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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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Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Hussain Shallwani and Adnan H. Siddiqui

Transvenous embolization (TE) has been increasingly applied for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) treatment. Transient cardiac standstill (TCS) has been described in cerebrovascular surgery but is uncommon for endovascular embolization. The authors present a patient with a ruptured thalamic AVM in whom both techniques were applied simultaneously. Surgery was considered, but the patient refused. Transarterial embolization was performed with an incomplete result. The deep-seated draining vein provided sole access to the AVM. A microcatheter was advanced into the draining vein. Under TCS, achieved with rapid ventricular pacing, complete AVM embolization was obtained. One-year magnetic resonance imaging and cerebral angiography demonstrated no residual AVM.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/CAzb9md_xBU.

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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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Nikhil Paliwal, Prakhar Jaiswal, Vincent M. Tutino, Hussain Shallwani, Jason M. Davies, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Rahul Rai and Hui Meng

OBJECTIVE

Flow diverters (FDs) are designed to occlude intracranial aneurysms (IAs) while preserving flow to essential arteries. Incomplete occlusion exposes patients to risks of thromboembolic complications and rupture. A priori assessment of FD treatment outcome could enable treatment optimization leading to better outcomes. To that end, the authors applied image-based computational analysis to clinically FD-treated aneurysms to extract information regarding morphology, pre- and post-treatment hemodynamics, and FD-device characteristics and then used these parameters to train machine learning algorithms to predict 6-month clinical outcomes after FD treatment.

METHODS

Data were retrospectively collected for 84 FD-treated sidewall aneurysms in 80 patients. Based on 6-month angiographic outcomes, IAs were classified as occluded (n = 63) or residual (incomplete occlusion, n = 21). For each case, the authors modeled FD deployment using a fast virtual stenting algorithm and hemodynamics using image-based computational fluid dynamics. Sixteen morphological, hemodynamic, and FD-based parameters were calculated for each aneurysm. Aneurysms were randomly assigned to a training or testing cohort in approximately a 3:1 ratio. The Student t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test were performed on data from the training cohort to identify significant parameters distinguishing the occluded from residual groups. Predictive models were trained using 4 types of supervised machine learning algorithms: logistic regression (LR), support vector machine (SVM; linear and Gaussian kernels), K-nearest neighbor, and neural network (NN). In the testing cohort, the authors compared outcome prediction by each model trained using all parameters versus only the significant parameters.

RESULTS

The training cohort (n = 64) consisted of 48 occluded and 16 residual aneurysms and the testing cohort (n = 20) consisted of 15 occluded and 5 residual aneurysms. Significance tests yielded 2 morphological (ostium ratio and neck ratio) and 3 hemodynamic (pre-treatment inflow rate, post-treatment inflow rate, and post-treatment aneurysm averaged velocity) discriminants between the occluded (good-outcome) and the residual (bad-outcome) group. In both training and testing, all the models trained using all 16 parameters performed better than all the models trained using only the 5 significant parameters. Among the all-parameter models, NN (AUC = 0.967) performed the best during training, followed by LR and linear SVM (AUC = 0.941 and 0.914, respectively). During testing, NN and Gaussian-SVM models had the highest accuracy (90%) in predicting occlusion outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

NN and Gaussian-SVM models incorporating all 16 morphological, hemodynamic, and FD-related parameters predicted 6-month occlusion outcome of FD treatment with 90% accuracy. More robust models using the computational workflow and machine learning could be trained on larger patient databases toward clinical use in patient-specific treatment planning and optimization.

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David Hasan, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Amit Singla, Waldo R. Guerrero, Daichi Nakagawa, Edgar A. Samaniego, Nnenna Mbabuike, Rabih G. Tawk, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Roberta L. Novakovic, Jonathan White, Clemens M. Schirmer, Thomas G. Brott, Hussain Shallwani and L. Nelson Hopkins

OBJECTIVE

The overall risk of ischemic stroke from a chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) is around 5%–7% per year despite receiving the best available medical therapy. Here, authors propose a radiographic classification of COICA that can be used as a guide to determine the technical success and safety of endovascular recanalization for symptomatic COICA and to assess the changes in systemic blood pressure following successful revascularization.

METHODS

The radiographic images of 100 consecutive subjects with COICA were analyzed. A new classification of COICA was proposed based on the morphology, location of occlusion, and presence or absence of reconstitution of the distal ICA. The classification was used to predict successful revascularization in 32 symptomatic COICAs in 31 patients, five of whom were female (5/31 [16.13%]). Patients were included in the study if they had a COICA with ischemic symptoms refractory to medical therapy. Carotid artery occlusion was defined as 100% cross-sectional occlusion of the vessel lumen as documented on CTA or MRA and confirmed by digital subtraction angiography.

RESULTS

Four types (A–D) of radiographic COICA were identified. Types A and B were more amenable to safe revascularization than types C and D. Recanalization was successful at a rate of 68.75% (22/32 COICAs; type A: 8/8; type B: 8/8; type C: 4/8; type D: 2/8). The perioperative complication rate was 18.75% (6/32; type A: 0/8 [0%]; type B: 1/8 [12.50%]; type C: 3/8 [37.50%], type D: 2/8 [25.00%]). None of these complications led to permanent morbidity or death. Twenty (64.52%) of 31 subjects had improvement in their symptoms at the 2–6 months’ follow-up. A statistically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was noted in 17/21 (80.95%) patients who had successful revascularization, which persisted on follow-up (p = 0.0001). The remaining 10 subjects in whom revascularization failed had no significant changes in SBP (p = 0.73).

CONCLUSIONS

The pilot study suggested that our proposed classification of COICA may be useful as an adjunctive guide to determine the technical feasibility and safety of revascularization for symptomatic COICA using endovascular techniques. Additionally, successful revascularization may lead to a significant decrease in SBP postprocedure. A Phase 2b trial in larger cohorts to assess the efficacy of endovascular revascularization using our COICA classification is warranted.

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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.