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Manfred Westphal and Ulrich Grzyska

Object. The diminishing threshold for the application of neuroimaging leads to an increasingly frequent diagnosis of previously asymptomatic arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). In such a context, it is warranted to define the criteria that make a lesion potentially hazardous so that neurosurgeons and patients reach a decision concerning how to manage the AVM. In addition to the proposed grading system for AVMs, which assesses the risk of an actual treatment procedure, several studies have been concerned with the evaluation of angioarchitectural features. The goal of the present study is to demonstrate the significance of feeding vessel pedicle aneurysms, especially those found in infratentorial AVMs.

Methods. To determine the incidence of associated aneurysms, the authors reviewed an unselected cohort of 242 consecutive patients with AVMs managed between 1989 and 1999. Within this group were 240 patients who were treated by surgery, endovascular techniques, or a combination of both. Of these patients, 216 harbored a supratentorial and 24 an infratentorial AVM. Two additional patients with supratentorial AVMs underwent treatment of ruptured aneurysms without treatment of the AVMs. In six of the patients with supratentorial AVMs, proximal flow-related aneurysms were found on major feeding arteries, only one of which had caused hemorrhage. In only one patient were there additional distal feeding vessel pedicle aneurysms near the AVM, one of which had caused a major hemorrhage. In contrast, four of 24 patients with infratentorial AVMs had distal feeding artery pedicle aneurysms. Three of these aneurysms had caused hemorrhage.

Conclusions. Pedicle aneurysms on feeding vessels are frequently associated with hemorrhage (four of five cases in this series). In our cohort of 242 treated patients (240 treated for AVM and two for an aneurysm), feeding vessel pedicle aneurysms appear to occur more frequently in conjunction with infratentorial AVMs, which justifies aggressive management to prevent incidences of morbidity associated with rupture of the aneurysm.

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Sebastian Payer, Klaus Christian Mende, Med Pract, Manfred Westphal and Sven O. Eicker

OBJECT

Intramedullary spinal cord metastases (ISCM) represent a small proportion of intramedullary tumors. However, with the lifespans of patients with malignant tumors increasing, incidents of ISCM are on the rise. Due to threateningly severe disabilities in patients, accompanied by limited life expectancy, every attempt should be made to treat these tumors the same way as metastases elsewhere in the CNS, with the goal of complete removal of the ISCM and preservation of neurological functions. The object of this study is to retrospectively analyze the experiences of 22 patients who were surgically treated for ISCM over a 22-year period.

METHODS

Hospital charts of 22 patients, who were surgically treated for ISCM between 1992 and 2014, were reviewed retrospectively. Demographic data, histopathological diagnoses of primary cancer, chronological sequence of the disease, and neurological status using the simplified McCormick functional classification were collected and reanalyzed.

RESULTS

The most frequent histology was metastasis of lung cancer, followed by brain and breast cancers. The time span from primary cancer diagnosis to the development of symptomatic spinal metastases ranged from 0 to 285 months, with a mean interval of 38 months. The leading presenting sign was dysesthesia (77% of the population), followed by paresis (68%). Only 5 patients (23%) showed urinary retention. Initial performance status represented by the McCormick Scale was on average 2.47. Total or near-total removal was achieved in 87% of cases. Compared with the clinical status 1−2 days after surgery, there was an improvement in the McCormick Scale grade at the last follow-up from 2.47 to 2.12 (p = 0.009). Likewise, an improvement was detected when comparing the preoperative status with the last follow-up (from 2.45 to 2.12; p = 0.029). The mean survival time after surgery was 11.6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that surgery for intramedullary metastases—with all of the challenges of a rare and potentially risky procedure—can be beneficial to patients with advanced stages of cancer. Surgery can be performed with minimal new morbidity and results in maintaining neurological performance status.

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Tammam Abboud, Cindy Schwarz, Manfred Westphal and Tobias Martens

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare sensitivity and specificity between the novel threshold and amplitude criteria for motor evoked potentials (MEPs) monitoring after transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) during surgery for supratentorial lesions in the same patient cohort.

METHODS

One hundred twenty-six patients were included. All procedures were performed under general anesthesia. Craniotomies did not expose motor cortex, so that direct mapping was less suitable. After TES, MEPs were recorded bilaterally from abductor pollicis brevis (APB), from orbicularis oris (OO), and/or from tibialis anterior (TA). The percentage increase in the threshold level was assessed and considered significant if it exceeded by more than 20% on the affected side the percentage increase on the unaffected side. Amplitude on the affected side was measured with a stimulus intensity of 150% of the threshold level set for each muscle.

RESULTS

Eighteen of 126 patients showed a significant change in the threshold level as well as an amplitude reduction of more than 50% in MEPs recorded from APB, and 15 of the patients had postoperative deterioration of motor function of the arm (temporary in 8 cases and permanent in 7 [true-positive and false-negative results]). Recording from TA was performed in 66 patients; 4 developed postoperative deterioration of motor function of the leg (temporary in 3 cases and permanent in 1), and showed a significant change in the threshold level, and an amplitude reduction of more than 50% occurred in 1 patient. An amplitude reduction of more than 50% occurred in another 10 patients, without a significant change in the threshold level or postoperative deterioration. Recording from OO was performed in 61 patients; 3 developed postoperative deterioration of motor function of facial muscles (temporary in 2 cases and permanent in 1) and had a significant change in the threshold level, and 2 of the patients had an amplitude reduction of more than 50%. Another 6 patients had an amplitude reduction of more than 50% but no significant change in the threshold level or postoperative deterioration.

Sensitivity of the threshold criterion was 100% when MEPs were recorded from APB, OO, or TA, and its specificity was 97%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. Sensitivity of the amplitude criterion was 100%, 67%, and 25%, with a specificity of 97%, 90%, and 84%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The threshold criterion was comparable to the amplitude criterion with a stimulus intensity set at 150% of the threshold level regarding sensitivity and specificity when recording MEPs from APB, and superior to it when recording from TA or OO.

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Howard Colman, Manfred Westphal and John H. Sampson

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Klaus C. Mende, Theresa Krätzig, Malte Mohme, Manfred Westphal and Sven O. Eicker

OBJECTIVE

Spinal tumors account for 2%–4% of all tumors of the central nervous system and can be intramedullary, intradural extramedullary, or extradural. In the past, wide approaches were used to obtain safe access to these tumors, as complete resection is the goal in treating most tumor entities. To reduce surgical complications due to large skin incisions and destabilizing laminectomies, minimally invasive approaches were established. In this study, the authors share their experience with mini-open approaches to intradural tumor pathologies.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed cases involving patients with intramedullary and intradural extramedullary lesions treated between 2009 and 2016. They present their surgical mini-open approach to the spinal cord as well as unique characteristics, key steps, and postsurgical complications for specific tumor subgroups (meningioma, neuroma, and intramedullary tumors).

RESULTS

A total of 245 intradural tumors were surgically treated during the study period. Of these lesions, 151 were intradural extramedullary meningiomas (n = 79) or neuromas (n = 72). Nine (12.5%) of the neuromas were dumbbell neuromas. Ninety-four tumors were intramedullary. The mean age of the patients was 51.4 years, and 53.9% were female. The mean duration of follow-up was 46.0 months.

All meningiomas and neuromas could be resected using a mini-open keyhole approach, but only 5.3% of the intramedullary lesions could be accessed using this technique. Of the 94 patients with intramedullary tumors, 76.6% required a laminotomy, 7.4% required a hemilaminectomy, and 10.6% required a 2-level laminectomy. Only 2 of the patients with intramedullary tumors needed stabilization for progressive cervical kyphosis during follow-up. None of the other patients developed spinal instability after undergoing surgery via the mini-open (keyhole/interlaminar) approach. There were significantly more surgery-associated complications in the large exposure group than in the patients treated with the mini-open approach (19.1% vs 9.6%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Intradural extramedullary and in selected cases intramedullary pathologies may safely be resected using a mini-open interlaminar approach. Avoiding laminectomy, laminotomy, and even hemilaminectomy preserves spinal stability and significantly reduces comorbidities, while still allowing for complete resection of these tumors.

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Thomas Sauvigny, Jennifer Göttsche, Patrick Czorlich, Eik Vettorazzi, Manfred Westphal and Jan Regelsberger

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is an established part of treatment in patients suffering from malignant infarction of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) or traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, no clear evidence for intracranial pressure (ICP)-guided therapy after DC exists. The lack of this evidence might be due to the frequently used, but simplified threshold for ICP of 20 mm Hg, which determines further therapy. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate this threshold's accuracy and to investigate the course of ICP values with respect to neurological outcome.

METHODS

Data on clinical characteristics and parameters of the ICP course on the intensive care unit were collected retrospectively in 102 patients who underwent DC between December 2007 and April 2014 at the authors' institution. The postoperative ICP course in the first 168 hours was recorded and analyzed. From these findings, ICP thresholds discriminating favorable from unfavorable outcome were calculated using conditional inference tree analysis. Additionally, survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Prognostic factors were assessed via univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression. Favorable outcome was defined as a score of 0–4 on the modified Rankin Scale.

RESULTS

Multivariate logistic regression revealed that anisocoria, diagnosis, and ICP values differed significantly between the outcome groups. ICP values in the favorable and unfavorable outcome groups differed significantly (p < 0.001), while the mean ICP of both groups lay below the limit of 20 mm Hg (17.5 and 11.5 mm Hg, respectively). These findings were reproduced when analyzing the underlying pathologies of TBI and MCA infarction separately. Based on these findings, optimized time-dependent threshold values were calculated and found to be between 10 and 17 mm Hg. These values significantly distinguished favorable from unfavorable outcome and predicted 30-day mortality (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study systematically evaluated ICP levels in a long-term analysis after DC and provides new, surprisingly low, time-dependent ICP thresholds for these patients. Future trials investigating the benefit of ICP-guided therapy should take these thresholds into consideration and validate them in further patient cohorts.

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Till Burkhardt, Daniel Lüdecke, Lothar Spies, Linus Wittmann, Manfred Westphal and Jörg Flitsch

OBJECT

Cushing’s disease (CD) may cause atrophy of different regions of the human brain, mostly affecting the hippocampus and the cerebellum. This study evaluates the use of 3-T MRI of newly diagnosed patients with CD to detect atrophic degeneration with voxel-based volumetry.

METHODS

Subjects with newly diagnosed, untreated CD were included and underwent 3-T MRI. Images were analyzed using a voxelwise statistical test to detect reduction of brain parenchyma. In addition, an atlas-based volumetric study for regions likely to be affected by CD was performed.

RESULTS

Nineteen patients with a mean disease duration of 24 months were included. Tumor markers included adre-nocorticotropic hormone (median 17.5 pmol/L), cortisol (949.4 nmol/L), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (5.4 μmol/L). The following values are expressed as the mean ± SD. The voxelwise statistical test revealed clusters of significantly reduced gray matter in the hippocampus and cerebellum, with volumes of 2.90 ± 0.26 ml (right hippocampus), 2.89 ± 0.28 ml (left hippocampus), 41.95 ± 4.67 ml (right cerebellar hemisphere), and 42.11 ± 4.59 ml (left cerebellar hemisphere). Healthy control volunteers showed volumes of 3.22 ± 0.25 ml for the right hippocampus, 3.23 ± 0.25 ml for the left hippocampus, 50.87 ± 4.23 ml for the right cerebellar hemisphere, and 50.42 ± 3.97 ml for the left cerebellar hemisphere.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with untreated CD show significant reduction of gray matter in the cerebellum and hippocampus. These changes can be analyzed and objectified with the quantitative voxel-based method described in this study.

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Tammam Abboud, Miriam Schaper, Lasse Dührsen, Cindy Schwarz, Nils Ole Schmidt, Manfred Westphal and Tobias Martens

OBJECTIVE

Warning criteria for monitoring of motor evoked potentials (MEP) after direct cortical stimulation during surgery for supratentorial tumors have been well described. However, little is known about the value of MEP after transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) in predicting postoperative motor deficit when monitoring threshold level. The authors aimed to evaluate the feasibility and value of this method in glioma surgery by using a new approach for interpreting changes in threshold level involving contra- and ipsilateral MEP.

METHODS

Between November 2013 and December 2014, 93 patients underwent TES-MEP monitoring during resection of gliomas located close to central motor pathways but not involving the primary motor cortex. The MEP were elicited by transcranial repetitive anodal train stimulation. Bilateral MEP were continuously evaluated to assess percentage increase of threshold level (minimum voltage needed to evoke a stable motor response from each of the muscles being monitored) from the baseline set before dural opening. An increase in threshold level on the contralateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles contralateral to the affected hemisphere) of more than 20% beyond the percentage increase on the ipsilateral side (facial, arm, or leg muscles ipsilateral to the affected hemisphere) was considered a significant alteration. Recorded alterations were subsequently correlated with postoperative neurological deterioration and MRI findings.

RESULTS

TES-MEP could be elicited in all patients, including those with recurrent glioma (31 patients) and preoperative paresis (20 patients). Five of 73 patients without preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed new paresis postoperatively (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 1 patient). Eight of 20 patients with preoperative paresis showed a significant increase in threshold level, and all of them developed postoperative neurological deterioration (transient in 4 patients and permanent in 4 patients). In 80 patients no significant change in threshold level was detected, and none of them showed postoperative neurological deterioration. The specificity and sensitivity in this series were estimated at 100%. Postoperative MRI revealed gross-total tumor resection in 56 of 82 patients (68%) in whom complete tumor resection was attainable; territorial ischemia was detected in 4 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The novel threshold criterion has made TES-MEP a useful method for predicting postoperative motor deficit in patients who undergo glioma surgery, and has been feasible in patients with preoperative paresis as well as in patients with recurrent glioma. Including contra- and ipsilateral changes in threshold level has led to a high sensitivity and specificity.

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Malte Mohme, Friederike S. Fritzsche, Klaus C. Mende, Jakob Matschke, Ulrike Löbel, Gertrud Kammler, Manfred Westphal, Pedram Emami and Tobias Martens

OBJECTIVE

Tectal gliomas constitute a rare and inhomogeneous group of lesions with an uncertain clinical course. Because these supposedly benign tumors are frequently followed up by observation over many years, the authors undertook this analysis of their own case series in an effort to demonstrate that the clinical course is highly variable and that there is a potential for a progressive biology.

METHODS

Clinical data analysis of 23 cases of tectal glioma (involving 9 children and 14 adults) was performed retrospectively. Radiographic data were analyzed longitudinally and MR images were evaluated for tumor volume, contrast enhancement, and growth progression. Quality of life was assessed using the EORTC BN20 and C30 questionnaires during follow-up in a subgroup of patients.

RESULTS

The patients’ mean age at diagnosis was 29.2 years. The main presenting symptom at diagnosis was hydrocephalus (80%). Six patients were treated by primary tumor resection (26.1%), 3 patients underwent biopsy followed by resection (13.1%), and 3 patients underwent biopsy only (13.1%). For additional treatment of hydrocephalus, 14 patients (60.9%) received shunts and/or endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Radiographic tumor progression was observed in 47.9% of the 23 cases. The mean time between diagnosis and growth progression was 51.5 months, and the mean time to contrast enhancement was 69.7 months. Histopathological analysis was obtained in 12 cases (52.2%), resulting in 5 cases of high-grade glioma (3 cases of glioblastoma multiforme [GBM], grade IV, and 2 of anaplastic astrocytoma, grade III), 5 cases of pilocytic astrocytoma, 1 diffuse astrocytoma, and 1 ganglioglioma. Malignant progression was observed in 2 cases, with 1 case progressing from a diffuse astrocytoma (grade II) to a GBM (grade IV) within a period of 13 years. Quality-of-life measurements demonstrated distinct functional deficits compared to a healthy sample as well as glioma control cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of this case series shows that a major subpopulation of tectal gliomas show progression and malignant transformation in children as well as in adolescents. These tumors therefore cannot be considered inert lesions and require histological confirmation and close follow-up. Quality-of-life questionnaires show that tectal glioma patients might benefit from special psychological support in emotional, social, and cognitive functionality.