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Lei Zhao, Liwei Peng, Peng Wang, and Weixin Li

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Lei Zhao, Liwei Peng, Peng Wang, and Weixin Li

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Da Li, Ze-Yu Wu, Pan-Pan Liu, Jun-Peng Ma, Xu-Lei Huo, Liang Wang, Li-Wei Zhang, Zhen Wu, and Jun-Ting Zhang

OBJECTIVE

Given the paucity of data on the natural history of brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs), the authors aimed to evaluate the annual hemorrhage rate and hemorrhagic risk of brainstem CMs.

METHODS

Nine hundred seventy-nine patients diagnosed with brainstem CMs were referred to Beijing Tiantan Hospital from 2006 to 2015; 224 patients were excluded according to exclusion criteria, and 47 patients were lost to follow-up. Thus, this prospective observational cohort included 708 cases (324 females). All patients were registered, clinical data were recorded, and follow-up was completed.

RESULTS

Six hundred ninety (97.5%) of the 708 patients had a prior hemorrhage, 514 (72.6%) had hemorrhagic presentation, and developmental venous anomaly (DVA) was observed in 241 cases (34.0%). Two hundred thirty-seven prospective hemorrhages occurred in 175 patients (24.7%) during 3400.2 total patient-years, yielding a prospective annual hemorrhage rate of 7.0% (95% CI 6.2%–7.9%), which decreased to 4.7% after the 1st year. Multivariate Cox regression analysis after adjusting for sex and age identified hemorrhagic presentation (HR 1.574, p = 0.022), DVA (HR 1.678, p = 0.001), mRS score ≥ 2 on admission (HR 1.379, p = 0.044), lesion size > 1.5 cm (HR 1.458, p = 0.026), crossing the axial midpoint (HR 1.446, p = 0.029), and superficially seated location (HR 1.307, p = 0.025) as independent adverse factors for prospective hemorrhage, but history of prior hemorrhage was not significant. The annual hemorrhage rates were 8.3% and 4.3% in patients with and without hemorrhagic presentation, respectively; the rate was 9.9%, 6.0%, and 1.0% in patients with ≥ 2, only 1, and 0 prior hemorrhages, respectively; and the rate was 9.2% in patients with both hemorrhagic presentation and focal neurological deficit on admission.

CONCLUSIONS

The study reported an annual hemorrhage rate of 7.0% exclusively for brainstem CMs, which significantly increased if patients presented with both hemorrhagic presentation and focal neurological deficit (9.2%), or any other risk factor. Patients with a risk factor for hemorrhage needed close follow-up regardless of the number of prior hemorrhages. It should be noted that the referral bias in this study could have overestimated the annual hemorrhage rate. This study improved the understanding of the natural history of brainstem CMs, and the results are important for helping patients and physicians choose a suitable treatment option based on the risk factors and stratified annual rates.

Clinical trial registration no.: ChiCTR-POC-17011575 (http://www.chictr.org.cn/).

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Kai-Bing Tian, Jing-Jie Zheng, Jun-Peng Ma, Shu-Yu Hao, Liang Wang, Li-Wei Zhang, Zhen Wu, Jun-Ting Zhang, and Da Li

OBJECTIVE

The natural history of cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) has been widely studied, but the clinical course of untreated thalamic CMs is largely unknown. Hemorrhage of these lesions can be devastating. The authors undertook this study to obtain a prospective hemorrhage rate and provide a better understanding of the prognosis of untreated thalamic CMs.

METHODS

This longitudinal cohort study included patients with thalamic CMs who were diagnosed between 2000 and 2015. Clinical data were recorded, radiological studies were extensively reviewed, and follow-up evaluations were performed.

RESULTS

A total of 121 patients were included in the study (56.2% female), with a mean follow-up duration of 3.6 years. The overall annual hemorrhage rate (subsequent to the initial presentation) was calculated to be 9.7% based on the occurrence of 42 hemorrhages over 433.1 patient-years. This rate was highest in patients (n = 87) who initially presented with hemorrhage and focal neurological deficits (FNDs) (14.1%) (χ2 = 15.358, p < 0.001), followed by patients (n = 19) with hemorrhage but without FND (4.5%) and patients (n = 15) without hemorrhage regardless of symptoms (1.2%). The initial patient presentations of hemorrhage with FND (hazard ratio [HR] 2.767, 95% CI 1.336–5.731, p = 0.006) and associated developmental venous anomaly (DVA) (HR 2.510, 95% CI 1.275–4.942, p = 0.008) were identified as independent hemorrhage risk factors. The annual hemorrhage rate was significantly higher in patients with hemorrhagic pres entation at diagnosis (11.7%, p = 0.004) or DVA (15.7%, p = 0.002). Compared with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at diagnosis (mean 2.2), the final mRS score (mean 2.0) was improved in 37 patients (30.6%), stable in 59 patients (48.8%), and worse in 25 patients (20.7%). Lesion size (odds ratio [OR] per 0.1 cm increase 3.410, 95% CI 1.272–9.146, p = 0.015) and mRS score at diagnosis (OR per 1 point increase 3.548, 95% CI 1.815–6.937, p < 0.001) were independent adverse risk factors for poor neurological outcome (mRS score ≥ 2). Patients experiencing hemorrhage after the initial ictus (OR per 1 ictus increase 6.923, 95% CI 3.023–15.855, p < 0.001) had a greater chance of worsened neurological status.

CONCLUSIONS

This study verified the adverse predictors for hemorrhage and functional outcomes of thalamic CMs and demonstrated an overall annual symptomatic hemorrhage rate of 9.7% after the initial presentation. These findings and the mode of initial presentation are useful for clinicians and patients when selecting an appropriate treatment, although the tertiary referral bias of the series should be taken into account.

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Xiong Xiao, Lu Kong, Changcun Pan, Peng Zhang, Xin Chen, Tao Sun, Mingran Wang, Hui Qiao, Zhen Wu, Junting Zhang, and Liwei Zhang

OBJECTIVE

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) have the ability to noninvasively visualize changes in white matter tracts, as well as their relationships with lesions and other structures. DTI/DTT has been increasingly used to improve the safety and results of surgical treatment for lesions in eloquent areas, such as brainstem cavernous malformations. This study aimed to investigate the application value of DTI/DTT in brainstem glioma surgery and to validate the spatial accuracy of reconstructed corticospinal tracts (CSTs).

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed on 54 patients with brainstem gliomas who had undergone surgery from January 2016 to December 2018 at Beijing Tiantan Hospital. All patients underwent preoperative DTI and tumor resection with the assistance of DTT-merged neuronavigation and electrophysiological monitoring. Preoperative conventional MRI and DTI data were collected, and the muscle strength and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score before and after surgery were measured. The surgical plan was created with the assistance of DTI/DTT findings. The accuracy of DTI/DTT was validated by performing direct subcortical stimulation (DsCS) intraoperatively. Multiple linear regression was used to investigate the relationship between quantitative parameters of DTI/DTT (such as the CST score and tumor-to-CST distance [TCD]) and postoperative muscle strength and mRS scores.

RESULTS

Among the 54 patients, 6 had normal bilateral CSTs, 12 patients had unilateral CST impairments, and 36 had bilateral CSTs involved. The most common changes in the CSTs were deformation (n = 29), followed by deviation (n = 28) and interruption (n = 27). The surgical approach was changed in 18 cases (33.3%) after accounting for the DTI/DTT results. Among 55 CSTs on which DsCS was performed, 46 (83.6%) were validated as spatially accurate by DsCS. The CST score and TCD were significantly correlated with postoperative muscle strength (r = −0.395, p < 0.001, and r = 0.275, p = 0.004, respectively) and postoperative mRS score (r = 0.430, p = 0.001, and r = −0.329, p = 0.015, respectively). The CST score was independently linearly associated with postoperative muscle strength (t = −2.461, p = 0.016) and the postoperative mRS score (t = 2.052, p = 0.046).

CONCLUSIONS

DTI/DTT is a valuable tool in the surgical management of brainstem gliomas. With good accuracy, it can help optimize surgical planning, guide tumor resection, and predict the postoperative muscle strength and postoperative quality of life of patients.