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Habib E. Ellamushi, Joan P. Grieve, H. Rolf Jäger and Neil D. Kitchen

Object. Several factors are known to increase the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and spontaneous intracerebral hematoma. However, information on the roles of these same factors in the formation of multiple aneurysms is less well defined. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with an increased risk of multiple aneurysm formation.

Methods. A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients with a diagnosis of SAH and intracranial aneurysms who were admitted to a single institution between 1985 and 1997 was undertaken. The authors examined associations between risk factors (patient age and sex, menopausal state of female patients, hypertension, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, and family history of cerebrovascular disease) and the presence of multiple aneurysms by using the Fisher exact test and logistic regression analysis. Of 400 patients admitted with a diagnosis of cerebral aneurysms, 392 were included in the study (287 women and 105 men). Two hundred eighty-four patients harbored a single aneurysm and 108 harbored multiple aneurysms (2 aneurysms in 68 patients, three aneurysms in 22 patients, four aneurysms in 13 patients, and five aneurysms in five patients).

Conclusions. Statistical analysis revealed that, as opposed to the occurrence of a single aneurysm, there was a significant association between the presence of multiple aneurysms and hypertension (p < 0.001), cigarette smoking (p < 0.001), family history of cerebrovascular disease (p < 0.001), female sex (p < 0.001), and postmenopausal state in female patients (p < 0.001).

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Soumya Mukherjee, Bhaskar Thakur, Dolin Bhagawati, Dimpu Bhagawati, Samira Akmal, Vasileios Arzoglou, John Yeh and Habib Ellamushi

Object

The authors assess the utility of routine biopsy at vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fracture (VCF) as a tool in the early detection of malignancy in presumed benign VCF.

Methods

A prospective observational study was conducted on a cohort of consecutive patients undergoing vertebroplasty over a 5-year period between April 2006 and March 2011 at the Royal London Hospital. Polymethylmethacrylate cement injection was used in every procedure. Intraoperative vertebral body biopsy was performed routinely at every level of VCF. Pain visual analog scale (VAS) scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, analgesic usage, and complications were recorded preoperatively and at 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively.

Results

A total of 202 levels were augmented in 147 patients. The most common levels augmented were T-12 (17%), L-1 (18%), and L-4 (10%). Analysis of 184 routine vertebral biopsies in 135 patients revealed that in 86 patients with presumed osteoporosis and no prior cancer diagnosis, 4 (4.7%) had a malignant VCF. In 20 known cancer patients presumed to be in remission, 2 (10%) had a malignant VCF. Routine vertebral biopsy returned an overall cancer diagnosis rate of 5.5% (6 of 109) when combining the 2 groups (patients with no prior history of cancer or cancer thought to be in remission). In these 6 patients, history, examination, laboratory tests, and preprocedure imaging all failed to suggest malignancy diagnosed at routine biopsy. Significant reductions in pain VAS and ODI scores were evident at Day 1 and were sustained at up to 1 year postoperatively (p < 0.001). They were not dependent on the level of fracture (T3–10, T11–L2, or L3–S1) (p > 0.05), number of levels treated (single level, 2 levels, or > 2 levels) (p > 0.05), or etiology of VCF (p > 0.05). The complication rate was 6% (9 of 147). There were 5 deaths, none of which were directly related to surgery.

Conclusions

Routine vertebral biopsy performed at vertebroplasty may demonstrate cancer-related VCFs in unsuspected patients with no previous cancer diagnosis or active malignancy in patients previously thought to be in remission. This early diagnosis of cancer or relapsed disease will play an important role in expediting patients' subsequent cancer management. In cases of multiple-level VCF, the authors advocate biopsy at each level to maximize the diagnostic yield from the specimens and to avoid missing a malignancy at a single level.