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Walter J. Levy, Janet W. Bay, Bhupinder Sawhny and Thomas Tank

✓ Cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage continues to elude effective treatment. Volume expansion is very helpful at times, but cannot be relied on. The authors have combined elements of two vasospasm regimens that could have additive effects. After a trial of volume expansion, aminophylline, dopamine, and nitroprusside were used in combination in each of five patients. All had documented vasospasm and all improved markedly.

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Andrew H. Kaye, Joseph F. Hahn, Sam E. Kinney, Russell W. Hardy Jr. and Janet W. Bay

✓ Thirteen patients with schwannomas of the jugular foramen were operated on at the Cleveland Clinic between 1974 and 1983. The authors' experience in managing these rare tumors is presented. Three major growth patterns of jugular foramen schwannoma were seen, and it is postulated that the position of the tumor depends on its point of origin from the nerves as they pass through the pars nervosa of the jugular foramen. The more distal lesions will expand inferiorly out of the base of the skull, and the more proximal lesions will enlarge into the posterior fossa. Tumors in the mid region will tend to expand primarily into bone. The schwannoma was primarily intracranial in six patients. In five patients the tumor expanded the bone at the base of the skull, with only a small intracranial component, and in two patients the tumor was primarily extracranial, with a small extension into the bone or posterior fossa. The presentation of the patients varied according to the tumor growth pattern. Deafness, vertigo, and ataxia were present in all patients with a major intracranial component, and in most of these there were only minimal deficits of the jugular foramen nerves. By contrast, lower cranial nerve involvement, including hoarseness and weakness of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles, occurred in patients in whom the tumor was primarily within the bone or extracranial. Three of the five patients with the major component of the schwannoma within the bone also had deafness. Symptomatic history was longest in those with tumor mainly involving the bone at the base of the skull, and shortest in patients with entirely extracranial tumor. Surgical resection was accomplished with a joint neurosurgical-otological approach, usually combining a posterior fossa exploration with either a translabyrinthine transcochlear or infralabyrinthine procedure. The exact nature of the operation depended upon the presence of intracranial tumor and on the extent of bone or extracranial involvement. Total excision was performed in all cases. There was no operative mortality, and surgery resulted in loss of function of the ninth, 10th, and 11th cranial nerves in most patients. The major postoperative morbidity consisted of swallowing difficulties and sputum aspiration.

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Edward J. Rockwood, Z. Nicholas Zakov and Janet W. Bay

✓ Three cases of histopathologically proven combined ocular and central nervous system (CNS) malignant lymphoma (reticulum-cell sarcoma) are presented. A review of the literature revealed 33 cases described with this syndrome. Symptoms and signs of both CNS and ocular disease are discussed. The results of computerized tomography and angiography are also reviewed. The diagnosis has been made by craniotomy, cerebrospinal fluid cytological examination, and by pars plana vitrectomy. The latter two procedures should probably be attempted prior to considering craniotomy. Reticulum-cell sarcoma of the eye and CNS possibly has a multicentric origin.

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Gene H. Barnett, Russell W. Hardy Jr., John R. Little, Janet W. Bay and George W. Sypert

✓ Hypertrophy of the posterior spinal elements leading to compromise of the spinal canal and its neural elements is a well-recognized pathological entity affecting the lumbar or cervical spine. Such stenosis of the thoracic spine in the absence of a generalized rheumatological, metabolic, or orthopedic disorder, or a history of trauma is generally considered to be rare. Over a 2-year period the authors have treated six cases of thoracic myelopathy associated with thoracic canal stenosis. In four patients the deficits developed gradually and painlessly. The three older patients had a clinical profile characterized by complaints of pseudoclaudication, spastic lower limbs, and evidence of posterior column dysfunction. Two patients were younger adults with low thoracic myelopathy associated with local back pain after minor trauma. Both patients also had congenital narrowing of the thoracic spinal canal.

Oil and metrizamide contrast myelography in the prone position were of limited value in diagnosing this condition; in fact, myelography may be misleading and result in erroneous diagnosis of thoracic disc protrusion, when the principal problem is dorsal and lateral compression from hypertrophied facets. Magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography sector scanning were more useful in the diagnosis of this disorder than was myelography. Thoracic canal stenosis may be more common than is currently recognized and account for a portion of the failures in anterior and lateral decompression of thoracic disc herniations.

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Samuel J. Hassenbusch, Prem K. Pillay, Michelle Magdinec, Kathleen Currie, Janet W. Bay, Edward C. Covington and Marian Z. Tomaszewski

✓ In the past, pain control for chronic pain syndromes using narcotic infusion has been carried out primarily via the intrathecal (subarachnoid) route. This report presents one of the first large series of terminally ill cancer patients with intractable pain treated with continuous epidural morphine infusions by means of implanted pumps and epidural spinal catheters. The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that the epidural route is effective with minimal complications, and that screening with temporary epidural catheter infusions results in a high rate of subsequent pain relief. A multidisciplinary team (neurosurgeon, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, oncologists, and nurse clinicians) evaluated and treated all of the patients studied. Percutaneous placement of temporary epidural catheters for a trial assessment was performed by the anesthesiologists. Pain evaluations were conducted independently by psychiatrists using both verbal and visual analog scales. From 1982 to 1988, 41 (59.4%) of 69 patients evaluated for eligibility experienced good pain control during trial assessment and were subsequently implanted with Infusaid infusion pumps. Preinfusion pain analog values were 8.6 ± 0.3 and postimplantation values at 1 month were 3.8 ± 0.4 (p < 0.001). Over this same 1-month period, requirements of systemic morphine equivalents decreased by 79.3% with epidural infusions as compared to preinfusion requirements (p < 0.001 ). There were no instances of epidural scarring, respiratory depression, epidural infections, meningitis, or catheter blockage. One patient developed apparent drug tolerance and three patients required further catheter manipulations. This series strongly suggests that significant reductions in cancer pain can be obtained with few complications and a low morphine tolerance rate using chronic epidural morphine infusion. Anesthesiology and psychiatry input, along with temporary catheter infusion screening and quantitative pain evaluations using analog scales, are essential.