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Chandan G. Reddy, Oliver E. Flouty, Marshall T. Holland, Leigh A. Rettenmaier, Mario Zanaty and Foad Elahi

OBJECTIVE

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) has been used for the treatment of neuropathic pain for many decades. Despite the specific indications for PNS, clinicians often have difficulty screening for candidates likely to have a good or fair outcome. Given the expense of a permanent implant, most insurance companies will not pay for the implant without a successful PNS trial. And since PNS has only recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, many insurance companies will not pay for a conventional trial of PNS. The objective of this study is to describe a short low-cost method for trialing and screening patients for peripheral nerve stimulator implantation. Additionally, this study demonstrates the long-term efficacy of PNS in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain and the relative effectiveness of this novel screening method.

METHODS

The records of all patients who had undergone trialing and implantation of a PNS system for chronic refractory pain at the authors' institution over a 1-year period (August 1, 2012–July 31, 2013) were examined in this retrospective case series. The search revealed 17 patients, 13 who had undergone a novel in-office ultrasonography-guided StimuCath screening technique and 4 who had undergone a traditional week-long screening procedure. All 17 patients experienced a successful PNS trial and proceeded to permanent PNS system implantation. Patients were followed up for a mean duration of 3.0 years. Visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores were used to assess pain relief in the short-term (< 6 weeks), at 1 year, and at the last follow-up. Final outcome was also characterized as good, fair, poor, or bad.

RESULTS

Of these 17 patients, 10 were still using their stimulator at the last follow-up, with 8 of them obtaining good relief (classified as ≥ 50% pain relief, with an average 81% reduction in the VAS score) and 2 patients attaining fair relief (< 50% relief but still using stimulation therapy). Among the remaining 7 patients, the stimulator had been explanted in 4 and there had been no relief in 3. Excluding explanted cases, follow-up ranged from 14 to 46 months, with an average of 36 months. Patients with good or fair relief had experienced pain prior to implantation for an average of 5.1 years (range 1.8–15.2 years). A longer duration of pain trended toward a poorer outcome (bad outcome 7.6 years vs good outcome 4.1 years, p = 0.03). Seven (54%) of the 13 patients with the shorter trial experienced a good or fair outcome with an average 79% reduction in the VAS score; however, all 4 of the bad outcome cases came from this group. Three (75%) of the 4 patients with the longer trial experienced a good or fair outcome at the last follow-up, with an average 54% reduction in the VAS score. There was no difference between the trialing methods and the proportion of favorable (good or fair) outcomes (p = 0.71).

CONCLUSIONS

Short, ultrasonography-guided StimuCath trials were feasible in screening patients for permanent implantation of PNS, with efficacy similar to the traditional week-long screening noted at the 3-year follow-up.

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Patrick W. Hitchon, Mario Zanaty, Logan Helland, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah and Nader S. Dahdaleh

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Nohra Chalouhi, Mario Zanaty, Alex Whiting, Steven Yang, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, David Hasan, Robert M. Starke, Shannon Hann, Christine Hammer, David Kung, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECT

Flow diverters are increasingly used for treatment of intracranial aneurysms. In most series, the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) was used for the treatment of large, giant, complex, and fusiform aneurysms. Little is known about the use of the PED in small aneurysms. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of the PED in small aneurysms (≤ 7 mm).

METHODS

A total of 100 consecutive patients were treated with the PED at the authors' institution between May 2011 and September 2013. Data on procedural safety and efficacy were retrospectively collected.

RESULTS

The mean aneurysm size was 5.2 ± 1.5 mm. Seven patients (7%) had sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage. All except 5 aneurysms (95%) arose from the anterior circulation. The number of PEDs used was 1.2 per aneurysm. Symptomatic procedure-related complications occurred in 3 patients (3%): 1 distal parenchymal hemorrhage that was managed conservatively and 2 ischemic events. At the latest follow-up (mean 6.3 months), 54 (72%) aneurysms were completely occluded (100%), 10 (13%) were nearly completely occluded (≥ 90%), and 11 (15%) were incompletely occluded (< 90%). Six aneurysms (8%) required further treatment. Increasing aneurysm size (OR 3.8, 95% CI 0.99–14; p = 0.05) predicted retreatment. All patients achieved a favorable outcome (modified Rankin Scale Score 0–2) at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, treatment of small aneurysms with the PED was associated with low complication rates and high aneurysm occlusion rates. These findings suggest that the PED is a safe and effective alternative to conventional endovascular techniques for small aneurysms. Randomized trials with long-term follow-up are necessary to determine the optimal treatment that leads to the highest rate of obliteration and the best clinical outcomes.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Mario Zanaty, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Philip Manasseh, David Hasan, Ketan R. Bulsara, Robert M. Starke, Kevin Lawson, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECT

Endovascular interventions have become an essential part of a neurosurgeon’s practice. Whether endovascular procedures have been effectively integrated into residency curricula, however, remains uncertain. The purpose of this study was to assess the preparedness of US neurosurgery graduate trainees for neuroendovascular fellowship.

METHODS

A multidomain, global assessment survey was sent to all directors/faculty of neuroendovascular fellowship programs involved in training of US neurosurgery graduates. Surveyees were asked to assess trainees as they entered fellowship.

RESULTS

The response rate was 78% (25/32). Of respondent program directors, 38% reported that new fellows did not know the history and imaging of the patient and 50% were unable to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. As many as 79% of fellows were unfamiliar with endovascular devices and 75% were unfamiliar with angiographic equipment. Furthermore, 58% of fellows were unable to perform femoral access, 54% were unable to perform femoral closure, 79% were unable to catheterize a major vessel, 86% were unable to perform a 4-vessel angiogram, and 100% were unable to catheterize an aneurysm. Additionally, program directors reported that over 50% of fellows could not recognize neurovascular anatomy and 54% could not recognize/classify vascular abnormalities. There was an overall agreement that fellows demonstrated professionalism and interest in research and had good communication/clinical skills.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest potential gaps in the training of neurosurgery residents with regard to endovascular neurosurgery. In an era of minimally invasive therapies, changes in residency curricula may be needed to keep pace with the ever-changing field of neurosurgery.

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Kingsley O. Abode-Iyamah, Hsiu-Yin Chiang, Nolan Winslow, Brian Park, Mario Zanaty, Brian J. Dlouhy, Oliver E. Flouty, Zachary D. Rasmussen, Loreen A. Herwaldt and Jeremy D. Greenlee

OBJECTIVE

Craniectomy is often performed to decrease intracranial pressure following trauma and vascular injuries. The subsequent cranioplasty procedures may be complicated by surgical site infections (SSIs) due to prior trauma, foreign implants, and multiple surgeries through a common incision. Several studies have found that intrawound vancomycin powder (VP) is associated with decreased risk of SSIs after spine operations. However, no previously published study has evaluated the effectiveness of VP in cranioplasty procedures. The purpose of this study was to determine whether intrawound VP is associated with decreased risk of SSIs, to evaluate VP’s safety, and to identify risk factors for SSIs after cranioplasty among patients undergoing first-time cranioplasty.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult patients undergoing first-time cranioplasty for indications other than infections from January 1, 2008, to July 31, 2014, at an academic health center. Data on demographics, possible risk factors for SSIs, and treatment with VP were collected from the patients’ electronic health records.

RESULTS

During the study period, 258 patients underwent first-time cranioplasties, and 15 (5.8%) of these patients acquired SSIs. Ninety-two patients (35.7%) received intrawound VP (VP group) and 166 (64.3%) did not (no-VP group). Patients in the VP group and the no-VP group were similar with respect to age, sex, smoking history, body mass index, and SSI rates (VP group 6.5%, no-VP group 5.4%, p = 0.72). Patients in the VP group were less likely than those in the no-VP group to have undergone craniectomy for tumors and were more likely to have an American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status score > 2. Intrawound VP was not associated with other postoperative complications. Risk factors for SSI from the bivariable analyses were diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 3.65, 95% CI 1.07–12.44), multiple craniotomy procedures before the cranioplasty (OR 4.39, 95% CI 1.47–13.18), prior same-side craniotomy (OR 4.73, 95% CI 1.57–14.24), and prosthetic implants (OR 4.51, 95% CI 1.40–14.59). The multivariable analysis identified prior same-side craniotomy (OR 3.37, 95% CI 1.06–10.79) and prosthetic implants (OR 3.93, 95% CI 1.15–13.40) as significant risk factors for SSIs. After adjusting for potential confounders, patients with SSIs were more likely than those without SSIs to be readmitted (OR 7.28, 95% CI 2.07–25.60).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, intrawound VP was not associated with a decreased risk of SSIs or with an increased risk of complications. Prior same-side craniotomy and prosthetic implants were risk factors for SSI after first-time cranioplasty.

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Daichi Nakagawa, Kohsuke Kudo, Olatilewa Awe, Mario Zanaty, Yasunori Nagahama, Cameron Cushing, Vincent Magnotta, Minako Hayakawa, Lauren Allan, Jeremy Greenlee, Issam A. Awad, Timothy Carroll, James Torner, Madhavan L. Raghavan and David M. Hasan

OBJECT

Sentinel headaches (SHs) associated with cerebral aneurysms (CAs) could be due to microbleeds, which are considered a sign that an aneurysm is unstable. Despite the prognostic importance of these microbleeds, they remain difficult to detect using routine imaging studies. The objective of this pilot study is to detect microbleeds associated with SH using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) sequence and then evaluate the morphological characteristics of unstable aneurysms with microbleeds.

METHODS

Twenty CAs in 16 consecutive patients with an initial presentation of headache (HA) leading to a diagnosis of CA were analyzed. Headaches in 4 of the patients (two of whom had 2 aneurysms each) met the typical definition of SH, and the other 12 patients (two of whom also had 2 aneurysms each) all had migraine HA. All patients underwent imaging with the MRI-QSM sequence. Two independent MRI experts who were blinded to the patients’ clinical history performed 3D graphical analysis to evaluate for potential microbleeds associated with these CAs. Computational flow and morphometric analyses were also performed to estimate wall shear and morphological variables.

RESULTS

In the 4 patients with SH, MRI-QSM results were positive for 4 aneurysms, and hence these aneurysms were considered positive for non-heme ferric iron (microbleeds). The other 16 aneurysms were negative. Among aneurysm shape indices, the undulation index was significantly higher in the QSM-positive group than in the QSM-negative group. In addition, the spatial averaged wall shear magnitude was lower in the aneurysm wall in direct contact with microbleeds.

CONCLUSIONS

MRI-QSM allows for objective detection of microbleeds associated with SH and therefore identification of unstable CAs. CAs with slightly greater undulation indices are associated with positive MRI-QSM results and hence with microbleeds. Studies with larger populations are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

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Mario Zanaty, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Shannon W. Clark, Cory D. Bovenzi, Mark Saigh, Eric Schwartz, Emily S. I. Kunkel, Alexandra S. Efthimiadis-Budike, Pascal Jabbour, Richard Dalyai, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris

OBJECT

The factors that contribute to periprocedural complications following cranioplasty, including patient-specific and surgery-specific factors, need to be thoroughly assessed. The aim of this study was to evaluate risk factors that predispose patients to an increased risk of cranioplasty complications and death.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all patients at their institution who underwent cranioplasty following craniectomy for stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, and trauma between January 2000 and December 2011. The following predictors were tested: age, sex, race, diabetic status, hypertensive status, tobacco use, reason for craniectomy, urgency status of the craniectomy, graft material, and location of cranioplasty. The cranioplasty complications included reoperation for hematoma, hydrocephalus postcranioplasty, postcranioplasty seizures, and cranioplasty graft infection. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed. Confidence intervals were calculated as the 95% CI.

RESULTS

Three hundred forty-eight patients were included in the study. The overall complication rate was 31.32% (109 of 348). The mortality rate was 3.16%. Predictors of overall complications in multivariate analysis were hypertension (OR 1.92, CI 1.22–3.02), increasing age (OR 1.02, CI 1.00–1.04), and hemorrhagic stroke (OR 3.84, CI 1.93–7.63). Predictors of mortality in multivariate analysis were diabetes mellitus (OR 7.56, CI 1.56–36.58), seizures (OR 7.25, CI 1.238–42.79), bifrontal cranioplasty (OR 5.40, CI 1.20–24.27), and repeated surgery for hematoma evacuation (OR 13.00, CI 1.51–112.02). Multivariate analysis was also applied to identify the variables that affect the development of seizures, the need for reoperation for hematoma evacuation, the development of hydrocephalus, and the development of infections.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' goal was to provide the neurosurgeon with predictors of morbidity and mortality that could be incorporated in the clinical decision-making algorithm. Control of a patient's risk factors and early recognition of complications may help practitioners avoid the exhaustive list of complications.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Alex Whiting, Eliza C. Anderson, Samantha Witte, Mario Zanaty, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, David Hasan, Robert M. Starke, Shannon Hann, George M. Ghobrial, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

Object

It is common practice to use a new contralateral bur hole for ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients with an existing ventriculostomy. At Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, the authors have primarily used the ventriculostomy site for the VPS. The purpose of this study was to compare the safety of the 2 techniques in patients with SAH.

Methods

The rates of VPS-related hemorrhage, infection, and proximal revision were compared between the 2 techniques in 523 patients undergoing VPS placement (same site in 464 and contralateral site in 59 patients).

Results

The rate of new VPS-related hemorrhage was significantly higher in the contralateral-site group (1.7%) than in the same-site group (0%; p = 0.006). The rate of VPS infection did not differ between the 2 groups (6.4% for same site vs 5.1% for contralateral site; p = 0.7). In multivariate analysis, higher Hunt and Hess grades (p = 0.05) and open versus endovascular treatment (p = 0.04) predicted shunt infection, but the VPS technique was not a predictive factor (p = 0.9). The rate of proximal shunt revision was 6% in the same-site group versus 8.5% in the contralateralsite group (p = 0.4). In multivariate analysis, open surgery was the only factor predicting proximal VPS revision (p = 0.05).

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that the use of the ventriculostomy site for VPS placement may be feasible and safe and may not add morbidity (infection or need for revision) compared with the use of a fresh contralateral site. This rapid and simple technique also was associated with a lower risk of shunt-related hemorrhage. While both techniques appear to be feasible and safe, a definitive answer to the question of which technique is superior awaits a higher level of medical evidence.

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Yasunori Nagahama, Lauren Allan, Daichi Nakagawa, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Robert D. Brown Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn, Enrique C. Leira, Joseph Broderick, Marc Chimowitz, James C. Torner and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Clinical vasospasm and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) are devastating complications of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Several theories involving platelet activation have been postulated as potential explanations of the development of clinical vasospasm and DCI. However, the effects of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT; aspirin and clopidogrel) on clinical vasospasm and DCI have not been previously investigated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of DAPT on clinical vasospasm and DCI in aSAH patients.

METHODS

Analysis of patients treated for aSAH during the period from July 2009 to April 2014 was performed in a single-institution retrospective study. Patients were divided into 2 groups: patients who underwent stent-assisted coiling or placement of flow diverters requiring DAPT (DAPT group) and patients who underwent coiling only without DAPT (control group). The frequency of symptomatic clinical vasospasm and DCI and of hemorrhagic complications was compared between the 2 groups, utilizing univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

Of 312 aSAH patients considered for this study, 161 met the criteria for inclusion and were included in the analysis (85 patients in the DAPT group and 76 patients in the control group). The risks of clinical vasospasm (OR 0.244, CI 95% 0.097–0.615, p = 0.003) and DCI (OR 0.056, CI 95% 0.01–0.318, p = 0.001) were significantly lower in patients receiving DAPT. The rates of hemorrhagic complications associated with placement of external ventricular drains and ventriculoperitoneal shunts were similar in both groups (4% vs 2%, p = 0.9).

CONCLUSIONS

The use of DAPT was associated with a lower risk of clinical vasospasm and DCI in patients treated for aSAH, without an increased risk of hemorrhagic complications.

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David Hasan, Mario Zanaty, Robert M. Starke, Elias Atallah, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, Amit Singla, Waldo R. Guerrero, Daichi Nakagawa, Edgar A. Samaniego, Nnenna Mbabuike, Rabih G. Tawk, Adnan H. Siddiqui, Elad I. Levy, Roberta L. Novakovic, Jonathan White, Clemens M. Schirmer, Thomas G. Brott, Hussain Shallwani and L. Nelson Hopkins

OBJECTIVE

The overall risk of ischemic stroke from a chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) is around 5%–7% per year despite receiving the best available medical therapy. Here, authors propose a radiographic classification of COICA that can be used as a guide to determine the technical success and safety of endovascular recanalization for symptomatic COICA and to assess the changes in systemic blood pressure following successful revascularization.

METHODS

The radiographic images of 100 consecutive subjects with COICA were analyzed. A new classification of COICA was proposed based on the morphology, location of occlusion, and presence or absence of reconstitution of the distal ICA. The classification was used to predict successful revascularization in 32 symptomatic COICAs in 31 patients, five of whom were female (5/31 [16.13%]). Patients were included in the study if they had a COICA with ischemic symptoms refractory to medical therapy. Carotid artery occlusion was defined as 100% cross-sectional occlusion of the vessel lumen as documented on CTA or MRA and confirmed by digital subtraction angiography.

RESULTS

Four types (A–D) of radiographic COICA were identified. Types A and B were more amenable to safe revascularization than types C and D. Recanalization was successful at a rate of 68.75% (22/32 COICAs; type A: 8/8; type B: 8/8; type C: 4/8; type D: 2/8). The perioperative complication rate was 18.75% (6/32; type A: 0/8 [0%]; type B: 1/8 [12.50%]; type C: 3/8 [37.50%], type D: 2/8 [25.00%]). None of these complications led to permanent morbidity or death. Twenty (64.52%) of 31 subjects had improvement in their symptoms at the 2–6 months’ follow-up. A statistically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was noted in 17/21 (80.95%) patients who had successful revascularization, which persisted on follow-up (p = 0.0001). The remaining 10 subjects in whom revascularization failed had no significant changes in SBP (p = 0.73).

CONCLUSIONS

The pilot study suggested that our proposed classification of COICA may be useful as an adjunctive guide to determine the technical feasibility and safety of revascularization for symptomatic COICA using endovascular techniques. Additionally, successful revascularization may lead to a significant decrease in SBP postprocedure. A Phase 2b trial in larger cohorts to assess the efficacy of endovascular revascularization using our COICA classification is warranted.