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Katrin Rabiei, Per Hellström, Mats Högfeldt-Johansson and Magnus Tisell

OBJECTIVE

Subjective improvement of patients who have undergone surgery for intracranial arachnoid cysts has justified surgical treatment. The current study aimed to evaluate the outcome of surgical treatment for arachnoid cysts using standardized interviews and assessments of neuropsychological function and balance. The relationship between arachnoid cyst location, postoperative improvement, and arachnoid cyst volume was also examined.

METHODS

The authors performed a prospective, population-based study. One hundred nine patients underwent neurological, neuropsychological, and physiotherapeutic examinations. The arachnoid cysts were considered symptomatic in 75 patients, 53 of whom agreed to undergo surgery. In 32 patients, results of the differential diagnosis revealed that the symptoms were due to a different underlying condition and were unrelated to an arachnoid cyst. Neuropsychological testing included target reaction time, Grooved Pegboard, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning, Rey Osterrieth complex figure, and Stroop tests. Balance tests included the extended Falls Efficacy Scale, Romberg, and sharpened Romberg with open and closed eyes. The tests were repeated 5 months postoperatively. Cyst volume was pre- and postoperatively measured using OsiriX software.

RESULTS

Patients who underwent surgery did not have results on balance and neuropsychological tests that were different from patients who declined or had symptoms unrelated to the arachnoid cyst. Patients with a temporal arachnoid cyst performed within the normal range on the neuropsychological tests. Seventy-seven percent of the patients who underwent surgery reported improvement, yet there were no differences in test results before and after surgery. Arachnoid cysts in the temporal region and posterior fossa did not influence the preoperative results of neuropsychological and motor tests. The arachnoid cyst volume decreased postoperatively (p < 0.0001), but there was no relationship between volume reduction and clinical improvement.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study speak against objectively verifiable improvement following surgical treatment in adults with intracranial arachnoid cysts.

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Daniel Nilsson, Johanna Svensson, Betül A. Korkmaz, Helena Nelvig and Magnus Tisell

Object

In this study, the authors' goal was to compare head circumference in hydrocephalic children during the first 4 years of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt treatment with data on healthy children and to investigate predictors of skull growth in children with a VP shunt.

Methods

Children from western Sweden treated for hydrocephalus with an initial VP shunt insertion performed between 2001 and 2006 who were younger than 12 months of age at the time of surgery were included. Children with major brain malformations, craniofacial syndromes, large cysts, and tumors were excluded. Head circumference, weight, and height at 9 defined ages up to 4 years were obtained and compared with data from a reference population of 3650 healthy children using the standard deviation score (SDS). Predictors (length, weight, etiology of hydrocephalus, valve type, number of revisions, valve setting, number of adjustments, and time of first surgery) for head circumference SDS and changes in head circumference SDS from shunt insertion at 1 year to last measurement were analyzed using bivariate and multiple linear regression analysis.

Results

Fifty children were included. The mean SDSs for head circumference in shunt-treated compared with healthy children were 1.95 ± 2.50 at shunt insertion (p < 0.001, n = 44), 0.38 ± 1.97 at 1 year (p = 0.27, n = 33), −0.96 ± 2.05 at 2 years (p = 0.046, n = 21), −1.39 ± 2.25 at 3 years (p = 0.026, n = 16), and 0.63 ± 3.34 at 4 years (p = 0.73, n = 4). Significant predictors for low head circumference SDS at 1 year of age were low weight (p = 0.002) and short height (p = 0.022) and at last measurement low weight (p < 0.0001), short height (p = 0.002), and 1–4 shunt revisions (p = 0.034). A significant predictor for change in head circumference SDS from shunt insertion to 1 year of age was the number of shunt valve revisions (p = 0.04) and at last measurement an etiology of intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.0058).

Conclusions

Shunt-treated children have smaller head circumferences at 2 and 3 years of age than healthy children. Low weight, short height, etiology of intraventricular hemorrhage, and frequent shunt valve revisions are predictors for decreased head circumference. Prospective, randomized studies comparing skull growth using fixed and adjustable pressure-regulated shunt valves and flow-regulated valves are needed.

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Terje Sæhle, Dan Farahmand, Per Kristian Eide, Magnus Tisell and Carsten Wikkelsö

Object

This study was undertaken to investigate whether a gradual reduction of the valve setting (opening pressure) decreases the complication rate in patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) treated with a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt.

Methods

In this prospective double-blinded, randomized, controlled, dual-center study, a VP shunt with an adjustable valve was implanted in 68 patients with iNPH, randomized into two groups. In one group (the 20–4 group) the valve setting was initially set to 20 cm H2O and gradually reduced to 4 cm H2O over the course of the 6-month study period. In the other group (the 12 group), the valve was kept at a medium pressure setting of 12 cm H2O during the whole study period. The time to and type of complications (hematoma, infection, and mechanical problems) as well as overdrainage symptoms were recorded. Symptoms, signs, and outcome were assessed by means of the iNPH scale and the NPH grading scale.

Results

Six patients in the 20–4 group (22%) and 7 patients in the 12 group (23%) experienced a shunt complication; 9 had subdural hematomas, 3 mechanical obstructions, and 1 infection (no significant difference between groups). The frequency of overdrainage symptoms was significantly higher for a valve setting ≤ 12 cm H2O compared with a setting > 12 cm H2O. The 20–4 group had a higher improvement rate (88%) than the 12 group (62%) (p = 0.032). There was no significant relationship between complications and body mass index, the use of an antisiphon device, or the use of anticoagulants.

Conclusions

Gradual lowering of the valve setting to a mean of 7 cm H2O led to the same rate of shunt complications and overdrainage symptoms as a fixed valve setting at a mean of 13 cm H2O but was associated with a significantly better outcome.

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Dan Farahmand, Terje Sæhle, Per Kristian Eide, Magnus Tisell, Per Hellström and Carsten Wikkelsö

OBJECT

The study aim was to examine the effect of gradually reducing the opening pressure on symptoms and signs in the shunt treatment of idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).

METHODS

In this prospective double-blinded, randomized, controlled, double-center study on patients with iNPH, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt with an adjustable Codman Medos Valve was implanted in 68 patients randomized into 2 groups. In 1 group (the 20–4 group) the valve setting was initially set to 20 cm H2O and gradually reduced to 4 cm H2O over the course of the 6-month study period. In the other group (the 12 group), the valve was kept at a medium level of 12 cm H2O during the whole study period. All patients were clinically evaluated using 4 tests preoperatively as well as postoperatively at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 months. The test scores between the 2 groups (20–4 and 12) were compared for each clinical evaluation.

RESULTS

Fifty-five patients (81%) were able to complete the study. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups (20–4 and 12) preoperatively or at any time postoperatively. Both groups exhibited significant clinical improvement after shunt insertion at all valve settings compared with the preoperative score, with the greatest improvement observed at the first postoperative evaluation. The clinical improvement was significant within the first 3 months, and thereafter no significant improvement was seen in either group.

CONCLUSIONS

Gradual reduction of the valve setting from 20 to 4 cm H2O did not improve outcome compared with a fixed valve setting of 12 cm H2O. Improvement after shunt surgery in iNPH patients was evident within 3 months, irrespective of valve setting.

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Magnus Tisell, Mats Tullberg, Per Hellström, Mikael Edsbagge, Mats Högfeldt and Carsten Wikkelsö

Object

Patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) often present with impaired gait and cognition together with ventricular enlargement and normal intracranial pressure. Many have vascular risk factors as well as periventricular and deep white matter changes on MR imaging. Abnormal CSF dynamics, that is, high resistance to outflow or improvement after CSF drainage, indicate good effects of shunt surgery.

The authors examined whether the worst-case iNPH patients with extensive vascular white matter disease and normal CSF dynamics would benefit from shunt surgery. These patients also fulfilled the criteria for Binswanger disease. Therefore, a randomized controlled double-blind study was performed.

Methods

Fourteen consecutive patients fulfilling the above criteria were randomized to receive either open or closed shunts. At 3 months after surgery, the patients with initially ligated shunts had their shunts opened. Clinical evaluation consisting of 7 quantitative psychometric and 6 continuous gait tests was performed preoperatively and 3 and 6 months after surgery.

Results

Patients randomized to receive open shunts had improved motor (30% increase) and psychometric (23% increase) scores 3 months after shunt placement. There were no significant changes between the 3- and 6-month follow-up in these same patients. Conversely, those with initially ligated shunts were unchanged during the first 3-month period, although they improved in both motor (28%) and cognitive (18%) functions following removal of the ligature.

Conclusions

Patients with enlarged ventricles, hydrocephalic symptoms, and extensive vascular white matter changes benefit from shunt surgery.