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James J. Zhou, Tsinsue Chen, S. Harrison Farber, Andrew G. Shetter, and Francisco A. Ponce

OBJECTIVE

The field of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for epilepsy has grown tremendously since its inception in the 1970s and 1980s. The goal of this review is to identify and evaluate all studies published on the topic of open-loop DBS for epilepsy over the past decade (2008 to present).

METHODS

A PubMed search was conducted to identify all articles reporting clinical outcomes of open-loop DBS for the treatment of epilepsy published since January 1, 2008. The following composite search terms were used: (“epilepsy” [MeSH] OR “seizures” [MeSH] OR “kindling, neurologic” [MeSH] OR epilep* OR seizure* OR convuls*) AND (“deep brain stimulation” [MeSH] OR “deep brain stimulation” OR “DBS”) OR (“electric stimulation therapy” [MeSH] OR “electric stimulation therapy” OR “implantable neurostimulators” [MeSH]).

RESULTS

The authors identified 41 studies that met the criteria for inclusion. The anterior nucleus of the thalamus, centromedian nucleus of the thalamus, and hippocampus were the most frequently evaluated targets. Among the 41 articles, 19 reported on stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus, 6 evaluated stimulation of the centromedian nucleus of the thalamus, and 9 evaluated stimulation of the hippocampus. The remaining 7 articles reported on the evaluation of alternative DBS targets, including the posterior hypothalamus, subthalamic nucleus, ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus, nucleus accumbens, caudal zone incerta, mammillothalamic tract, and fornix. The authors evaluated each study for overall epilepsy response rates as well as adverse events and other significant, nonepilepsy outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Level I evidence supports the safety and efficacy of stimulating the anterior nucleus of the thalamus and the hippocampus for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. Level III and IV evidence supports stimulation of other targets for epilepsy. Ongoing research into the efficacy, adverse effects, and mechanisms of open-loop DBS continues to expand the knowledge supporting the use of these treatment modalities in patients with refractory epilepsy.

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Ian F. Pollack, Ronald L. Hamilton, C. David James, Sydney D. Finkelstein, Judith Burnham, Allan J. Yates, Emiko J. Holmes, Tianni Zhou, Jonathan L. Finlay, and Group for the Children’s Oncology

Object

In reporting on molecular studies involving malignant gliomas in adults, authors have noted that deletions of PTEN and amplification of EGFR are common and may contribute to tumor development, providing a rationale for a number of therapies aimed at these molecular targets. The frequency of comparable abnormalities has not been defined in a sizable pediatric cohort. To address this issue, we examined tumor samples from the Children’s Cancer Group 945 study, a large randomized trial of treatment for childhood malignant gliomas.

Methods

Tissue sections in 62 evaluable cases were examined, and the tumors were isolated by microdissection. Polymerase chain reaction amplification was used to detect PTEN mutations. Deletions of PTEN were also assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in 27 cases and loss of heterozygosity analysis in 54; EGFR was assessed using immunohistochemistry to identify areas with maximal EGFR expression, followed by FISH to determine EGFR amplification.

Alteration of the PTEN sequence was detected in just one of 62 tumors, in conjunction with loss of chromosome 10; PTEN deletions without mutation were evident in seven additional tumors. The PTEN alterations were more common in glioblastoma multiforme (seven of 25 tumors) than other tumor subgroups (one of 37 tumors) (p = 0.0056). Although 14 of 38 evaluable tumors had increased EGFR expression compared to normal tissue, only one tumor exhibited amplification of EGFR.

Conclusions

Alterations in PTEN and amplification of EGFR are uncommon in pediatric malignant gliomas, in contrast to adult malignant gliomas. From this one can infer that the pediatric and adult tumors involve distinct molecular causes. The results of this study have important implications for the adaptation of glioma therapies aimed at molecular targets in adults to the treatment of childhood gliomas, and highlight the need for investigations of therapies specifically directed toward childhood tumors.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Mohamed A. Labib, Fabio A. Frisoli, Megan S. Cadigan, Jacob F. Baranoski, Tyler S. Cole, James J. Zhou, Candice L. Nguyen, Alexander C. Whiting, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The SAFIRE grading scale is a novel, computable scale that predicts the outcome of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) patients in acute follow-up. However, this scale also may have prognostic significance in long-term follow-up and help guide further management.

METHODS

The records of all patients enrolled in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) were retrospectively reviewed, and the patients were assigned SAFIRE grades. Outcomes at 1 year and 6 years post-aSAH were analyzed for each SAFIRE grade level, with a poor outcome defined as a modified Rankin Scale score > 2. Univariate analysis was performed for patients with a high SAFIRE grade (IV or V) for odds of poor outcome at the 1- and 6-year follow-ups.

RESULTS

A total of 405 patients with confirmed aSAH enrolled in the BRAT were analyzed; 357 patients had 1-year follow-up, and 333 patients had 6-year follow-up data available. Generally, as the SAFIRE grade increased, so did the proportion of patients with poor outcomes. At the 1-year follow-up, 18% (17/93) of grade I patients, 22% (20/92) of grade II patients, 32% (26/80) of grade III patients, 43% (38/88) of grade IV patients, and 75% (3/4) of grade V patients were found to have poor outcomes. At the 6-year follow-up, 29% (23/79) of grade I patients, 24% (21/89) of grade II patients, 38% (29/77) of grade III patients, 60% (50/84) of grade IV patients, and 100% (4/4) of grade V patients were found to have poor outcomes. Univariate analysis showed that a SAFIRE grade of IV or V was associated with a significantly increased risk of a poor outcome at both the 1-year (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5–4.2; p < 0.001) and 6-year (OR 3.7, 95% CI 2.2–6.2; p < 0.001) follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS

High SAFIRE grades are associated with an increased risk of a poor recovery at late follow-up.

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Linda S. Aglio, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Vwaire Orhurhu, Grace Y. Kim, Jie Zhou, Laverne D. Gugino, Lisa J. Crossley, James L. Gosnell, John H. Chi, and Michael W. Groff

OBJECTIVE

Preemptive administration of analgesic medication is more effective than medication given after the onset of the painful stimulus. The efficacy of preoperative or preemptive pain relief after thoracolumbosacral spine surgery has not been well studied. The present study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial of preemptive analgesia with a single-shot epidural injection in adult patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

Ninety-nine adult patients undergoing thoracolumbosacral operations via a posterior approach were randomized to receive a single shot of either epidural placebo (group 1), hydromorphone alone (group 2), or bupivacaine with hydromorphone (group 3) before surgery at the preoperative holding area. The primary outcome was the presence of opioid sparing and rescue time—defined as the time interval from when a patient was extubated to the time pain medication was first demanded during the postoperative period. Secondary outcomes include length of stay at the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), pain score at the PACU, opioid dose, and hospital length of stay.

RESULTS

Of the 99 patients, 32 were randomized to the epidural placebo group, 33 to the hydromorphone-alone group, and 34 to the bupivacaine with hydromorphone group. No significant difference was seen across the demographics and surgical complexities for all 3 groups. Compared to the control group, opioid sparing was significantly higher in group 2 (57.6% vs 15.6%, p = 0.0007) and group 3 (52.9% vs 15.6%, p = 0.0045) in the first demand of intravenous hydromorphone as a supplemental analgesic medication. Compared to placebo, the rescue time was significantly higher in group 2 (187 minutes vs 51.5 minutes, p = 0.0014) and group 3 (204.5 minutes vs 51. minutes, p = 0.0045). There were no significant differences in secondary outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ study demonstrated that preemptive analgesia in thoracolumbosacral surgeries can significantly reduce analgesia requirements in the immediate postoperative period as evidenced by reduced request for opioid medication in both analgesia study groups who received a preoperative analgesic epidural. Nonetheless, the lack of differences in pain score and opioid dose at the PACU brings into question the role of preemptive epidural opioids in spine surgery patients. Further work is necessary to investigate the long-term effectiveness of preemptive epidural opioids and their role in pain reduction and patient satisfaction.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02968862 (clinicaltrials.gov)