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M. Reid Gooch, Greg E. Gin, Tyler J. Kenning and John W. German

Object

Decompressive craniectomy is a potentially life-saving procedure used in the treatment of medically refractory intracranial hypertension, most commonly in the setting of trauma or cerebral infarction. Once performed, surviving patients are obligated to undergo a second procedure for cranial reconstruction. The complications following cranial reconstruction are not well described in the literature and may very well be underreported. A review of the complications would suggest measures to improve the care of these patients.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was undertaken of all patients who had undergone cranioplasty during a 7-year period. Demographic data, indications for craniectomy, as well as preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative parameters following cranioplasty, were recorded. Perioperative and postoperative complications were also recorded. Patients were classified as having no complications, any complications, and complications requiring reoperation. The groups were compared to identify risk factors predictive of poor outcomes.

Results

The authors identified 62 patients who had undergone cranioplasty. The immediate postoperative complication rate was 34%. Of these, 46 patients did not require reoperation and 16 did. Of those requiring reoperation, 7 were due to infection, 2 from wound breakdown, 2 from intracranial hemorrhage, 3 from bone resorption, and 1 from a sunken cranioplasty, and 1 patient's cranioplasty procedure was prematurely ended due to intraoperative hypotension and bradycardia. The only factor statistically associated with need for reoperation was the presence of a bifrontal cranial defect (bifrontal: 8 [67%] of 12, requiring reoperation; unilateral: 8 [16%] of 49 requiring reoperation; p < 0.01)

Conclusions

Cranioplasty following decompressive craniectomy is associated with a high complication rate. Patients undergoing a bifrontal craniectomy are at significantly increased risk for postcranioplasty complications, including the need for reoperation.

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Benjamin Yim, M. Reid Gooch, John C. Dalfino, Matthew A. Adamo and Tyler J. Kenning

OBJECTIVE

Cerebrospinal fluid shunting can effectively lower intracranial pressure and improve the symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Placement of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts in this patient population can often be difficult due to the small size of the ventricular system. Intraoperative adjuvant techniques can be used to improve the accuracy and safety of VP shunts for these patients. The purpose of this study was to analyze the efficacy of some of these techniques, including the use of intraoperative CT (iCT) and frameless stereotaxy, in optimizing postoperative ventricular catheter placement.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 49 patients undergoing initial ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement for the treatment of IIH. The use of the NeuroPEN Neuroendoscope, intraoperative neuronavigation, and iCT was examined. To analyze ventricular catheter placement on postoperative CT imaging, the authors developed a new grading system: Grade 1, catheter tip terminates optimally in the ipsilateral frontal horn or third ventricle; Grade 2, catheter tip terminates in the contralateral frontal horn; Grade 3, catheter terminates in a nontarget CSF space; and Grade 4, catheter tip terminates in brain parenchyma. All shunts had spontaneous CSF flow upon completion of the procedure.

RESULTS

The average body mass index among all patients was 37.6 ± 10.9 kg/m2. The NeuroPEN Neuroendoscope was used in 44 of 49 patients. Intraoperative CT scans were obtained in 24 patients, and neuronavigation was used in 32 patients. Grade 1 or 2 final postoperative shunt placement was achieved in 90% of patients (44 of 49). In terms of achieving optimal postoperative ventricular catheter placement, the use of iCT was as effective as neuronavigation. Two patients had their ventricular catheter placement modified based on an iCT study. The use of neuronavigation significantly increased time in the operating room (223.4 ± 46.5 vs 190.8 ± 31.7 minutes, p = 0.01). There were no shunt infections in this study.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of iCT appears to be equivalent to the use of neuronavigation in optimizing ventricular shunt placement in IIH. Additionally, it may shorten operating room time and limit overall costs.

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Tyler J. Kenning, M. Reid Gooch, Ravi H. Gandhi, M. Parvez Shaikh, Alan S. Boulos and John W. German

Object

Recent randomized trials have demonstrated a positive role (improved survival) in patients treated with cranial decompression for malignant cerebral infarction. However, many variables regarding operative decompression in this setting remain to be determined. Hinge craniotomy is an alternative to decompressive craniectomy, but its role in space-occupying cerebral infarctions has not been delineated. The objective of this study was to compare the authors' experiences with these 2 procedures in the management of space-occupying cerebral infarctions to determine the efficacy of each.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 28 cases involving patients who underwent cranial decompression (hinge craniotomy in 9 cases, decompressive craniectomy in 19) for treatment of malignant intracranial hypertension after ischemic cerebral infarction.

Results

No significant differences were identified in baseline demographics, neurological examination, or Rotterdam score between the hinge craniotomy and decompressive craniectomy groups. Both treatments resulted in adequate control of intracranial pressure (ICP). The need for reoperation for persistent intracranial hypertension and duration of mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit stay were similar. Hospital survival was significantly higher in the decompressive craniectomy group (89% vs 56%), whereas long-term functional outcome was better in the hinge craniotomy group. Cranial defect size was comparable in the 2 groups. Postoperative imaging revealed a higher rate of subarachnoid hemorrhage, contusion/hematoma progression, and subdural effusions/hygromas after decompressive craniectomy. The requirement for cranial revision in survivors was higher for patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy (100%) than those undergoing hinge craniotomy (20%).

Conclusions

Hinge craniotomy appears to be at least as good as decompressive craniectomy in providing postoperative ICP control at a similar therapeutic index. Although the in-hospital mortality was higher in patients treated with hinge craniotomy, that procedure resulted in superior long-term functional outcomes and may help limit postoperative complications.

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Carrie E. Andrews, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Evan M. Fitchett, Fadi Al Saiegh, Michael J. Lang, Victor M. Romo, Nabeel Herial, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser and M. Reid Gooch

OBJECTIVE

Mechanical thrombectomy (MT) is now the standard of care for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) secondary to large-vessel occlusion, but there remains a question of whether elderly patients benefit from this procedure to the same degree as the younger populations enrolled in the seminal trials on MT. The authors compared outcomes after MT of patients 80–89 and ≥ 90 years old with AIS to those of younger patients.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed records of patients undergoing MT at their institution to examine stroke severity, comorbid conditions, medical management, recanalization results, and clinical outcomes. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis were used to compare patients < 80 years, 80–89 years, and ≥ 90 years old.

RESULTS

All groups had similar rates of comorbid disease and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administration, and stroke severity did not differ significantly between groups. Elderly patients had equivalent recanalization outcomes, with similar rates of readmission, 30-day mortality, and hospital-associated complications. These patients were more likely to have poor clinical outcome on discharge, as defined by a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of 3–6, but this difference was not significant when controlled for stroke severity, tPA administration, and recanalization results.

CONCLUSIONS

Octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians with AIS have similar rates of mortality, hospital readmission, and hospital-associated complications as younger patients after MT. Elderly patients also have the capacity to achieve good functional outcome after MT, but this potential is moderated by stroke severity and success of treatment.

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Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Breanna Valcarcel, Carrie E. Andrews, Evan Fitchett, David Nauheim, David Moskal, Nabeel Herial, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, Ashwini D. Sharan, Robert H. Rosenwasser and M. Reid Gooch

OBJECTIVE

The 30-day readmission rate is of increasing interest to hospital administrators and physicians, as it is used to evaluate hospital performance and is associated with increased healthcare expenditures. The estimated yearly cost to Medicare of readmissions is $17.4 billion. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services therefore track unplanned 30-day readmissions and institute penalties against hospitals whose readmission rates exceed disease-specific national standards. One of the most important conditions with potential for improvement in cost-effective care is ischemic stroke, which affects 795,000 people in the United States and is a leading cause of death and disability. Recent widespread adoption of mechanical thrombectomy has revolutionized stroke care, requiring reassessment of readmission causes and costs in this population.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed a prospectively maintained database of stroke patients and identified 561 patients who underwent mechanical thrombectomy between 2010 and 2019 at the authors’ institution. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify clinical variables and comorbidities related to 30-day readmissions in this patient population.

RESULTS

Of the 561 patients, 85.6% (n = 480) survived their admission and were discharged from the hospital to home or rehabilitation, and 8.8% (n = 42/480) were readmitted within 30 days. The mean time to readmission was 10.9 ± 7.9 days postdischarge. The most common reasons for readmission were infection (33.3%) and acute cardiac or cerebrovascular events (19% and 20%, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that hypertension (p = 0.030; OR 2.72) and length of initial hospital stay (p = 0.040; OR 1.032) were significantly correlated with readmission within 30 days, while hemorrhagic conversion (grades 3 and 4) approached significance (p = 0.053; OR 2.23). Other factors, such as unfavorable outcome at discharge, history of coronary artery disease, and discharge destination, did not predict readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

The study data demonstrate that hypertension, length of hospital stay, and hemorrhagic conversion were predictors of 30-day hospital readmission in stroke patients after mechanical thrombectomy. Infection was the most common cause of 30-day readmission, followed by cardiac and cerebrovascular diagnoses. These results therefore may serve to identify patients within the stroke population who require increased surveillance following discharge to reduce complications and unplanned readmissions.

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Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Evan Fitchett, Carrie E. Andrews, Michael J. Lang, Ritam Ghosh, Richard F. Schmidt, Nohra Chalouhi, Guilherme Barros, Hekmat Zarzour, Victor Romo, Nabeel Herial, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser and M. Reid Gooch

OBJECTIVE

The advent of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) has become an effective option for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in addition to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). With recent advances in device technology, MT has significantly altered the hospital course and functional outcomes of stroke patients. The authors’ goal was to establish the most up-to-date reperfusion and functional outcomes with the evolution of MT technology.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 403 patients who underwent MT for ischemic stroke at their institution from 2010 to 2017. They collected data on patient comorbidities, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score on arrival, tPA administration, revascularization outcomes, and functional outcomes on discharge.

RESULTS

In 403 patients, the mean NIHSS score on presentation was 15.8 ± 6.6, with 195 (48.0%) of patients receiving tPA prior to MT. Successful reperfusion (thrombolysis in cerebral infarction score 2B or 3) was achieved in 84.4%. Hemorrhagic conversion with significant mass effect was noted in 9.9% of patients. The median lengths of ICU and hospital stay were 3.0 and 7.0 days, respectively. Functional independence (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) was noted in 125 (31.0%) patients, while inpatient mortality occurred in 43 (10.7%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

As MT has established acute ischemic stroke as a neurosurgical disease, there is a pressing need to understand the hospital course, hospital- and procedure-related complications, and outcomes for this new patient population. The authors provide a detailed account of key metrics for MT with the latest device technology and identify the predictors of unfavorable outcomes and inpatient mortality.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Adam E. Flanders, Robert M. Starke, Michael P. Baldassari, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Michael Reid Gooch, Syed Omar Shah, David Hasan, Nabeel Herial, Robin D’Ambrosio, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

MRI and MRA studies are routinely obtained to identify the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA in the setting of an acute ICH, however, remains unclear. The authors’ goal was to determine the utility of early MRI/MRA in detecting underlying structural lesions in ICH and to identify patients in whom additional imaging during hospitalization could safely be foregone.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data obtained in 400 patients with spontaneous ICH diagnosed on noncontrast head CT scans who underwent MRI/MRA between 2015 and 2017 at their institution. MRI/MRA studies were reviewed to identify underlying lesions, such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, tumors, sinus thrombosis, moyamoya disease, and abscesses.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 65 ± 15.8 years. Hypertension was the most common (72%) comorbidity. Structural abnormalities were detected on MRI/MRA in 12.5% of patients. Structural lesions were seen in 5.7% of patients with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH, 14.1% of those with lobar ICH, 20.4% of those with cerebellar ICH, and 27.8% of those with brainstem ICH. Notably, the diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA was 0% in patients > 65 years with a basal ganglia/thalamic hemorrhage and 0% in those > 85 years with any ICH location, whereas it was 37% in patients < 50 years and 23% in those < 65 years. Multivariate analysis showed that decreasing age, absence of hypertension, and non–basal ganglia/thalamic location were predictors of finding an underlying lesion.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of MRI/MRA in ICH is highly variable, depending on patient age and hemorrhage location. The findings of this study do not support obtaining early MRI/MRA studies in patients ≥ 65 years with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH or in any ICH patients ≥ 85 years. In all other situations, early MRI/MRA remains valuable in ruling out underlying lesions.

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Ahmad Sweid, Joshua H. Weinberg, Rawad Abbas, Kareem El Naamani, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Christine Wamsley, Erica J. Mann, Christopher Neely, Jeffery Head, David Nauheim, Julie Hauge, M. Reid Gooch, Nabeel Herial, Hekmat Zarzour, Tyler D. Alexander, Symeon Missios, David Hasan, Nohra Chalouhi, James Harrop, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

External ventricular drain (EVD) placement is a common neurosurgical procedure. While this procedure is simple and effective, infection is a major limiting factor. Factors predictive of infection reported in the literature are not conclusive. The aim of this retrospective, single-center large series was to assess the rate and independent predictors of ventriculostomy-associated infection (VAI).

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of consecutive patients who underwent EVD placement between January 2012 and January 2018.

RESULTS

A total of 389 patients were included in the study. The infection rate was 3.1% (n = 12). Variables that were significantly associated with VAI were EVD replacement (OR 10, p = 0.001), bilateral EVDs (OR 9.2, p = 0.009), duration of EVD placement (OR 1.1, p = 0.011), increased CSF output/day (OR 1.0, p = 0.001), CSF leak (OR 12.9, p = 0.001), and increased length of hospital stay (OR 1.1, p = 0.002). Using multivariate logistic regression, independent predictors of VAI were female sex (OR 7.1, 95% CI 1.1–47.4; p = 0.043), EVD replacement (OR 8.5, 95% CI 1.44–50.72; p = 0.027), increased CSF output/day (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.0–1.02; p = 0.023), and CSF leak (OR 15.1, 95% CI 2.6–87.1; p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS

The rate of VAI was 3.1%. Routine CSF collection (every other day or every 3 days) and CSF collection when needed were not associated with VAI. The authors recommend CSF collection when clinically needed rather than routinely.