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Jing Guo, Jonathan A. White and H. Hunt Batjer

✓ To evaluate etomidate as a neuroprotective agent in the brain stem, 33 dogs were divided into seven groups and were exposed to isolated, reversible brainstem ischemia in the presence or absence of etomidate using a newly developed canine model of brainstem ischemia. Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) and regional cerebral blood flow were measured during ischemia and for 5 hours after reperfusion. This model provides a potential physiological environment in which to test the efficacy of putative brainstem ischemic protective strategies.

During ischemia, BAEP were abolished in all animals. Without etomidate 10 minutes of ischemia was of short enough duration to allow complete recovery of BAEP. Ischemia of 20 or 30 minutes' duration resulted in minimal recovery. The dose of etomidate administered did not suppress BAEP or brainstem cardiovascular response to ischemia. In animals receiving etomidate and rendered ischemic for 20 minutes, a significant but only temporary recovery in BAEP was seen. Etomidate failed to have a significant effect in animals rendered ischemic for 30 minutes.

The minimal effect of etomidate on the current measures of brainstem function is in contrast to etomidate's known suppressive effect on cortical electroencephalogram and predicts that etomidate does little to alter brainstem metabolism. Etomidate's failure to provide for permanent recovery of BAEP suggests that the drug does not give sufficient protection from ischemia to the brainstem neurons in the auditory pathway. If these auditory neurons reflect brainstem function as a whole, etomidate may not be the protective agent of choice during temporary arterial occlusion of posterior circulation.

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Editorial

Brainstem cavernomas

Albino Bricolo

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Bruno C. Flores, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson

OBJECTIVE

Paraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysms frequently require temporary occlusion to facilitate safe clipping. Brisk retrograde flow through the ophthalmic artery and cavernous ICA branches make simple trapping inadequate to soften the aneurysm. The retrograde suction decompression (RSD), or Dallas RSD, technique was described in 1990 in an attempt to overcome some of those treatment limitations. A frequent criticism of the RSD technique is an allegedly high risk of cervical ICA dissection. An endovascular modification was introduced in 1991 (endovascular RSD) but no studies have compared the 2 RSD variations.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review of MEDLINE/PubMed and Web of Science and identified all studies from 1990–2016 in which either Dallas RSD or endovascular RSD was used for treatment of paraclinoid aneurysms. A pooled analysis of the data was completed to identify important demographic and treatment-specific variables. The primary outcome measure was defined as successful aneurysm obliteration. Secondary outcome variables were divided into overall and RSD-specific morbidity and mortality rates.

RESULTS

Twenty-six RSD studies met the inclusion criteria (525 patients, 78.9% female). The mean patient age was 53.5 years. Most aneurysms were unruptured (56.6%) and giant (49%). The most common presentations were subarachnoid hemorrhage (43.6%) and vision changes (25.3%). The aneurysm obliteration rate was 95%. The mean temporary occlusion time was 12.7 minutes. Transient or permanent morbidity was seen in 19.9% of the patients. The RSD-specific complication rate was low (1.3%). The overall mortality rate was 4.2%, with 2 deaths (0.4%) attributable to the RSD technique itself. Good or fair outcome were reported in 90.7% of the patients.

Aneurysm obliteration rates were similar in the 2 subgroups (Dallas RSD 94.3%, endovascular RSD 96.3%, p = 0.33). Despite a higher frequency of complex (giant or ruptured) aneurysms, Dallas RSD was associated with lower RSD-related morbidity (0.6% vs 2.9%, p = 0.03), compared with the endovascular RSD subgroup. There was a trend toward higher mortality in the endovascular RSD subgroup (6.4% vs 3.1%, p = 0.08). The proportion of patients with poor neurological outcome at last follow-up was significantly higher in the endovascular RSD group (15.4% vs 7.2%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

The treatment of paraclinoid ICA aneurysms using the RSD technique is associated with high aneurysm obliteration rates, good long-term neurological outcome, and low RSD-related morbidity and mortality. Review of the RSD literature showed no evidence of a higher complication rate associated with the Dallas technique compared with similar endovascular methods. On a subgroup analysis of Dallas RSD and endovascular RSD, both groups achieved similar obliteration rates, but a lower RSD-related morbidity was seen in the Dallas technique subgroup. Twenty-five years after its initial publication, RSD remains a useful neurosurgical technique for the management of large and giant paraclinoid aneurysms.

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Erik F. Hauck, Bryan Wohlfeld, Babu Guai Welch, Jonathan A. White and Duke Samson

Object

Patients with very large or giant unruptured intracranial aneurysms present with ischemic stroke and progressive disability. The aneurysm rupture risk in these patients is extreme—up to 50% in 5 years. In this study the authors investigated the outcome of surgical treatment for these very large aneurysms in the anterior circulation.

Methods

Clinical data on 62 patients who underwent surgery for unruptured aneurysms (20–60 mm) between 1998 and 2006 were reviewed.

Results

Complete aneurysm occlusion (100%) was achieved in 90% of cases, near complete occlusion (90–99%) in 5%. The surgical risk in patients younger than 50 years of age was 8% (Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 1 or 3 within 1 year after surgery). In older patients, the risk increased with advancing age.

Conclusions

The treatment of very large or giant unruptured intracranial aneurysms is hazardous and complex and thus best performed only at major cerebrovascular centers with an experienced team of neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, neurologists, and neuroanesthesiologists. Surgery, with acceptable risks and excellent occlusion rates, is typically the treatment of choice in patients younger than 50 years of age. In older patients, the benefits of endovascular treatment versus surgery versus no treatment must be carefully weighed individually. Minimizing temporary occlusion and the consequent use of intraoperative angiography may help reduce surgical complications.

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Sohum Desai, Jonathan A. Friedman, Joseph Hlavin, Rudy P. Briner, L. Gerard Toussaint III, J. Bradley White and Alexander Van Amerogen

The authors present a unique case of a patient with communicating hydrocephalus and repeated ventriculoperitoneal shunt obstructions resulting from mucin-secreting enterogenous cell deposits at the cervicomedullary junction. Pathological examinations revealed that these cellular deposits lacked characteristic cystic architecture and the patient had no history of previous cyst with dissemination. Because of the repeated shunt obstructions and inability to surgically resect the lesion in its entirety, the authors elected radiation therapy to the cervicomedullary junction, encompassing the radiological abnormality. As of this writing, the patient has remained at neurological baseline and has not required further shunt revisions for obstruction.

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Jeffrey S. Beecher, Kristopher Lyon, Vin Shen Ban, Awais Vance, Cameron M. McDougall, Louis A. Whitworth, Jonathan A. White, Duke Samson, H. Hunt Batjer and Babu G. Welch

OBJECTIVE

Despite a hemorrhagic presentation, many patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) do not require emergency resection. The timing of definitive management is not standardized in the cerebrovascular community. This study was designed to evaluate the safety of delaying AVM treatment in clinically stable patients with a new hemorrhagic presentation. The authors examined the rate of rehemorrhage or neurological decline in a cohort of patients with ruptured brain AVMs during a period of time posthemorrhage.

METHODS

Patients presenting to the authors’ institution from January 2000 to December 2015 with ruptured brain AVMs treated at least 4 weeks posthemorrhage were included in this analysis. Exclusion criteria were ruptured AVMs that required emergency surgery involving resection of the AVM, prior treatment of AVM at another institution, or treatment of lesions within 4 weeks for other reasons (subacute surgery). The primary outcome measure was time from initial hemorrhage to treatment failure (defined as rehemorrhage or neurological decline as a direct result of the AVM). Patient-days were calculated from the day of initial rupture until the day AVM treatment was initiated or treatment failed.

RESULTS

Of 102 ruptured AVMs in 102 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 7 (6.9%) failed the treatment paradigm. Six patients (5.8%) had a new hemorrhage within a median of 248 days (interquartile range 33–1364 days). The total “at risk” period was 18,740 patient-days, yielding a rehemorrhage rate of 11.5% per patient-year, or 0.96% per patient-month. Twelve (11.8%) of 102 patients were found to have an associated aneurysm. In this group there was a single (8.3%) new hemorrhage during a total at-risk period of 263 patient-days until the aneurysm was secured, yielding a rehemorrhage risk of 11.4% per patient-month.

CONCLUSIONS

It is the authors’ practice to rehabilitate patients after brain AVM rupture with a plan for elective treatment of the AVM. The present data are useful in that the findings quantify the risk of the authors’ treatment strategy. These findings indicate that delaying intervention for at least 4 weeks after the initial hemorrhage subjects the patient to a low (< 1%) risk of rehemorrhage. The authors modified the treatment paradigm when a high-risk feature, such as an associated intracranial aneurysm, was identified.

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Bruno C. Flores, Daniel R. Klinger, Kim l. Rickert, Samuel l. Barnett, Babu G. Welch, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Duke S. Samson

Intracranial or brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) are some of the most interesting and challenging lesions treated by the cerebrovascular neurosurgeon. It is generally believed that the combination of BAVMs and intracranial aneurysms (IAs) is associated with higher hemorrhage rates at presentation and higher rehemorrhage rates and thus with a more aggressive course and natural history. There is wide variation in the literature on the prevalence of BAVM-associated aneurysms (range 2.7%–58%), with 10%–20% being most often cited in the largest case series. The risk of intracranial hemorrhage in patients with unruptured BAVMs and coexisting IAs has been reported to be 7% annually, compared with 2%–4% annually for those with BAVM alone. Several different classification systems have been applied in an attempt to better understand the natural history of this combination of lesions and implications for treatment. Independent of the classification used, it is clear that a few subtypes of aneurysms have a direct hemodynamic correlation with the BAVM itself. This is exemplified by the fact that the presence of a distal flow-related or an intranidal aneurysm appears to be associated with an increased hemorrhage risk, when compared with an aneurysm located on a vessel with no direct supply to the BAVM nidus. Debate still exists regarding the etiology of the association between those two vascular lesions, the subsequent implications for patients’ risk of hemorrhagic stroke, and finally the determination of which patients warrant treatment and when. The ultimate goals of the treatment of a BAVM associated with an IA are to prevent hemorrhage, avoid stepwise neurological deterioration, and eliminate the mortality risk associated with recurrent hemorrhagic events. The treatment is only justifiable if the risks associated with an intervention are lower than or equivalent to the long-term risks of disability or mortality caused by the lesion itself. When faced with this difficult decision, a few questions need to be answered by the treating neu-rosurgeon: What is the mode of presentation? What is the symptomatic lesion? Which one of the lesions bled? What is the relationship between the BAVM and IA? Is it possible to safely treat both BAVM and IA? The objective of this review is to discuss the demographics, natural history, classification, and strategies for management of BAVMs associated with IAs.

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Christopher L. Taylor, Kim Dutton, George Rappard, G. Lee Pride, Robert Replogle, Phillip D. Purdy, Jonathan White, Cole Giller, Thomas A. Kopitnik Jr. and Duke S. Samson

Object. Preoperative embolization is viewed by the authors as a useful adjunct in the surgical management of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). This study was performed to determine the rate of significant complication in patients undergoing this procedure.

Methods. Demographic, anatomical, and procedure data were collected prospectively. The treating physician reported complications. In addition, a review of medical records including procedure reports, operative reports, and discharge summaries was performed. Univariate statistical analysis was performed to determine if any of the variables was predictive of a poor outcome of embolization (death or permanent neurological deficit).

Endovascular procedures for embolization were performed 339 times in 201 patients during an 11-year period. Female patients comprised 53.7% of the study group and 85.6% of the AVMs were supratentorial. Embolization was performed using polyvinyl alcohol particles, N-butyl cyanoacrylate, detachable coils, and/or the liquid polymer Onyx. Analyzed by procedure, a poor result of embolization occurred in 7.7%. Analyzed by patient, 11% died or had a permanent neurological deficit as a result of the embolization. None of the demographic, anatomical, or procedure variables identified were predictive of a poor outcome.

Conclusions. Preoperative embolization may gradually reduce flow to an AVM, reduce intraoperative blood loss, and reduce operative time. The risks of this procedure, however, are not insignificant and must be considered in planning treatment for patients with AVMs.

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Eva M. Wu, Benjamin Kafka, James P. Caruso, Om J. Neeley, Aaron Plitt, Salah G. Aoun, Daiwai M. Olson, Robert A. Ruchinskas, C. Munro Cullum, Samuel Barnett, Babu G. Welch, H. Hunt Batjer and Jonathan A. White

OBJECTIVE

A short-term lumbar drain (LD) trial is commonly used to assess the response of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) patients to CSF diversion. However, it remains unknown whether the predictors of passing an LD trial match the predictors of improvement after ventriculoperitoneal shunting. The aim of this study was to examine outcomes, complication rates, and associations between predictors and outcomes after an LD trial in patients with NPH.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 254 patients with probable NPH who underwent an LD trial between March 2008 and September 2017. Multivariate regression models were constructed to examine predictors of passing the LD trial. Complications associated with the LD trial procedure were recorded.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 77 years and 56.7% were male. The mean durations of gait disturbance, cognitive decline, and urinary incontinence were 29 months, 32 months, and 28 months, respectively. Of the 254 patients, 30% and 16% reported objective and subjective improvement after the LD trial, respectively. Complications included a sheared LD catheter, meningitis, lumbar epidural abscess, CSF leak at insertion site, transient lower extremity numbness, slurred speech, refractory headaches, and hyponatremia. Multivariate analyses using MAX-R revealed that a prior history of stroke predicted worse outcomes, while disproportionate subarachnoid spaces (uneven enlargement of supratentorial spaces) predicted better outcomes after the LD trial (r2 = 0.12, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The LD trial is generally safe and well tolerated. The best predictors of passing the LD trial include a negative history of stroke and having disproportionate subarachnoid spaces.

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Salah G. Aoun, Sonja E. Stutzman, Phuong-Uyen N. Vo, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Mohamed Osman, Om Neeley, Aaron Plitt, James P. Caruso, Venkatesh Aiyagari, Folefac Atem, Babu G. Welch, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Daiwai M. Olson

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral vasospasm causing delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a source of significant morbidity after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Transcranial Doppler is used at most institutions to detect sonographic vasospasm but has poor positive predictive value for DCI. Automated assessment of the pupillary light reflex has been increasingly used as a reliable way of assessing pupillary reactivity, and the Neurological Pupil Index (NPi) has been shown to decrease hours prior to the clinical manifestation of ischemic injury or herniation syndromes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of automated pupillometry in the setting of SAH, as a potential adjunct to TCD.

METHODS

Our analysis included patients that had been diagnosed with aneurysmal SAH and admitted to the neuro–intensive care unit of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center between November 2015 and June 2017. A dynamic infrared pupillometer was used for all pupillary measurements. An NPi value ranging from 3 to 5 was considered normal, and from 0 to 2.9 abnormal. Sonographic vasospasm was defined as middle cerebral artery velocities greater than 100 cm/sec with a Lindegaard ratio greater than 3 on either side on transcranial Doppler. Most patients had multiple NPi readings daily and we retained the lowest value for our analysis. We aimed to study the association between DCI and sonographic vasospasm, and DCI and NPi readings.

RESULTS

A total of 56 patients were included in the final analysis with 635 paired observations of daily TCD and NPi data. There was no statistically significant association between the NPi value and the presence of sonographic vasospasm. There was a significant association between DCI and sonographic vasospasm, χ2(1) = 6.4112, p = 0.0113, OR 1.6419 (95% CI 1.1163–2.4150), and between DCI and an abnormal decrease in NPi, χ2(1) = 38.4456, p < 0.001, OR 3.3930 (95% CI 2.2789–5.0517). Twelve patients experienced DCI, with 7 showing a decrease of their NPi to an abnormal range. This change occurred > 8 hours prior to the clinical decline 71.4% of the time. The NPi normalized in all patients after treatment of their vasospasm.

CONCLUSIONS

Isolated sonographic vasospasm does not seem to correlate with NPi changes, as the latter likely reflects an ischemic neurological injury. NPi changes are strongly associated with the advent of DCI and could be an early herald of clinical deterioration.