were extracted, including regular clinical visits and vascular imaging.

Results

Five hundred sixty-seven patients were treated for IAs over the 5-year period: 303 patients underwent endovascular strategies and 264 underwent craniotomies. Wrapping or coating of IAs was performed in 20 patients (3.5%). Parent artery narrowing occurred in 5 (25%) of the 20 patients and was associated with major ischemic strokes in 4 patients and severe headache in another. Ischemic strokes were associated with parent artery narrowing, which occurred early postoperatively in 2 patients or was a consequence of granuloma formation in 2 patients 1 and 2 months after the procedure, respectively.

Conclusions

These data should add to the awareness of significant cerebrovascular complications following wrapping or coating of IAs with cotton gauze and human fibrin adhesives and indicate that major ischemic strokes need to be included in the risk/benefit considerations during decision making for such treatment strategies. Patients who receive IA wrapping should be monitored and followed up closely for arterial narrowing and granuloma formation.

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Margit Jehna, Juliane Becker, Karla Zaar, Gord von Campe, Kariem Mahdy Ali, Gernot Reishofer, Franz Payer, Michael Synowitz, Franz Fazekas, Christian Enzinger and Hannes Deutschmann

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral damage in frontal, parietal, and temporal brain areas and, probably more importantly, their interconnections can lead to deficits in language. However, neural plasticity and repair allow the brain to partly compensate for neural injury, mediated by both functional and structural changes. In this study, the authors sought to systematically investigate the relationship between language performance in brain tumor patients and structural perisylvian pathways (i.e., the arcuate fasciculus [AF]) using probabilistic fiber tracking on diffusion tensor imaging. The authors used a previously proposed model in which the AF is divided into anterior, long, and posterior segments. The authors hypothesized that right-handed patients with gliomas in the language-dominant (left) hemisphere would benefit from a more symmetrical or right-lateralized language pathway in terms of better preservation of language abilities. Furthermore, they investigated to what extent specific tumor characteristics, including proximity to the AF, affect language outcome in such patients.

METHODS

Twenty-seven right-handed patients (12 males and 15 females; mean age 52 ± 16 years) with 11 low-grade and 16 high-grade gliomas of the left hemisphere underwent 3-T diffusion-weighted MRI (30 directions) and language assessment as part of presurgical planning. For a systematic quantitative evaluation of the AF, probabilistic fiber tracking with a 2 regions of interest approach was carried out. Volumes of the 3 segments of both hemispheric AFs were evaluated by quantifying normalized and thresholded pathways. Resulting values served to generate the laterality index of the AFs.

RESULTS

Patients without language deficits tended to have an AF that was symmetric or lateralized to the right, whereas patients with deficits in language significantly more often demonstrated a left-lateralized posterior segment of the AF. Patients with high-grade gliomas had more severe language deficits than those with low-grade gliomas. Backward logistic regression revealed the laterality index of the posterior AF segment and tumor grade as the only independent statistically significant predictors for language deficits in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

In addition to the well-known fact that tumor entity influences behavioral outcome, the authors' findings suggest that the right homologs of structural language-associated pathways could be supportive for language function and facilitate compensation mechanisms after brain damage in functionally eloquent areas. This further indicates that knowledge about preoperative functional redistribution (identified by neurofunctional imaging) increases the chance for total or near-total resections of tumors in eloquent areas. In the future, longitudinal studies with larger groups are mandatory to overcome the methodological limitations of this cross-sectional study and to map neuroplastic changes associated with language performance and rehabilitation in brain tumor patients.