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Juha Öhman and Olli Heiskanen

✓ A total of 216 patients with a ruptured aneurysm of the anterior part of the circle of Willis were enrolled into this prospective randomized study of timing of the operation after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Only patients in clinical Grades I to III (according to the classification of Hunt and Hess) who were admitted and randomly assigned to a treatment group within 72 hours after the SAH were included in the trial. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three operation groups: acute surgery (AS: 0 to 3 days after the SAH; day of SAH = Day 0), intermediate surgery (IS: 4 to 7 days after the SAH), or late surgery (LS: 8 days to an indefinite time after the SAH). Three patients (4.3%) in the IS group and six patients (8.6%) in the LS group died before surgery was undertaken. At 3 months post-SAH, 65 patients (91.5%) from the AS group were classified as independent compared to 55 (78.6%) from the IS group and 56 (80.0%) from the LS group. The management mortality rate in the AS group was 5.6% compared to 12.9% in the LS group.

Of the 216 patients enrolled in the timing study, 159 were randomly assigned to an independent double-blind placebo-controlled trial of nimodipine in Grade I to III patients. A total of 79 patients received nimodipine and 80 placebo. When the nimodipine group and the no-nimodipine group (the 80 placebo-treated patients plus the 52 patients who were not entered into the nimodipine trial) were analyzed separately, a significant difference was seen in the outcome of the no-nimodipine group (dependent AS vs. dependent IS, p = 0.01). Nimodipine treatment was associated with a significant reduction of delayed ischemic deterioration (all operation groups combined, nimodipine vs. no nimodipine p = 0.01; LS with nimodipine vs. LS with no nimodipine, p = 0.03).

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Juha Öhman and Olli Heiskanen

✓ The effect of intravenous nimodipine on the incidence of mortality and delayed ischemic neurological deficits of patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and surgery was studied in a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Upon admission, all of the patients were in Grades I to III according to the classification of Hunt and Hess. Of the 213 patients enrolled in the study, 58 underwent early surgery (within 72 hours after the bleed: Days 0 to 3), 69 were operated on subacutely (between Days 4 and 7), and 74 had late surgery (on Day 8 or later). Eleven patients died before surgery was undertaken and one was not scheduled for operation. Administration of the drug was started immediately after the radiological diagnosis of a ruptured aneurysm had been made. The dose of nimodipine or matching placebo was 0.5 µg/kg/min via continuous intravenous infusion for 7 to 10 days after the SAH and, if the patient was operated on late, for 2 to 3 days after the operation as well. After intravenous treatment, oral administration of nimodipine or placebo was continued for up to 21 days after SAH in a dose of 60 mg every 4 hours. Nimodipine treatment was associated with a significant decrease in mortality rate (p = 0.03) in the early and subacute surgery groups. In the total series the number of deaths due to delayed ischemic deterioration was significantly lower in the nimodipine group than in the placebo group (p = 0.01).

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Juha Öhman, Antti Servo and Olli Heiskanen

✓ A total of 213 patients with verified aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) of Grades I to III (Hunt and Hess classification) were enrolled in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial to determine the effect of intravenous nimodipine on delayed ischemic deterioration and computerized tomography (CT)-visualized infarcts after SAH and surgery. The administration of the drug or matching placebo was started immediately after the radiological diagnosis of a ruptured aneurysm had been made. Of the 213 patients enrolled in the study, 58 were operated on early (within 72 hours after the bleed: Days 0 to 3), 69 were operated on subacutely (between Days 4 and 7), and 74 had late surgery (on Day 8 or later). Eleven patients died before surgery was undertaken and one was not operated on. A follow-up examination with CT scanning, performed 1 to 3 years after the SAH (mean 1.4 years), revealed no significant differences in the overall outcome between the groups. However, nimodipine treatment was associated with a significantly lower incidence of deaths caused by delayed cerebral ischemia (p = 0.01) and significantly lower occurrence of cerebral infarcts visualized by CT scanning in the whole population (p = 0.05), especially in patients without an associated intracerebral hemorrhage on admission CT scan (p = 0.03).

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Juha Öhman, Antti Servo and Olli Heiskanen

✓ A prospective series of 265 patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) of Grades I to III (Hunt and Hess classification) upon admission were evaluated as to neurological outcome and computerized tomography (CT) findings 1 to 3 years (mean 1.4 years) after the SAH and surgery. A total of 73 patients underwent acute surgery (within 72 hours after the bleed: Days 0 to 3), 86 were operated on subacutely (between Days 4 and 7), and 91 had late surgery (on Day 8 or later). Fifteen patients died before surgery was undertaken and another 20 patients died during the follow-up period. A total of 104 patients received nimodipine and the rest of the patients received either placebo (109 patients) or no medication (52 patients). A logistical regression analysis revealed the following prognostic factors for cerebral infarction, in order of importance: the amount of blood on the primary CT scan; postoperative angiographic vasospasm; the timing of the operation; and a history of hypertension. The use of nimodipine was associated with a significant reduction of cerebral infarcts visualized by CT scanning in patients who received intermediate or late surgery. In patients who underwent acute surgery no significant difference between the incidence of cerebral infarcts was observed.

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Juha Öhman, Antti Servo and Olli Heiskanen

✓ A prospective series of 30 patients with a single, angiographically verified aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) was studied for the effect of intrathecal thrombolytic therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) on outcome, angiographic vasospasm, and computerized tomography (CT) findings after surgery. The patients included fulfilled the following criteria: operation was performed by Day 3 after the hemorrhage, CT showed only blood in the basal cisterns, and the patient had a single aneurysm or multiple aneurysms that could be treated surgically at the same operation. The patients were divided into groups of 10, with patients receiving 3, 10, or 13 mg of rt-PA in a single intracisternal injection at the end of the operation. There were no differences between the treatment groups in overall outcome. One patient from the 3-mg rt-PA group developed a postoperative intracerebral hemorrhage, and one patient from the 10-mg rt-PA group had a postoperative epidural hematoma. There was one death in the 13-mg rt-PA group that was caused by inclusion of a segment of pericallosal artery in the clip. In all treatment groups a reduction was observed in the amount of blood seen on the postoperative CT scans compared to the preoperative CT scans. The reduction in SAH grade between the 10-mg and 13-mg rt-PA groups was significant (p < 0.05). The difference in the severity of angiographic vasospasm between the 3-mg and 13-mg rt-PA groups was also significant (p < 0.05).

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Harri Isokuortti, Grant L. Iverson, Noah D. Silverberg, Anneli Kataja, Antti Brander, Juha Öhman and Teemu M. Luoto

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of intracranial abnormalities after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) varies widely across studies. This study describes the characteristics of intracranial abnormalities (acute/preexisting) in a large representative sample of head-injured patients who underwent CT imaging in an emergency department.

METHODS

CT scans were systematically analyzed/coded in the TBI Common Data Elements framework. Logistic regression modeling was used to quantify risk factors for traumatic intracranial abnormalities in patients with mild TBIs. This cohort included all patients who were treated at the emergency department of the Tampere University Hospital (between 2010 and 2012) and who had undergone head CT imaging after suffering a suspected TBI (n = 3023), including 2766 with mild TBI and a reference group with moderate to severe TBI.

RESULTS

The most common traumatic lesions seen on CT scans obtained in patients with mild TBIs and those with moderate to severe TBIs were subdural hematomas, subarachnoid hemorrhages, and contusions. Every sixth patient (16.1%) with mild TBI had an intracranial lesion compared with 5 of 6 patients (85.6%) in the group with moderate to severe TBI. The distribution of different types of acute traumatic lesions was similar among mild and moderate/severe TBI groups. Preexisting brain lesions were a more common CT finding among patients with mild TBIs than those with moderate to severe TBIs. Having a past traumatic lesion was associated with increased risk for an acute traumatic lesion but neurodegenerative and ischemic lesions were not. A lower Glasgow Coma Scale score, male sex, older age, falls, and chronic alcohol abuse were associated with higher risk of acute intracranial lesion in patients with mild TBI.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings underscore the heterogeneity of neuropathology associated with the mild TBI classification. Preexisting brain lesions are common in patients with mild TBI, and the incidence of preexisting lesions increases with age. Acute traumatic lesions are fairly common in patients with mild TBI; every sixth patient had a positive CT scan. Older adults (especially men) who fall represent a susceptible group for acute CT-positive TBI.

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Minna Rauhala, Teemu M. Luoto, Heini Huhtala, Grant L. Iverson, Tero Niskakangas, Juha Öhman and Pauli Helén

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine the population-based epidemiology of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) over a 26-year period.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted of all adult patients (≥ 18 years and residents of Pirkanmaa [Finland]) with a diagnosis of CSDH between 1990 and 2015. The cases were identified using ICD codes. Detailed data collection was performed using medical records and death certificates. All patients were monitored until death or the end of year 2017. The annual number of inhabitants in the Pirkanmaa region was obtained from Statistics Finland (Helsinki, Finland).

RESULTS

A total of 1168 patients with CSDH were identified from hospital records and death certificates; patients were considered as new-incidence cases if 2 years had elapsed following primary treatment and in cases involving a new contralateral CSDH. From 1990 to 2015, the overall incidence of CSDH doubled from 8.2 to 17.6/100,000/year. Among adults younger than 70 years, the incidence remained quite stable, whereas the incidence clearly increased among the ≥ 80-year-old population, from 46.9 to 129.5/100,000/year. The median age for a CSDH diagnosis increased from 73 to 79 years during the 26-year period. Head trauma was documented in 59% of cases. A ground-level fall was related to the CSDH in 31% of patients younger than 60 years and in 54% of those 80 years or older. The proportion of alcohol-related cases decreased toward the end of the study period (1990–1995: 16% and 2011–2015: 7%), because alcohol abuse was less frequent among the growing group of elderly patients. In contrast, the percentage of patients receiving anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication almost doubled toward 2015 (1990–1995, 27%; and 2011–2015, 49%). The patients’ neurological condition on admission, based on both Glasgow Coma Scale score (score < 13: 1990–1995, 18%; and 2011–2015, 7%; p < 0.001) and the modified Rankin Scale score (score 0–2: 1990–1995, 8%; and 2011–2015, 19%; p < 0.001), was better in recent years than in the early 1990s.

CONCLUSIONS

From 1990 to 2015, the incidence of CSDH has increased markedly. The incidence of CSDH among the population 80 years or older has nearly tripled since 1990. The use of anticoagulants has increased, but there has been no change regarding the ratio between a traumatic and a spontaneous CSDH etiology. As the world population becomes progressively older, the increasing incidence of CSDH will be a burden to patients and a future challenge for neurosurgical clinics.

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Pirjo Räsänen, Juha Öhman, Harri Sintonen, Olli-Pekka Ryynänen, Anna-Maija Koivisto, Marja Blom and Risto P. Roine

Object

Cost–utility analysis is currently the preferred method with which to compare the cost-effectiveness of various interventions. The authors conducted a study to establish the cost–utility results of routine neurosurgery-based spinal interventions by examining patient-derived values.

Methods

Two hundred seventy patients undergoing surgery for cervical or lumbar radicular pain filled in the 15-dimensional health-related quality of life (HRQOL) questionnaire before and 3 months after surgery. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were calculated using the utility data and the expected remaining life years of the patients. The mean HRQOL score (scale, 0–1) increased after cervical surgery (169 patients, mean age 52 years, 40% women) from 0.81 ± 0.11 preoperatively, to 0.85 ± 0.11 at 3 months, and after lumbar surgery (101 patients, mean age 54 years, 59% women) from 0.79 ± 0.10 preoperatively, to 0.85 ± 0.12 at 3 months (p < 0.001). Of the 15 dimensions of health, improvement in the following was documented in both groups: sleeping, usual activities, discomfort and symptoms, depression, distress, vitality, and sexual activity (p < 0.05). The cost per QALY gained was €2774 and 1738 for cervical and lumbar operations, respectively. In cases in which surgery was delayed the cost per QALY was doubled.

Conclusions

Spinal surgery led to a statistically significant and clinically important improvement in HRQOL. The cost per QALY gained was reasonable, less than half of that observed, for example, for hip replacement surgery or angioplasty treatment of coronary artery disease; however, a prolonged delay in surgical intervention led to an approximate doubling of the cost per QALY gained by the treatment.