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Michael Veldeman, Lorina Daleiden, Hussam Hamou, Anke Höllig and Hans Clusmann

OBJECTIVE

Performing a cranioplasty (CP) after decompressive craniotomy is a straightforward neurosurgical procedure, but it remains associated with a high complication rate. Surgical site infection (SSI), aseptic bone resorption (aBR), and need for a secondary CP are the most common complications. This observational study aimed to identify modifiable risk factors to prevent CP failure.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed of all patients who underwent CP following decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) between 2010 and 2018 at a single institution. Predictors of SSI, aBR, and need for allograft CP were evaluated in a univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression model.

RESULTS

One hundred eighty-six patients treated with CP after DHC were included. The diagnoses leading to a DHC were as follows: stroke (83 patients, 44.6%), traumatic brain injury (55 patients, 29.6%), subarachnoid hemorrhage (33 patients, 17.7%), and intracerebral hemorrhage (15 patients, 8.1%). Post-CP SSI occurred in 25 patients (13.4%), whereas aBR occurred in 32 cases (17.2%). An altered posterior question-mark incision, ending behind the ear, was associated with a significantly lower infection rate and CP failure, compared to the classic question-mark incision (6.3% vs 18.4%; p = 0.021). The only significant predictor of aBR was patient age, in which those developing resorption were on average 16 years younger than those without aBR (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The primary goal of this retrospective cohort analysis was to identify adjustable risk factors to prevent post-CP complications. In this analysis, a posterior question-mark incision proved beneficial regarding infection and CP failure. The authors believe that these findings are caused by the better vascularized skin flap due to preservation of the superficial temporal artery and partial preservation of the occipital artery. In this trial, the posterior question-mark incision was identified as an easily and costless adaptable technique to reduce CP failure rates.

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Michael Veldeman, Walid Albanna, Miriam Weiss, Catharina Conzen, Tobias Philip Schmidt, Henna Schulze-Steinen, Martin Wiesmann, Hans Clusmann and Gerrit Alexander Schubert

OBJECTIVE

The current definition of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is based on clinical characteristics precluding its use in patients with poor-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Additional concepts to evaluate the unconscious patient are required. Invasive neuromonitoring (INM) may allow timely detection of metabolic and oxygenation crises before irreversible damage has occurred.

METHODS

The authors present a cohort analysis of all consecutive SAH patients referred to a single tertiary care center between 2010 and 2018. The cohort (n = 190) was split into two groups: one before (n = 96) and one after (n = 94) the introduction of INM in 2014. A total of 55 poor-grade SAH patients were prospectively monitored using parenchymal oxygen saturation measurement and cerebral microdialysis. The primary outcome was the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOSE) score after 12 months.

RESULTS

With neuromonitoring, the first DCI event was detected earlier (mean 2.2 days, p = 0.002). The overall rate of DCI-related infarctions decreased significantly (from 44.8% to 22.3%; p = 0.001) after the introduction of invasive monitoring. After 12 months, a higher rate of favorable outcome was observed in the post-INM group, compared to the pre-INM group (53.8% vs 39.8%), with a significant difference in the GOSE score distribution (OR 4.86, 95% CI −1.17 to −0.07, p = 0.028).

CONCLUSIONS

In this cohort analysis of poor-grade SAH patients, the introduction of INM and the extension of the classic DCI definition toward a functional dimension resulted in an earlier detection and treatment of DCI events. This led to an overall decrease in DCI-related infarctions and an improvement in outcome.

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Michael Veldeman, Daniel Lepore, Anke Höllig, Hans Clusmann, Christian Stoppe, Gerrit Alexander Schubert and Walid Albanna

OBJECTIVE

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) initiates a deleterious cascade activating multiple inflammatory processes, which can contribute to delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). Procalcitonin (PCT) is an established marker for sepsis treatment monitoring, and its time course in the context of DCI after aSAH remains unclear. The aim of this trial was to assess the predictive and confirmative value of PCT levels in the context of DCI.

METHODS

All patients admitted to the authors’ institution with aSAH between 2014 and 2018 were prospectively screened for eligibility. Daily PCT levels were recorded alongside relevant aSAH characteristics. The predictive and confirmative values of PCT levels were assessed using a receiver operating characteristic and area under the curve (AUC) analysis. The course of PCT levels around the DCI event was evaluated in an infection-free subgroup of patients.

RESULTS

A total of 132 patients with aSAH were included. Early PCT levels (first 3 days post-aSAH) had a low predictive value for the development of DCI (AUC 0.661, standard error [SE] 0.050; p = 0.003) and unfavorable long-term outcome (i.e., Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended scores 1–4; AUC 0.674, SE 0.054; p = 0.003). In a subgroup analysis of infection-free patients (n = 72), PCT levels were higher in patients developing DCI (p = 0.001) and DCI-related cerebral infarction (p = 0.002). PCT concentrations increased gradually after DCI and decreased with successful intervention. In refractory cases progressing to cerebral infarction, PCT levels showed a secondary increase.

CONCLUSIONS

Early higher PCT levels were associated with the later development of DCI and unfavorable outcome. Analysis of PCT beyond the first couple of days after hemorrhage is hampered by nosocomial infections. In infection-free patients, however, PCT levels rise during DCI and an additional increase develops in patients developing cerebral infarction.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02142166 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Qingjia Lai and Yuanhong Ge

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Sergio García-García, Diego Culebras and Ramón Torné