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Akil P. Patel, Michael T. Koltz, Charles A. Sansur, Mangla Gulati and D. Kojo Hamilton

Object

Patients requiring neurosurgical intervention are known to be at increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and attendant morbidity and mortality. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is the most catastrophic sequela of DVT and is the direct cause of death in 16% of all in-hospital mortalities. Protocols for DVT screening and early detection, as well as treatment paradigms to prevent PE in the acute postoperative period, are needed in neurosurgery. The authors analyzed the effectiveness of weekly lower-extremity venous duplex ultrasonography (LEVDU) in patients requiring surgical intervention for cranial or spinal pathology for detection of DVT and prevention of PE.

Methods

Data obtained in 1277 consecutive patients admitted to a major tertiary care center requiring neurosurgical intervention were retrospectively reviewed. All patients underwent admission (within 1 week of neurosurgical intervention) LEVDU as well as weekly LEVDU surveillance if the initial study was normal. Additional LEVDU was ordered in any patient in whom DVT was suspected on daily clinical physical examination or in patients in whom chest CT angiography confirmed a pulmonary embolus. An electronic database was created and statistical analyses performed.

Results

The overall incidence of acute DVT was 2.8% (36 patients). Of these cases of DVT, a statistically significant greater number (86%) were discovered on admission (within 1–7 days after admission) screening LEVDU (p < 0.05), whereas fewer were documented 8–14 days after admission (2.8%) or after 14 days (11.2%) postadmission. Additionally, for acute DVT detection in the present population, there were no underlying statistically significant risk factors regarding baseline physical examination, age, ambulatory status, or type of surgery.

The overall incidence of acute symptomatic PE was 0.3% and the mortality rate was 0%.

Conclusions

Performed within 1 week of admission in patients who will undergo neurosurgical intervention, LEVDU is effective in screening for acute DVT and initiating treatment to prevent PE, thereby decreasing the overall mortality rate. Routine LEVDU beyond this time point may not be needed to detect DVT and prevent PE unless a change in the patient's physical examination status is detected.

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Michael T. Koltz, Adam J. Polifka, Andreas Saltos, Robert G. Slawson, Young Kwok, E. Francois Aldrich and J. Marc Simard

Object

The object of this study was to assess outcomes in patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) treated by Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS); lesions were stratified by size, symptomatology, and Spetzler-Martin (S-M) grade.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 102 patients treated for an AVM with single-dose or staged-dose SRS between 1993 and 2004. Lesions were grouped by S-M grade, as hemorrhagic or nonhemorrhagic, and as small (< 3 cm) or large (≥ 3 cm). Outcomes included death, morbidity (new neurological deficit, new-onset seizure, or hemorrhage/rehemorrhage), nidus obliteration, and Karnofsky Performance Scale score.

Results

The mean follow-up was 8.5 years (range 5–16 years). Overall nidus obliteration (achieved in 75% of patients) and morbidity (19%) correlated with lesion size and S-M grade. For S-M Grade I–III AVMs, nonhemorrhagic and hemorrhagic combined, treatment yielded obliteration rates of 100%, 89%, and 86%, respectively; high functional status (Karnofsky Performance Scale Score ≥ 80); and 1% mortality. For S-M Grade IV and V AVMs, outcomes were less favorable, with obliteration rates of 54% and 0%, respectively. The AVMs that were not obliterated had a mean reduction in nidus volume of 69% (range 35%–96%). On long-term follow-up, 10% of patients experienced hemorrhage/rehemorrhage (6% mortality rate), which correlated with lesion size and S-M grade; the mean interval to hemorrhage was 81 months.

Conclusions

For patients with S-M Grade I–III AVMs, SRS offers outcomes that are favorable and that, except for the timing of obliteration, appear to be comparable to surgical outcomes reported for the same S-M grades. Staged-dose SRS results in lesion obliteration in half of patients with S-M Grade IV lesions.

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Feng Xu, Bing Leng and Donglei Song

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Michael T. Koltz, Cigdem Tosun, David B. Kurland, Turhan Coksaygan, Rudolph J. Castellani, Svetlana Ivanova, Volodymyr Gerzanich and J. Marc Simard

Object

Encephalopathy of prematurity (EP) is common in preterm, low birth weight infants who require postnatal mechanical ventilation. The worst types of EP are the hemorrhagic forms, including choroid plexus, germinal matrix, periventricular, and intraventricular hemorrhages. Survivors exhibit life-long cognitive, behavioral, and motor abnormalities. Available preclinical models do not fully recapitulate the salient features of hemorrhagic EP encountered in humans. In this study, the authors evaluated a novel model using rats that featured tandem insults of transient prenatal intrauterine ischemia (IUI) plus transient postnatal raised intrathoracic pressure (RIP).

Methods

Timed-pregnant Wistar rats were anesthetized and underwent laparotomy on embryonic Day 19. Intrauterine ischemia was induced by clamping the uterine and ovarian vasculature for 20 minutes. Natural birth occurred on embryonic Day 22. Six hours after birth, the pups were subjected to an episode of RIP, induced by injecting glycerol (50%, 13 μl/g intraperitoneally). Control groups included naive, sham surgery, and IUI alone. Pathological, histological, and behavioral analyses were performed on pups up to postnatal Day 52.

Results

Compared with controls, pups subjected to IUI+RIP exhibited significant increases in postnatal mortality and hemorrhages in the choroid plexus, germinal matrix, and periventricular tissues as well as intraventricularly. On postnatal Days 35–52, they exhibited significant abnormalities involving complex vestibulomotor function and rapid spatial learning. On postnatal Day 52, the brain and body mass were significantly reduced.

Conclusions

Tandem insults of IUI plus postnatal RIP recapitulate many features of the hemorrhagic forms of EP found in humans, suggesting that these insults in combination may play important roles in pathogenesis.