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M. Yashar S. Kalani and Joseph M. Zabramski


The threat of symptomatic hemorrhage from cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) during pregnancy remains poorly understood. The authors undertook this study to better define the risk of pregnancy-related hemorrhage in this population.


The records of female patients with sporadic (isolated lesions and negative family history) and familial forms of CCM, which were collected as part of the Barrow Neurological Institute CCM natural history study, were examined. Clinical data related to pregnancy, including type of delivery (vaginal or cesarean section) and any change in neurological status, were obtained from chart reviews and patient interviews.


There were 168 pregnancies among 64 female patients with CCM (28 sporadic and 36 familial). Assuming an average of 46 weeks per pregnancy (40 weeks of gestation and 6 weeks of puerperium), patients were at risk for hemorrhage for a total of 148.6 years. Symptomatic hemorrhage (defined as new-onset or exacerbation of seizure activity or any change in neurological status) occurred during 5 pregnancies, with the most common symptom being seizures (4 cases). The overall risk for symptomatic hemorrhage was 3% per pregnancy; the risk was 1.8% per pregnancy in the sporadic group and 3.6% per pregnancy in the familial patients.

There were 19 deliveries by cesarean section: 5 for obstetrical reasons, 8 for fear of possible hemorrhage, and 6 for unknown reasons. Vaginal delivery was performed without complications for the remaining 149 pregnancies.


The authors' experience suggests that the risk of symptomatic hemorrhage from a CCM during pregnancy is not increased and that a history of CCM is not a contraindication to pregnancy or vaginal delivery.

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Thomas M. Wascher, Robert F. Spetzler and Joseph M. Zabramski

✓ Safe surgery for vascular and neoplastic lesions involving the cavernous sinus requires adequate proximal control of the cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA). Classically, control of the cavernous ICA has necessitated dissection and isolation of the cervical vessels. The authors describe an alternative method for obtaining vascular control via transdural exposure of the petrous ICA and the use of the Fogarty balloon embolectomy catheter inserted extra-arterially into the carotid canal to provide temporary occlusion. This method is particularly well suited for proximal ICA occlusion during short-segment petrous-to-paraclinoid ICA bypass procedures as it eliminates the need for a temporary proximal ICA aneurysm clip and increases the available working space for completion of the anastomosis.

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Wouter I. Schievink, Virginia Prendergast and Joseph M. Zabramski

✓ Intracranial aneurysms are common extrarenal manifestations of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Although their natural history is not completely understood, small asymptomatic intracranial aneurysms in patients with ADPKD often are not treated but are followed with serial magnetic resonance (MR) angiography. The authors report the unique case of a patient with ADPKD who bled from a previously documented asymptomatic 3-mm intracranial aneurysm.

This 42-year-old man with ADPKD suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from a 7-mm left pericallosal artery aneurysm. This aneurysm was clipped and the patient made an excellent recovery. An irregular asymptomatic 3-mm right middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm had also been demonstrated on angiography. While the patient was considering elective surgery for the MCA aneurysm, he suffered a hemorrhage from this lesion 10 weeks after the initial SAH. The aneurysm was clipped and the patient made a satisfactory recovery (he was moderately disabled).

In this report the authors indicate that small asymptomatic intracranial aneurysms are not always innocuous in patients with ADPKD, and they suggest that treatment should be strongly considered for these lesions in this group of patients when there is a history of SAH or the aneurysm is irregular in appearance. Because MR angiography studies may not adequately define the configuration of small aneurysms and irregularity may easily be missed, conventional angiography is recommended for patients with ADPKD who are found to have an intracranial aneurysm on screening with MR angiography.

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Conrad T. E. Pappas, Joseph M. Zabramski and Andrew G. Shetter

✓ An unusual case of an iatrogenic dural arteriovenous fistula is reported. The patient presented with a history of progressive generalized headache over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Computerized tomography demonstrated a chronic subdural hematoma that was successfully evacuated by burr-hole drainage. The patient's postoperative course was complicated by recurrent acute subdural hematomas at the drainage site. Coagulation studies were unremarkable. Selective external carotid angiography demonstrated a small dural arteriovenous fistula adjacent to the burr hole used for the initial operative procedure. Extension of the bone flap and coagulation of the fistula resulted in a good outcome. In the patient with recurrent acute subdural hematoma, the possibility of a vascular malformation must be considered. Selective internal and external carotid angiography is key to the correct diagnosis.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Joseph M. Zabramski and Richard A. Flom

✓ A small group of spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), most commonly present in children or young adults, are characterized by a large size, high flow, the presence of multiple feeders, and frequent extension to paraspinous structures. Cardiac output requirements may be significantly increased by these so-called “juvenile” malformations, and a bruit is commonly noted. This report describes the obliteration of a juvenile spinal AVM. Staging of embolization and operative procedures was used to obliterate the AVM successfully without morbidity.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Takanori Fukushima, Neil Martin and Joseph M. Zabramski

✓ In the management of cavernous sinus aneurysms, cavernous sinus tumor, and cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis, a direct arterial bypass around the pathology may be required. A series of 18 patients is presented in whom a petrous ICA to subarachnoid ICA saphenous vein bypass procedure was performed. The advantages of a short large-caliber venous graft entirely within the skull account for the high patency rate (17 of 18 patients) in this series. This vascular bypass can be recommended in the management of patients whose intracavernous ICA must be sacrificed.

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R. Loch Macdonald

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Joshua B. Bederson, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ The authors describe a new technique for treating unclippable aneurysms. The method involves a modification of the traditional wrapping technique, including a clip-reinforced cotton sling. The results of this method in four patients are presented.

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Carlos A. David, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ The authors sought to create a saphenous vein interposition graft to be used in cerebral bypass procedures that would be more physiologically appropriate than standard vein grafts and would provide a better match between the graft and recipient vessels at the anastomotic sites. The saphenous vein graft was prepared by lysing the valves with a valvulotome. The blood flow could then be reversed in the vein, allowing it to be used in either direction as a bypass graft. An illustrative case including angiograms that confirm good patency and blood flow through the reversed-flow bypass graft is presented. It is concluded that the reversed-flow saphenous vein graft provides a more physiologically suitable conduit than standard vein grafts. Lysis of the valves allows the graft to be used in an orientation that takes advantage of the natural tapering of the vein to produce a better match with the recipient vessels at the anastomotic sites. Minimizing diameter changes at the proximal and distal anastomoses helps reduce turbulence, which has been implicated as a cause of early graft failure and thrombosis.