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Daniel Hänggi, Michael Reinert and Hans-Jakob Steiger

Object

Preliminary experience with the C-Port Flex-A Anastomosis System (Cardica, Inc.) to enable rapid automated anastomosis has been reported in coronary artery bypass surgery. The goal of the current study was to define the feasibility and safety of this method for high-flow extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery in a clinical series.

Methods

In a prospective study design, patients with symptomatic carotid artery (CA) occlusion were selected for C-Port–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery if they met the following criteria: 1) transient or moderate permanent symptoms of focal ischemia; 2) CA occlusion; 3) hemodynamic instability; and 4) had provided informed consent. Bypasses were done using a radial artery graft that was proximally anastomosed to the superficial temporal artery trunk, the cervical external, or common CA. All distal cerebral anastomoses were performed on M2 branches using the C-Port Flex-A system.

Results

Within 6 months, 10 patients were enrolled in the study. The distal automated anastomosis could be accomplished in all patients; the median temporary occlusion time was 16.6 ± 3.4 minutes. Intraoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA) confirmed good bypass function in 9 patients, and in 1 the anastomosis was classified as fair. There was 1 major perioperative complication that consisted of the creation of a pseudoaneurysm due to a hardware problem. In all but 1 case the bypass was shown to be patent on DSA after 7 days; furthermore, in 1 patient a late occlusion developed due to vasospasm after a sylvian hemorrhage. One-week follow-up DSA revealed transient asymptomatic extracranial spasm of the donor artery and the radial artery graft in 1 case. Two patients developed a limited zone of infarction on CT scanning during the follow-up course.

Conclusions

In patients with symptomatic CA occlusion, C-Port Flex-A–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery is a technically feasible procedure. The system needs further modification to achieve a faster and safer anastomosis to enable a conclusive comparison with standard and laser-assisted methods for high-flow bypass surgery.

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Luca Valci, Martina Dalolio, Dominique Kuhlen, Emanuele Pravatà, Claudio Gobbi and Michael Reinert

Encephaloceles are herniations of brain parenchyma through congenital or acquired osseous-dural defects of the skull base or cranial vault. Different types of symptoms, due to CSF fistulas, meningitis, or seizures, are often associated with this condition. The authors present a rare case of spontaneous right frontal parasagittal encephalocele in a 70-year-old man who was experiencing a spastic progressive paresis of his left lower limb. Results of routine electrophysiological workup (motor evoked potentials, somatosensory evoked potentials, and electroneuromyography), as well as those of MRI of the spinal cord, were normal. A brain MRI study detected a partial herniation of the right precentral gyrus through a meningeal defect into the diploe, embedding corticospinal fibers. The patient underwent navigated craniotomy. Intraoperative neuromonitoring of motor function with transcranial electrical stimulation and direct cortical stimulation indicated the presence of motor cortex inside the encephalocele. Thus, the brain parenchyma was carefully released without resection to preserve motor function and, finally, a cranioplasty was performed. After a few months, the patient demonstrated considerable improvement in his left lower-limb function and, after 1 year, he had fully recovered. Intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring and mapping allowed for the determination of the best surgical strategy for the isolation of the encephalocele and correlated well with preoperative multimodal MRI.

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Michael Reinert, Ahmad Khaldi, Alois Zauner, Egon Doppenberg, Sung Choi and Ross Bullock

Disturbed ionic and neurotransmitter homeostasis are now recognized to be probably the most important mechanisms contributing to the development of secondary brain swelling after traumatic brian injury (TBI). Evidence obtained from animal models indicates that posttraumatic neuronal excitation via excitatory amino acids leads to an increase in extracellular potassium, probably due to ion channel activation. The purpose of this study was therefore to measure dialysate potassium in severely head injured patients and to correlate these results with intracranial pressure (ICP), outcome, and also with the levels of dialysate glutamate, lactate, and cerebral blood flow (CBF) so as to determine the role of ischemia in this posttraumatic ionic dysfunction.

Eighty-five patients with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score < 8) were treated according to an intensive ICP management-focused protocol. All patients underwent intracerebral microdialyis. Dialysate potassium levels were analyzed by flame photometry, as were dialysate glutamate and dialysate lactate levels, which were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography and an enzyme-linked amperometric method in 72 and 84 patients respectively. Cerebral blood flow studies (stable Xenon–computerized tomography scanning) were performed in 59 patients.

In approximately 20% of the patients, potassium values were increased (dialysate potassium > 1.8 mmol). Mean dialysate potassium (> 2 mmol) was associated with ICP above 30 mm Hg and fatal outcome. Dialysate potassium correlated positively with dialysate glutamate (p < 0.0001) and lactate levels (p < 0.0001). Dialysate potassium was significantly inversely correlated with reduced CBF (p = 0.019).

Dialysate potassium was increased after TBI in 20% of measurements. High levels of dialysate potassium were associated with increased ICP and poor outcome. The simultaneous increase of potassium, together with dialysate glutamate and lactate, supports the hypothesis that glutamate induces ionic flux and consequently increases ICP due to astrocytic swelling. Reduced CBF was also significantly correlated with increased levels of dialysate potassium. This may be due to either cell swelling or altered potassium reactivity in cerebral blood vessels after trauma.

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Tobias Clausen, Oscar Luis Alves, Michael Reinert, Egon Doppenberg, Alois Zauner and Ross Bullock

Object. Glycerol is considered to be a marker of cell membrane degradation and thus cellular lysis. Recently, it has become feasible to measure via microdialysis cerebral extracellular fluid (ECF) glycerol concentrations at the patient's bedside. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the ECF concentration and time course of glycerol after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its relationship to patient outcome and other monitoring parameters.

Methods. As soon as possible after injury for up to 4 days, 76 severely head-injured patients were monitored using a microdialysis probe (cerebral glycerol) and a Neurotrend sensor (brain tissue PO2) in uninjured brain tissue confirmed by computerized tomography scanning. The mean brain tissue glycerol concentration in all monitored patients decreased significantly from 206 ± 31 µmol/L on Day 1 to 9 ± 3 µmol/L on Day 4 after injury (p < 0.0001). Note, however, that there was no significant difference in the time course between patients with a favorable outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] Scores 4 and 5) and those with an unfavorable outcome (GOS Scores 1–3). Significantly increased glycerol concentrations were observed when brain tissue PO2 was less than 10 mm Hg or when cerebral perfusion pressure was less than 70 mm Hg.

Conclusions. Based on results in the present study one can infer that microdialysate glycerol is a marker of severe tissue damage, as seen immediately after brain injury or during profound tissue hypoxia. Given that brain tissue glycerol levels do not yet add new clinically significant information, however, routine monitoring of this parameter following traumatic brain injury needs further validation.

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Michael Reinert, Ahmad Khaldi, Alois Zauner, Egon Doppenberg, Sung Choi and Ross Bullock

Object. Disturbed ionic and neurotransmitter homeostasis are now recognized as probably the most important mechanisms contributing to the development of secondary brain swelling after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Evidence obtained in animal models indicates that posttraumatic neuronal excitation by excitatory amino acids leads to an increase in extracellular potassium, probably due to ion channel activation. The purpose of this study was therefore to measure dialysate potassium in severely head injured patients and to correlate these results with measurements of intracranial pressure (ICP), patient outcome, and levels of dialysate glutamate and lactate, and cerebral blood flow (CBF) to determine the role of ischemia in this posttraumatic ion dysfunction.

Methods. Eighty-five patients with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale Score < 8) were treated according to an intensive ICP management-focused protocol. All patients underwent intracerebral microdialyis. Dialysate potassium levels were analyzed using flame photometry, and dialysate glutamate and dialysate lactate levels were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography and an enzyme-linked amperometric method in 72 and 84 patients, respectively. Cerebral blood flow studies (stable xenon computerized tomography scanning) were performed in 59 patients.

In approximately 20% of the patients, dialysate potassium values were increased (dialysate potassium > 1.8 mM) for 3 hours or more. A mean amount of dialysate potassium greater than 2 mM throughout the entire monitoring period was associated with ICP above 30 mm Hg and fatal outcome, as were progressively rising levels of dialysate potassium. The presence of dialysate potassium correlated positively with dialysate glutamate (p < 0.0001) and lactate (p < 0.0001) levels. Dialysate potassium was significantly inversely correlated with reduced CBF (p = 0.019).

Conclusions. Dialysate potassium was increased after TBI in 20% of measurements. High levels of dialysate potassium were associated with increased ICP and poor outcome. The simultaneous increase in dialysate potassium, together with dialysate glutamate and lactate, supports the concept that glutamate induces ionic flux and consequently increases ICP, which the authors speculate may be due to astrocytic swelling. Reduced CBF was also significantly correlated with increased levels of dialysate potassium. This may be due to either cell swelling or altered vasoreactivity in cerebral blood vessels caused by higher levels of potassium after trauma. Additional studies in which potassium-sensitive microelectrodes are used are needed to validate these ionic events more clearly.

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Michael Reinert, Luca Valci, Martina Dalolio, Vladimir Reyes and Justine D'Auria

An 80-year-old female presented 5 months previous for nonspecific gait disturbance, during which an MRI was performed. A large based anterior communicating artery aneurym was found independent of neurology. An interdisciplinary discussion favored surgical treatment, on which the patient insisted.

Surgery was performed using standard anesthesia techniques with intraoperative burst supression during surgery, neuromonitoring with MEP and SEP, as well as ICG angiography, microdoppler and neuronavigation. Successful clipping was performed with 2 fenestrated straight and one bayoneted straight Lazic clip. Temporary clipping was 6.1 minutes. Postoperative angiography showed exclusion of the aneurysm, and there was no neurological deficit.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/WKjOHG8irFo.

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Michael Reinert, Benoit Schaller, Hans Rudolf Widmer, Rolf Seiler and Ross Bullock

Object. Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) imposes a huge metabolic load on brain tissue, which can be summarized initially as a state of hypermetabolism and hyperglycolysis. In experiments O2 consumption has been shown to increase early after trauma, especially in the presence of high lactate levels and forced O2 availability. In recent clinical studies the effect of increasing O2 availability on brain metabolism has been analyzed. By their nature, however, clinical trauma models suffer from a heterogeneous injury distribution. The aim of this study was to analyze, in a standardized diffuse brain injury model, the effect of increasing the fraction of inspired O2 on brain glucose and lactate levels, and to compare this effect with the metabolism of the noninjured sham-operated brain.

Methods. A diffuse severe TBI model developed by Foda and Maramarou, et al., in which a 420-g weight is dropped from a height of 2 m was used in this study. Forty-one male Wistar rats each weighing approximately 300 g were included. Anesthesized rats were monitored by placing a femoral arterial line for blood pressure and blood was drawn for a blood gas analysis. Two time periods were defined: Period A was defined as preinjury and Period B as postinjury. During Period B two levels of fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) were studied: air (FiO2 0.21) and oxygen (FiO2 1). Four groups were studied including sham-operated animals: air-air-sham (AAS); air-O2-sham (AOS); air-air-trauma (AAT); and air-O2-trauma (AOT). In six rats the effect of increasing the FiO2 on serum glucose and lactate was analyzed.

During Period B lactate values in the brain determined using microdialysis were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the AOT group than in the AAT group and glucose values in the brain determined using microdialysis were significantly higher (p < 0.04). No differences were demonstrated in the other groups. Increasing the FiO2 had no significant effect on the serum levels of glucose and lactate.

Conclusions. Increasing the FiO2 influences dialysate glucose and lactate levels in injured brain tissue. Using an FiO2 of 1 influences brain metabolism in such a way that lactate is significantly reduced and glucose significantly increased. No changes in dialysate glucose and lactate values were found in the noninjured brain.

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Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Gregory J. Zipfel, William W. Ashley, Michael R. Chicoine and Michael Reinert

The authors describe the use of the Cardica C-Port xA Distal Anastomosis System to perform an automated, high-flow extracranial–intracranial bypass. The C-Port system has been developed and tested in coronary artery bypass surgery for rapid distal coronary artery anastomoses. Air-powered, it performs an automated end-to-side anastomosis within seconds by nearly simultaneously making an arteriotomy and inserting 13 microclips into the graft and recipient vessel. Intracranial use of the device was first simulated in a cadaver prepared for microsurgical anatomical dissection.

The authors used this system in a 43-year-old man who sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage after being assaulted and was found to have a traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the proximal intracranial internal carotid artery. The aneurysm appeared to be enlarging on serial imaging studies and it was anticipated that a bypass would probably be needed to treat the lesion. An end-to-side bypass was performed with the C-Port system using a saphenous vein conduit extending from the common carotid artery to the middle cerebral artery. The bypass was demonstrated to be patent on intraoperative and postoperative arteriography. The patient had a temporary hyperperfusion syndrome and subsequently made a good neurological recovery.

The C-Port system facilitates the performance of a high-flow extracranial–intracranial bypass with short periods of temporary arterial occlusion. Because of the size and configuration of the device, its use is not feasible in all anatomical situations that require a high-flow bypass; however it is a useful addition to the armamentarium of the neurovascular surgeon.

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Pietro Scarone, Gabriele Vincenzo, Daniela Distefano, Filippo Del Grande, Alessandro Cianfoni, Stefano Presilla and Michael Reinert

OBJECTIVE

Navigation-enabling technology such as 3D-platform (O-arm) or intraoperative mobile CT (iCT-Airo) systems for use in spinal surgery has considerably improved accuracy over that of traditional fluoroscopy-guided techniques during pedicular screw positioning. In this study, the authors compared 2 intraoperative imaging systems with navigation, available in their neurosurgical unit, in terms of the accuracy they provided for transpedicular screw fixation in the thoracic and lumbar spine.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of clinical and surgical data of 263 consecutive patients who underwent thoracic and lumbar spine screw placement in the same center. Data on 97 patients who underwent surgery with iCT-Airo navigation (iCT-Airo group) and 166 with O-arm navigation (O-arm group) were analyzed. Most patients underwent surgery for a degenerative or traumatic condition that involved thoracic and lumbar pedicle screw fixation using an open or percutaneous technique. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with at least 1 screw not correctly positioned according to the last intraoperative image. Secondary endpoints were the proportion of screws that were repositioned during surgery, the proportion of patients with a postoperative complication related to screw malposition, surgical time, and radiation exposure. A blinded radiologist graded screw positions in the last intraoperative image according to the Heary classification (grade 1–3 screws were considered correctly placed).

RESULTS

A total of 1361 screws placed in 97 patients in the iCT-Airo group (503 screws) and in 166 in the O-arm group (858 screws) were graded. Of those screws, 3 (0.6%) in the iCT-Airo group and 4 (0.5%) in the O-arm group were misplaced. No statistically significant difference in final accuracy between these 2 groups or in the subpopulation of patients who underwent percutaneous surgery was found. Three patients in the iCT-Airo group (3.1%, 95% CI 0%–6.9%) and 3 in the O-arm group (1.8%, 95% CI 0%–4.0%) had a misplaced screw (Heary grade 4 or 5). Seven (1.4%) screws in the iCT-Airo group and 37 (4.3%) in the O-arm group were repositioned intraoperatively (p = 0.003). One patient in the iCT-Airo group and 2 in the O-arm group experienced postoperative neurological deficits related to hardware malposition. The mean surgical times in both groups were similar (276 [iCT-Airo] and 279 [O-arm] minutes). The mean exposure to radiation in the iCT-Airo group was significantly lower than that in the O-arm group (15.82 vs 19.12 mSv, respectively; p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Introduction of a mobile CT scanner reduced the rate of screw repositioning, which enhanced patient safety and diminished radiation exposure for patients, but it did not improve overall accuracy compared to that of a mobile 3D platform.