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Simon Morr, Hakeem J. Shakir, Lindsay J. Lipinski, Vassilios G. Dimopoulos, Jody Leonardo, and John Pollina

OBJECT

Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture. Bone density testing and medical treatment with bisphosphonates or parathormone are recommended for all patients with an osteoporotic fracture diagnosis. Inadequate testing and treatment of patients presenting with low-impact fractures have been reported in various specialties. Similar data are not available from academic neurosurgery groups. The authors assessed compliance with treatment and testing of osteoporosis in patients with vertebral compression fractures evaluated by the authors’ academic neurosurgery service, and patient variable and health-systems factors associated with improved compliance.

METHODS

Data for patients who underwent percutaneous kyphoplasty for compression fractures was retrospectively collected. Diagnostic and medical interventions were tabulated. Pre-, intra-, and posthospital factors that had been theorized to affect the compliance of patients with osteoporosis-related therapies were tabulated and statistically analyzed.

RESULTS

Less than 50% of patients with kyphoplasty received such therapies. Age was not found to correlate with other variables. Referral from a specialist rather than a primary care physician was associated with a higher rate of bone density screening, as well as vitamin D and calcium therapy, but not bisphosphonate/parathormone therapy. Patients who underwent preoperative evaluation by their primary care physician were significantly more likely to receive bisphosphonates compared with those only evaluated by a hospitalist. Patients with unprovoked fractures were more likely to undergo multiple surgeries compared with those with minor trauma.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest poor compliance with current standard of care for medical therapies in patients with osteoporotic compression fractures undergoing kyphoplasty under the care of an academic neurosurgery service.

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Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Hakeem J. Shakir, and Adnan H. Siddiqui

The ability to traverse an anatomically challenging and complex arch is paramount to the success of any neuroendovascular procedure. With age, the aortic arch becomes elongated, calcified, and less compliant. The authors present the initial experience with a multiple parallel guidewire system (ZigiWire Mode 3) for catheterization through a complex tortuous aortic arch to access extracranial vessels. The ZigiWire is an organized guidewire system that uses consecutive delivery of 3 small-diameter (0.014-inch) guidewires that are progressively advanced in parallel to secure support-wire access. The authors have found it useful in situations in which traditional methods for great-vessel access have failed. Moreover, the progressive construction of a large wire from smaller wires prevents “kickback” force from a single larger guidewire, allowing stable distal access. The authors have been able to advance different diagnostic and guide catheters over the ZigiWire. This guidewire has allowed them to successfully complete neuroendovascular procedures in patients who were previously considered unsuitable for the procedure because of tortuous vascular access.

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Ashish Sonig, Hussain Shallwani, Bennett R. Levy, Hakeem J. Shakir, and Adnan H. Siddiqui

OBJECTIVE

Publication has become a major criterion of success in the competitive academic environment of neurosurgery. This is the first study that has used departmental h index–and e index–based matrices to assess the academic output of neuroendovascular, neurointerventional, and interventional radiology fellowship programs across the continental US.

METHODS

Fellowship program listings were identified from academic and organization websites. Details for 37 programs were available. Bibliometric data for these programs were gathered from the Thomson Reuters Web of Science database. Citations for each publication from the fellowship's parent department were screened, and the h and e indices were calculated from non–open-surgical, central nervous system vascular publications. Variables including “high-productivity” centers, fellowship–comprehensive stroke center affiliation, fellowship accreditation status, neuroendovascular h index, e index (h index supplement), h10 index (publications during the last 10 years), and departmental faculty-based h indices were created and analyzed.

RESULTS

A positive correlation was seen between the neuroendovascular fellowship h index and corresponding h10 index (R = 0.885; p < 0.0001). The mean, median, and highest faculty-based h indices exhibited positive correlations with the neuroendovascular fellowship h index (R = 0.662, p < 0.0001; R = 0.617, p < 0.0001; and R = 0.649, p < 0.0001, respectively). There was no significant difference (p = 0.824) in the median values for the fellowship h index based on comprehensive stroke center affiliation (30 of 37 programs had such affiliations) or accreditation (18 of 37 programs had accreditation) (p = 0.223). Based on the quartile analysis of the fellowship h index, 10 of 37 departments had an neuroendovascular h index of ≥ 54 (“high-productivity” centers); these centers had significantly more faculty (p = 0.013) and a significantly higher mean faculty h index (p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

The departmental h index and analysis of its publication topics can be used to calculate the h index of an associated subspecialty. The analysis was focused on the neuroendovascular specialty, and this methodology can be extended to other neurosurgical subspecialties. Individual faculty research interest is directly reflected in the research productivity of a department. High-productivity centers had significantly more faculty with significantly higher individual h indices. The current systems for neuroendovascular fellowship program accreditation do not have a meaningful impact on academic productivity.

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Joshua E. Meyers, Grant C. Sorkin, Hakeem J. Shakir, and Kenneth V. Snyder

With the use of endovascular techniques and indwelling catheters, potential complications can include embolization of fragments or components of various systems. The authors describe the surgical retrieval of a guidewire introducer from the right common carotid artery (CCA). A 64-year-old man was found to have a foreign body within the right CCA on CT angiography after he had presented with a transient ischemic attack. He had undergone a complex mitral valve repair several months before presenting to the authors' facility. That procedure involved a femoral artery cutdown and the insertion of an endovascular aortic balloon for cardiac bypass. As in most endovascular procedures, guidewire introducers were probably used to facilitate the introduction of the guidewire into the system during the procedure. Although rare, iatrogenic embolization of the introducer probably occurred during use of the guidewire. The guidewire introducer was successfully retrieved without complication by using a standard carotid cutdown approach. It is extraordinarily unusual for an extracorporeal part of an implantable system to embolize to the carotid circulation. To the authors' knowledge, this is the only reported case of an embolized guidewire introducer and the use of a carotid exposure to retrieve an intraluminal foreign body. This case demonstrates that a carotid cutdown approach can be used successfully for the retrieval of intraluminal extracranial carotid artery foreign bodies.

Free access

Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Gary B. Rajah, Hakeem J. Shakir, Hussain Shallwani, Sirin Gandhi, Jason M. Davies, Kenneth V. Snyder, Elad I. Levy, and Adnan H. Siddiqui

OBJECTIVE

Acute tandem occlusions of the cervical internal carotid artery and an intracranial large vessel present treatment challenges. Controversy exists regarding which lesion should be addressed first. The authors sought to evaluate the endovascular approach for revascularization of these lesions at Gates Vascular Institute.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of a prospectively maintained, single-institution database. They analyzed demographic, procedural, radiological, and clinical outcome data for patients who underwent endovascular treatment for tandem occlusions. A modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score ≤ 2 was defined as a favorable clinical outcome.

RESULTS

Forty-five patients were identified for inclusion in the study. The average age of these patients was 64 years; the mean National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at presentation was 14.4. Fifteen patients received intravenous thrombolysis before undergoing endovascular treatment. Thirty-seven (82%) of the 45 proximal cervical internal carotid artery occlusions were atherothrombotic in nature. Thirty-eight patients underwent a proximal-to-distal approach with carotid artery stenting first, followed by intracranial thrombectomy, whereas 7 patients underwent a distal-to-proximal approach (that is, intracranial thrombectomy was performed first). Thirty-seven (82%) procedures were completed with local anesthesia. For intracranial thrombectomy procedures, aspiration alone was used in 15 cases, stent retrieval alone was used in 5, and a combination of aspiration and stent-retriever thrombectomy was used in the remaining 25. The average time to revascularization was 81 minutes. Successful recanalization (thrombolysis in cerebral infarction Grade 2b/3) was achieved in 39 (87%) patients. Mean National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores were 9.3 immediately postprocedure (p < 0.05) (n = 31), 5.1 at discharge (p < 0.05) (n = 31), and 3.6 at 3 months (p < 0.05) (n = 30). There were 5 in-hospital deaths (11%); and 2 patients (4.4%) had symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage within 24 hours postprocedure. Favorable outcomes (mRS score ≤ 2) were achieved at 3 months in 22 (73.3%) of 30 patients available for follow-up, with an mRS score of 3 for 7 of 30 (23%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Tandem occlusions present treatment challenges, but high recanalization rates were possible in the present series using acute carotid artery stenting and mechanical thrombectomy concurrently. Proximal-to-distal and aspiration approaches were most commonly used because they were safe, efficacious, and feasible. Further study in the setting of a randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the best sequence for the treatment approach and the best technology for tandem occlusion.

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Christoph J. Griessenauer, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Nimer Adeeb, Adam A. Dmytriw, Paul M. Foreman, Hussain Shallwani, Nicola Limbucci, Salvatore Mangiafico, Ashish Kumar, Caterina Michelozzi, Timo Krings, Vitor Mendes Pereira, Charles C. Matouk, Mark R. Harrigan, Hakeem J. Shakir, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Leonardo Renieri, Thomas R. Marotta, Christophe Cognard, and Ajith J. Thomas

OBJECTIVE

Flow diversion for posterior circulation aneurysms performed using the Pipeline embolization device (PED) constitutes an increasingly common off-label use for otherwise untreatable aneurysms. The safety and efficacy of this treatment modality has not been assessed in a multicenter study.

METHODS

A retrospective review of prospectively maintained databases at 8 academic institutions was performed for the years 2009 to 2016 to identify patients with posterior circulation aneurysms treated with PED placement.

RESULTS

A total of 129 consecutive patients underwent 129 procedures to treat 131 aneurysms; 29 dissecting, 53 fusiform, and 49 saccular lesions were included. At a median follow-up of 11 months, complete and near-complete occlusion was recorded in 78.1%. Dissecting aneurysms had the highest occlusion rate and fusiform the lowest. Major complications were most frequent in fusiform aneurysms, whereas minor complications occurred most commonly in saccular aneurysms. In patients with saccular aneurysms, clopidogrel responders had a lower complication rate than did clopidogrel nonresponders. The majority of dissecting aneurysms were treated in the immediate or acute phase following subarachnoid hemorrhage, a circumstance that contributed to the highest mortality rate in those aneurysms.

CONCLUSIONS

In the largest series to date, fusiform aneurysms were found to have the lowest occlusion rate and the highest frequency of major complications. Dissecting aneurysms, frequently treated in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage, occluded most often and had a low complication rate. Saccular aneurysms were associated with predominantly minor complications, particularly in clopidogrel nonresponders.