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Alexandra Lauric, Luke Silveira, Emal Lesha, Jeffrey M. Breton, and Adel M. Malek

OBJECTIVE

Vessel tapering results in blood flow acceleration at downstream bifurcations (firehose nozzle effect), induces hemodynamics predisposing to aneurysm initiation, and has been associated with middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm presence and rupture status. The authors sought to determine if vessel caliber tapering is a generalizable predisposing factor by evaluating upstream A1 segment profiles in association with aneurysm presence in the anterior communicating artery (ACoA) complex, the most prevalent cerebral aneurysm location associated with a high rupture risk.

METHODS

Three-dimensional rotational angiographic studies were analyzed for 68 patients with ACoA aneurysms, 37 nonaneurysmal contralaterals, and 53 healthy bilateral controls (211 samples total). A1 segments were determined to be dominant, codominant, or nondominant based on flow and size. Equidistant cross-sectional orthogonal cuts were generated along the A1 centerline, and cross-sectional area (CSA) was evaluated proximally and distally, using intensity-invariant edge detection filtering. The relative tapering of the A1 segment was evaluated as the tapering ratio (distal/proximal CSA). Computational fluid dynamics was simulated on ACoA parametric models with and without tapering.

RESULTS

Aneurysms occurred predominantly on dominant (79%) and codominant (17%) A1 segments. A1 segments leading to unruptured ACoA aneurysms had significantly greater tapering compared to nonaneurysmal contralaterals (0.69 ± 0.13 vs 0.80 ± 0.17, p = 0.001) and healthy controls (0.69 ± 0.13 vs 0.83 ± 0.16, p < 0.001), regardless of dominance labeling. There was no statistically significant difference in tapering values between contralateral A1 and healthy A1 controls (0.80 ± 0.17 vs 0.83 ± 0.16, p = 0.56). Hemodynamically, A1 segment tapering induces high focal pressure, high wall shear stress, and high velocity at the ACoA bifurcation.

CONCLUSIONS

Aneurysmal, but not contralateral or healthy control, A1 segments demonstrated significant progressive vascular tapering, which is associated with aneurysmogenic hemodynamic conditions at the ACoA complex. Demonstration of the upstream tapering effect in the communicating ACoA segment is consistent with its prior detection in the noncommunicating MCA bifurcation, which together form more than 50% of intracranial aneurysms. The mechanistic characterization of this upstream vascular tapering phenomenon is warranted to understand its clinical relevance and devise potential therapeutic strategies.

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Jeffrey M. Breton, Calvin G. Ludwig, Michael J. Yang, T. Jayde Nail, Ron I. Riesenburger, Penny Liu, and James T Kryzanski

OBJECTIVE

Spinal anesthesia (SA) is an alternative to general anesthesia (GA) for lumbar spine surgery, including complex instrumented fusion, although there are relatively few outcome data available. The authors discuss their experience using SA in a modern complex lumbar spine surgery practice to describe its utility and implementation.

METHODS

Data from patients receiving SA for lumbar spine surgery by one surgeon from March 2017 to December 2020 were collected via a retrospective chart review. Cases were divided into nonfusion and fusion procedure categories and analyzed for demographics and baseline medical status; pre-, intra-, and postoperative events; hospital course, including Acute Pain Service (APS) consults; and follow-up visit outcome data.

RESULTS

A total of 345 consecutive lumbar spine procedures were found, with 343 records complete for analysis, including 181 fusion and 162 nonfusion procedures and spinal levels from T11 through S1. The fusion group was significantly older (mean age 65.9 ± 12.4 vs 59.5 ± 15.4 years, p < 0.001) and had a significantly higher proportion of patients with American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Physical Status Classification class III (p = 0.009) than the nonfusion group. There were no intraoperative conversions to GA, with infrequent need for a second dose of SA preoperatively (2.9%, 10/343) and rare preoperative conversion to GA (0.6%, 2/343) across fusion and nonfusion groups. Rates of complications during hospitalization were comparable to those seen in the literature. The APS was consulted for 2.9% (10/343) of procedures. An algorithm for the integration of SA into a lumbar spine surgery practice, from surgical and anesthetic perspectives, is also offered.

CONCLUSIONS

SA is a viable, safe, and effective option for lumbar spine surgery across a wide range of age and health statuses, particularly in older patients and those who want to avoid GA. The authors’ protocol, based in part on the largest set of data currently available describing complex instrumented fusion surgeries of the lumbar spine completed under SA, presents guidance and best practices to integrate SA into contemporary lumbar spine practices.

Open access

Jeffrey M. Breton, Knarik Arkun, Arthur S. Tischler, Adnan S. Qamar, Jonathan S. Sillman, and Carl B. Heilman

BACKGROUND

Paragangliomas (PGLs) are rare neoplasms that may be associated with hereditary PGL syndromes and variable risk of metastasis. Middle ear adenomas are extremely rare tumors with no known hereditary predisposition and extremely low risk of metastasis. Although often easily differentiated, they may share clinical and pathological features that misdirect and confuse the diagnosis.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors discussed a 35-year-old woman with left-sided hearing loss and bleeding from the external ear canal who presented to an outside hospital. She underwent resection of a middle ear and mastoid mass, initially diagnosed as a middle ear adenoma with neuroendocrine features, with later mastoidectomy and ligation of the sigmoid sinus with microsurgical excision of persistent tumor in the jugular foramen and temporal bone. Histopathologically, her tumor was vascular, composed of benign-appearing epithelioid cells with “salt and pepper” neuroendocrine chromatin arranged in vague nests. Lesional cells were GATA3-immunopositive, glucagon-negative, and succinate dehydrogenase-immunonegative, consistent with PGL rather than middle ear adenoma, and required further workup for hereditary PGL syndromes.

LESSONS

This case demonstrates potential challenges in differentiating a PGL from a middle ear adenoma. The authors offer clinical, histopathological, and imaging principles to aid in diagnosis and workup.