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Elisabeth Berg-Dammer, Hans Henkes, Werner Weber, Peter Berlit and Dietmar Kühne

Circumscribed stenotic lesions of the intracranial arteries can cause cerebral ischemia by hemodynamic and/or thromboembolic mechanisms. Anticoagulation therapy, antiplatelet therapy, and bypass surgery are treatment strategies that have no direct impact on the underlying lesion. This study summarizes the experience of a single institution at which percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) of intracranial atherosclerotic stenoses was performed.

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 24 consecutive patients. Their medical histories (cardiovascular risk factors, current clinical signs and symptoms and their duration, previous stroke[s], and medical treatment) were evaluated together with findings from previous imaging studies. The site and degree of the stenoses to be treated (target lesion) were identified with the use of ultrasound and angiography studies. Additional vascular stenoses were noted. Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty was performed using single-lumen balloon microcatheters with appropriate diameters. The results of PTA were correlated with angiographic and ultrasound findings and the clinical outcome.

Significant cardiovascular risk factors and clinical signs and symptoms related to the target lesion that persisted despite medical treatment were identified in all patients except one. The duration of symptoms varied from several days to 8 months. Previous stroke had occurred in four patients. The degree of stenosis was classified as “high grade” in 10 patients and as “subtotal” in 14. The target lesion (stenosis) was located in the anterior circulation in eight patients (four in the internal carotid and four in the middle cerebral arteries). Stenoses of posterior circulation vessels were treated in 16 patients (nine vertebral, six basilar, and one posterior cerebral arteries). Recanalization was rated “complete” in 15 patients and sufficient in six patients. In three patients residual stenosis remained. Complications were encountered in seven patients: two asymptomatic dissections, one transient vessel occlusion, one vessel occlusion with subsequent stroke, and three ischemic lesions likely due to thromboembolism, two of which caused only transient neurological symptoms.

Percutaneous balloon dilation proved effective in the treatment of intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis. There are, however, potential complications and experience with this procedure is only limited. Long-term results need to be determined. The authors conclude from their preliminary results that PTA may be an alternative to bypass surgery and conservative management and may be considered for patients in whom ischemic neurological symptoms persist despite medical treatment.

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Lars Füllbier, Philipp Tanner, Hans Henkes and Nikolai J. Hopf

The unusual association of an omovertebral bone with Sprengel deformity and Klippel-Feil syndrome is a complex bone anomaly of unknown incidence and etiology. However, several cases of this rare disease pattern have been reported in the literature. In this paper, the authors present the case of a 34-year-old woman with a 5-month history of progressive gait ataxia and intermittent urinary incontinence, which was found to be caused by aberrant bone growth into the spinal canal from an omovertebral bone that extended from the left scapula pressing into the C-6 vertebral arch and subsequently causing cervical myelopathy. The patient underwent isolated resection of the omovertebral bone and decompression of the spinal canal, and her functional and neurological outcome was favorable.

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Hans Henkes, Sebastian Fischer, Wagner Mariushi, Werner Weber, Thomas Liebig, Elina Miloslavski, Stefan Brew and Dietmar Kühne

Object. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of the endovascular treatment of basilar artery (BA) bifurcation aneurysms and to compare the results with those published by other neuroendovascular teams.

Methods. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 316 aneurysms of the BA bifurcation that had been treated using endovascular coil occlusion between November 6, 1992, and February 12, 2005. After the initial embolization procedure, a 90 to 100% occlusion rate was achieved in 86% of the aneurysms. No complication was evident in 80% of the lesions, although periprocedural aneurysm rupture (3.2%) and thromboembolic events (12.3%) were the most frequent complications. Clinical outcome according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) was a score of 5 or 4 in 77%, 3 in 11%, 2 in 5%, and 1 in 7% of patients. Initial follow-up angiography studies were obtained in 56% of patients at a mean of 19 months posttreatment and demonstrated a 90 to 100% occlusion rate in 70%. No recurrence was seen on 65% of the aneurysms. Coil compaction was evident on 24% of the follow-up angiograms.

A second treatment was performed on 48 aneurysms (15%) a mean of 27 months after the first therapeutic session and resulted in 90 to 100% occlusion in 83% of the lesions. Complications were encountered in 19% of the aneurysms. Rupture did not occur during any of the procedures. Clinical outcome was rated as GOS Score 5 or 4 in 83% of the patients and Grade 3 in 17%.

During a cumulative clinical follow up of 821 years in 237 patients, 182 patients (81%) were independent (GOS Score 5 or 4), 33 (14%) were dependent (GOS Score 3), eight (3%) were in a vegetative state, and two (1%) had died. Clinical outcome was significantly worse after previous aneurysm rupture and following procedural complications.

Conclusions. These results are within the range of published data for coil treatment of BA tip aneurysms and confirm both the safety and efficacy of this endovascular treatment method.

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Christopher Wendel, Ricardo Scheibe, Sören Wagner, Wiebke Tangemann, Hans Henkes, Oliver Ganslandt and Jan-Henrik Schiff

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral vasospasm (CV) is a delayed, sustained contraction of the cerebral arteries that tends to occur 3–14 days after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) from a ruptured aneurysm. Vasospasm potentially leads to delayed cerebral ischemia, and despite medical treatment, 1 of 3 patients suffer a persistent neurological deficit. Bedside transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography is used to indirectly detect CV through recognition of an increase in cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV). The present study aimed to use TCD ultrasonography to monitor how CBFV changes on both the ipsi- and contralateral sides of the brain in the first 24 hours after patients have received a stellate ganglion block (SGB) to treat CV that persists despite maximum standard therapy.

METHODS

The data were culled from records of patients treated between 2013 and 2017. Patients were included if an SGB was administered following aSAH, whose CBFV was ≥ 120 cm/sec and who had either a focal neurological deficit or reduced consciousness despite having received medical treatment and blood pressure management. The SGB was performed on the side where the highest CBFV had been recorded with 8–10 ml ropivacaine 0.2%. The patient’s CBFV was reassessed after 2 and 24 hours.

RESULTS

Thirty-seven patients (male/female ratio 18:19), age 17–70 years (mean age 49.9 ± 11.1), who harbored 13 clipped and 22 coiled aneurysms (1 patient received both a coil and a clip, and 3 patients had 3 untreated aneurysms) had at least one SGB. Patients received up to 4 SGBs, and thus the study comprised a total of 76 SGBs.

After the first SGB, CBFV decreased in 80.5% of patients after 2 hours, from a mean of 160.3 ± 28.2 cm/sec to 127.5 ± 34.3 cm/sec (p < 0.001), and it further decreased in 63.4% after 24 hours to 137.2 ± 38.2 cm/sec (p = 0.007). A similar significant effect was found for the subsequent SGB. Adding clonidine showed no significant effect on either the onset or the duration of the SGB. Contralateral middle cerebral artery (MCA) blood flow was not reduced by the SGB.

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the largest study on the effects of administering an SGB to aSAH patients after aneurysm rupture. The data showed a significant reduction in ipsilateral CBFV (MCA 20.5%) after SGB, lasting in about two-thirds of cases for over 24 hours with no major complications resulting from the SGB.