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Daniel Hänggi, Michael Reinert and Hans-Jakob Steiger

Object

Preliminary experience with the C-Port Flex-A Anastomosis System (Cardica, Inc.) to enable rapid automated anastomosis has been reported in coronary artery bypass surgery. The goal of the current study was to define the feasibility and safety of this method for high-flow extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery in a clinical series.

Methods

In a prospective study design, patients with symptomatic carotid artery (CA) occlusion were selected for C-Port–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery if they met the following criteria: 1) transient or moderate permanent symptoms of focal ischemia; 2) CA occlusion; 3) hemodynamic instability; and 4) had provided informed consent. Bypasses were done using a radial artery graft that was proximally anastomosed to the superficial temporal artery trunk, the cervical external, or common CA. All distal cerebral anastomoses were performed on M2 branches using the C-Port Flex-A system.

Results

Within 6 months, 10 patients were enrolled in the study. The distal automated anastomosis could be accomplished in all patients; the median temporary occlusion time was 16.6 ± 3.4 minutes. Intraoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA) confirmed good bypass function in 9 patients, and in 1 the anastomosis was classified as fair. There was 1 major perioperative complication that consisted of the creation of a pseudoaneurysm due to a hardware problem. In all but 1 case the bypass was shown to be patent on DSA after 7 days; furthermore, in 1 patient a late occlusion developed due to vasospasm after a sylvian hemorrhage. One-week follow-up DSA revealed transient asymptomatic extracranial spasm of the donor artery and the radial artery graft in 1 case. Two patients developed a limited zone of infarction on CT scanning during the follow-up course.

Conclusions

In patients with symptomatic CA occlusion, C-Port Flex-A–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery is a technically feasible procedure. The system needs further modification to achieve a faster and safer anastomosis to enable a conclusive comparison with standard and laser-assisted methods for high-flow bypass surgery.

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Hans-Jakob Steiger, Daniel Hänggi, Walter Stummer and Peter A. Winkler

Object

The extradural anterior petrosectomy approach to the pons and midbasilar artery (mid-BA) has the main disadvantage that the extent of resection of the petrous apex cannot be as minimal as desired given that the surgical target field is not visible during bone removal. Unnecessary or excessive drilling poses the risk of injury to the internal carotid artery, vestibulocochlear organ, and seventh and eighth cranial nerves. The use of a custom-tailored transdural anterior transpetrosal approach can potentially avoid these pitfalls.

Methods

A technique for a transdural anterior petrosectomy was developed in the operating theater and anatomy laboratory. Following a subtemporal craniotomy and basal opening of the dura mater, the vein of Labbé is first identified and protected. Cerebrospinal fluid ([CSF] 50–100 ml) is drained via a spinal catheter. The tent is incised behind the entrance of the trochlear nerve toward the superior petrosal sinus (SPS), which is coagulated and divided. The dura is stripped from the petrous pyramid. Drilling starts at the petrous ridge and proceeds laterally and ventrally. The trigeminal nerve is unroofed. The internal acoustic meatus is identified and drilling is continued laterally as needed. The bone of the Kawase triangle toward the clivus can be removed down to the inferior petrosal sinus if necessary. Anterior exposure can be extended to the carotid artery if required. It is only exceptionally necessary to follow the greater superior petrosal nerve toward the geniculate ganglion and to expose the length of the internal acoustic canal.

The modified transdural anterior petrosectomy exposure has been used in nine patients—two with a mid-BA aneurysm, two with a dural arteriovenous fistula, one with a pontine glioma, three with a pontine cavernoma, and one with a pontine abscess. In one patient with a mid-BA aneurysm, subcutaneous CSF collection occurred during the postoperative period. No CSF fistula or approach-related cranial nerve deficit developed in any of these patients. There was no retraction injury or venous congestion of the temporal lobe nor any venous congestion due to the obliteration of the SPS or the petrosal vein.

Conclusions

The custom-made transdural anterior petrosectomy appears to be a feasible alternative to the formal extradural approach.

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Ralph J. Medele, Walter Stummer, Arthur J. Mueller, Hans-Jakob Steiger and Hans-Jürgen Reulen

Object. The syndrome of retinal or vitreous hemorrhage in association with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is known as Terson's syndrome. The authors' purpose was to determine whether intraocular hemorrhage occurs with similar incidence when caused by severe brain injury accompanied by acutely raised intracranial pressure (ICP).

Methods. Prospective ophthalmological examination was performed in 22 consecutive patients with SAH or severe brain injury and elevated ICP. Thirteen patients were admitted for SAH (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons Grades II–IV) and nine for severe brain injury (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 3–10). Monitoring of ICP was performed at the time of admission via a ventricular catheter. Initial ICP exceeded 20 mm Hg in all patients. Indirect ophthalmoscopy without induced mydriasis was performed within the 1st week after the acute event. Retinal or vitreous hemorrhage was seen in six (46%) of 13 patients with SAH and in four (44%) of nine patients with severe brain injury. Ocular bleeding was found bilaterally in three patients with SAH and in one patient with severe brain injury (18%). Six of the 10 patients with Terson's syndrome died as a result of their acute event.

Conclusions. The present results indicate that Terson's syndrome may be related to acute elevation of ICP, independent of its causes, and may occur with similar incidence in patients with severe brain injury and those with SAH. Because recognition and treatment of Terson's syndrome may prevent visual impairment and associated secondary damage to the eye, increased awareness of this entity in all patients with acute raised intracranial hypertension is recommended.

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Ralph J. Medele, Walter Stummer, Arthur J. Mueller, Hans-Jakob Steiger and Hans-Jürgen Reulen

Object

The syndrome of retinal or vitreous hemorrhage in association with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is known as Terson's syndrome. The authors' purpose was to determine whether intraocular hemorrhage occurs with similar incidence when caused by severe brain injury accompanied by acutely raised intracranial pressure (ICP).

Methods

Prospective ophthalmological examination was performed in 22 consecutive patients with SAH or severe brain injury and elevated ICP. Thirteen patients were admitted for SAH (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons Grades II–IV) and nine for severe brain injury (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 3–10). Monitoring of ICP was performed at the time of admission via a ventricular catheter. Initial ICP exceeded 20 mm Hg in all patients. Indirect ophthalmoscopy without induced mydriasis was performed within the 1st week after the acute event. Retinal or vitreous hemorrhage was seen in six (46%) of 13 patients with SAH and in four (44%) of nine patients with severe brain injury. Ocular bleeding was found bilaterally in three patients with SAH and in one patient with severe brain injury (18%). Six of the 10 patients with Terson's syndrome died as a result of their acute event.

Conclusions

The present results indicate that Terson's syndrome may be related to acute elevation of ICP, independent of its causes, and may occur with similar incidence in patients with severe brain injury and those with SAH. Because recognition and treatment of Terson's syndrome may prevent visual impairment and associated secondary damage to the eye, increased awareness of this entity in all patients with acute raised intracranial hypertension is recommended.

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Thomas Westermaier, Stefan Zausinger, Alexander Baethmann, Hans-Jakob Steiger and Robert Schmid-Elsaesser

Object. Mild-to-moderate hypothermia is increasingly used for neuroprotection in humans. However, it is unknown whether administration of barbiturate medications in burst-suppressive doses—the gold standard of neuroprotection during neurovascular procedures—provides an additional protective effect under hypothermic conditions. The authors conducted the present study to answer this question.

Methods. Thirty-two Sprague—Dawley rats were subjected to 90 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion and randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: 1) normothermic controls; 2) methohexital treatment (burst suppression); 3) induction of mild hypothermia (33°C); and 4) induction of mild hypothermia plus methohexital treatment (burst suppression). Local cerebral blood flow was continuously monitored using bilateral laser Doppler flowmetry and electroencephalography. Functional deficits were quantified and recorded during daily neurological examinations. Infarct volumes were assessed histologically after 7 days. Methohexital treatment, mild hypothermia, and mild hypothermia plus methohexital treatment reduced infarct volumes by 32%, 71%, and 66%, respectively, compared with normothermic controls. Furthermore, mild hypothermia therapy provided the best functional outcome, which was not improved by additional barbiturate therapy.

Conclusions. The results of this study indicate that barbiturate-induced burst suppression is not required to achieve maximum neuroprotection under mild hypothermic conditions. The magnitude of protection afforded by barbiturates alone appears to be modest compared with that provided by mild hypothermia.

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Daniel Hänggi, Julia Liersch, Bernd Turowski, Mei Yong and Hans-Jakob Steiger

Object

The authors of recent publications have suggested that a combination of cisternal irrigation and head-shaking therapy might reduce cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and therefore improve outcome. The authors undertook this prospective nonrandomized Phase II study to analyze the effect of enhanced washout by lumboventricular irrigation in combination with head motion (lateral rotational therapy) on the clot clearance (CC) rate, development of cerebral vasospasm, and clinical outcome.

Methods

Forty patients with aneurysmal SAHs of World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Grades II–V (Glasgow Coma Scale Scores 13–3) and Fisher Grade 3 or 4 were included in this study. The study and control groups each consisted of 20 patients. The protocol in the study group, after the aneurysm was secured and a ventricular drain inserted, included the insertion of 2 lumbar catheters for intrathecal irrigation with Ringer solution and intrathecal pressure monitoring. Moderate head rotation in a kinetic system was also applied and was continued for 5 days. The CC rate was monitored on daily computed tomography (CT) scans. Vasospasms were identified clinically with a focus on delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs), daily transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography studies, and analysis of infarction rate on CT and cerebral angiography. The data obtained in both groups were statistically evaluated.

Results

There were no procedure-related complications. The overall CC rate did not differ significantly between the groups, but there was a trend toward accelerated resolution in the study group. During observation, a new neurological deficit developed in 1 patient (5%) in the study group and 4 patients (20%) in the control group. Ischemic areas on CT scans related to vasospasm were demonstrated in 2 patients (10%) in the study group and 6 patients (30%) in the control group. The incidence of angiographic vasospasm was approximately the same in both groups. The pooled TCD flow velocities measured over a period of 14 days showed lower mean values in the study group than in the control group (p = 0.00002). The clinical outcome in the study group as evaluated with the modified Rankin scale was better in the study group than in the control group after 3 (p = 0.008) and 6 (p = 0.005) months.

Conclusions

The present study demonstrates that a combination of lumboventricular lavage and mechanical head motion reduces vasospasm on TCD ultrasonography, the incidence of DIND, and secondary infarctions on CT and improves clinical outcome. No obvious effect could be found on the rate of angiographic vasospasm.

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Sven O. Eicker, Sascha Rhee, Hans-Jakob Steiger, Jörg Herdmann and Frank W. Floeth

Object

Approaches to treating extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations can be challenging due to the unique anatomy and the need to prevent spinal instability. Numerous approaches, including conventional midline, paramedian, minimally invasive, and full endoscopic approaches, have been described. The purposes of this study were to point out the outcome and clinical advantages of a transtubular microsurgical approach and to describe and illustrate this technique.

Methods

Between 2009 and 2012, a series of 51 patients underwent a minimally invasive dilative transtubular microsurgical approach for the treatment of extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations. All patients were clinically evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively.

Results

Both pain scores and functional status showed significant improvement after surgery (p < 0.001): radicular pain decreased from VAS score of 7.9 to one of 1.3, lower back pain from VAS score of 2.4 to 1.4, and the Oswestry Disability Index from 42.0 to 12.3. Subgroup analyses revealed no differences in outcome regarding obesity or timing of surgery (early vs late intervention). Highly significant was the correlation between preoperative radicular pain activity and timing of surgical intervention (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The dilative transtubular microsurgical approach combines the advantages of the conventional open muscle-splitting approach and the endoscopic approach. The technique is easy to use with a steep learning curve. Less muscle trauma and the absence of bony resection prevent facet pain and instability, thereby contributing to a rapid recovery. Patients in this series improved excellently in the short-term follow-up.

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Marion Rapp, Zakir Özcan, Hans-Jakob Steiger, Peter Wernet, Michael C. Sabel and Rüdiger V. Sorg

Object

Vaccination therapy that uses dendritic cells (DCs) is a promising immunotherapeutic approach. However, it relies on intact cellular immunity and efficient generation of mature DCs, both of which can be impaired in patients with glioma. Therefore, the immune status and ex vivo generation of DC in such patients were studied.

Methods

The frequencies of white blood cell subsets and monocyte-derived, mature DCs in patients with high-grade gliomas and healthy control volunteers were analyzed using flow cytometry.

In the patients, frequencies of lymphocytes, T cells, and B cells were reduced in comparison with the volunteers in the control group, whereas frequencies of neutrophils and monocytes were increased. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of white blood cell counts or the frequency of NK cells and the major T-cell subsets. The responsiveness of T cells to lectin stimulation was normal. For monocytes, lower frequencies of CD80+ and CD86+ cells but not of CD40+ and HLA-DR+ cells were observed in patients. Ex vivo DC generation in a two-step culture protocol in autologous plasma–supplemented medium or in serum-free medium showed only minor differences in CD80 and HLA-DR expression between the patient and control groups. Frequencies of CD83+, CD1a+, CD14, CD40+, and CD86+ cells were comparable. Overall, the serum-free medium was superior to the plasma-supplemented medium and allowed efficient ex vivo generation of CD83+, CD1a+, and CD14 mature DCs.

Conclusions

Only minor defects in the immune status of patients with glioma were observed, which probably would not hamper immunotherapy. Mature DCs can be generated successfully in normal numbers and with typical immunophenotypes from monocytes of patients with glioma, particularly under serum-free conditions.