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Nam K. Yoon, Al-Wala Awad, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Philipp Taussky and Min S. Park

Atherosclerotic disease of the cerebral vasculature is a major cause of stroke worldwide. Atherosclerosis that is refractory to best medical management may require revascularization. In these instances, endovascular treatment provides a popular and safe alternative to open surgical techniques. The authors provide an overview of stent technology in the treatment of ischemic stroke, discussing the major studies evaluating stenting for extracranial carotid artery, vertebral artery, and intracranial atherosclerotic disease. The authors describe the commonly used stents with respect to their individual characteristics and technical limitations. Current and future developments in stent technology are also discussed, with areas for further innovation and clinical research.

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Michael Karsy, Andrea Brock, Jian Guan, Phillip Taussky, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the US. Although there has been significant progress in the area of medical and surgical thrombolytic technologies, neuroprotective agents to prevent secondary cerebral injury and to minimize disability remain limited. Only limited success has been reported in preclinical and clinical trials evaluating a variety of compounds. In this review, the authors discuss the most up-to-date information regarding the underlying molecular biology of stroke as well as strategies that aim to mitigate this complex signaling cascade. Results of historical research trials involving N-methyl-d-aspartate and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptor antagonists, clomethiazole, antioxidants, citicoline, nitric oxide, and immune regulators have laid the groundwork for current progress. In addition, more recent studies involving therapeutic hypothermia, magnesium, albumin, glyburide, uric acid, and a variety of other treatments have provided more options. The use of neuroprotective agents in combination or with existing thrombolytic treatments may be one of many exciting areas of further development. Although past trials of neuroprotective agents in ischemic stroke have been limited, significant insights into mechanisms of stroke, animal models, and trial design have incrementally improved approaches for future therapies.

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Adam S. Arthur, Philipp Taussky, Min S. Park, Michael F. Stiefel and Robert H. Rosenwasser

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Craig Kilburg, Philipp Taussky, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

The use of flow-diverting stents for intracranial aneurysms has become more prevalent, and flow diverters are now routinely used beyond their initial scope of approval at the proximal internal carotid artery. Although flow diversion for the treatment of cerebral aneurysms is becoming more commonplace, there have been no reports of its use to treat flow-related cerebral aneurysms associated with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The authors report the cases of 2 patients whose AVM-associated aneurysms were managed with flow diversion. A 40-year-old woman presented with a history of headaches that led to the identification of an unruptured Spetzler-Martin Grade V, right parietooccipital AVM associated with 3 aneurysms of the ipsilateral internal carotid artery. Initial attempts at balloon-assisted coil embolization of the aneurysms were unsuccessful. The patient underwent placement of a flow-diverting stent across the diseased vessel; a 6-month follow-up angiogram demonstrated complete occlusion of the aneurysms. In the second case, a 57-year-old man presented with new-onset seizures, and an unruptured Spetzler-Martin Grade V, right frontal AVM associated with an irregular, wide-necked anterior communicating artery aneurysm was identified. The patient underwent placement of a flow-diverting stent, and complete occlusion of the aneurysm was observed on a 7-month follow-up angiogram. These 2 cases illustrate the potential for use of flow diversion as a treatment strategy for feeding artery aneurysms associated with AVMs. Because of the need for dual antiplatelet medications after flow diversion in this patient population, however, this strategy should be used judiciously.

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Nam Yoon, Aatman Shah, William T. Couldwell, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

Skull base meningiomas are technically challenging tumors to treat because of their deep vascular supply that can preclude early devascularization during resection. Preoperative embolization of these arterial feeders is thought to decrease blood loss and facilitate resection; however, given the complex and varied anatomy of these skull base lesions, preoperative embolization is not without risk. It is essential for both endovascular and skull base neurosurgeons to understand these risks in light of the potential benefits. The authors review the vascular anatomy of skull base meningiomas, indications for preoperative devascularization, endovascular techniques, and published results regarding embolization of these lesions.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Michael Karsy, Richard H. Schmidt, Philipp Taussky, Min S. Park and Robert J. Bollo

The authors report the case of a previously healthy 6-month-old girl who presented with right arm and leg stiffening consistent with seizure activity. An initial CT scan of the head demonstrated acute subarachnoid hemorrhage in the basal cisterns extending into the left sylvian fissure. Computed tomography angiography demonstrated a 7 × 6 × 5–mm saccular aneurysm of the inferior M2 division of the left middle cerebral artery. The patient underwent left craniotomy and microsurgical clip ligation with wrapping of the aneurysm neck because the vessel appeared circumferentially dysplastic in the region of the aneurysm. Postoperative angiography demonstrated a small remnant, sluggish distal flow, but no significant cerebral vasospasm. Fifty-five days after the initial aneurysm rupture, the patient presented again with an acute intraparenchymal hemorrhage of the left anterior temporal lobe. Angiogram revealed a circumferentially dysplastic superior division of the M2 branch, with a new 5 × 4–mm saccular aneurysm distinct from the first, with 2 smaller aneurysms distal to the new ruptured aneurysm. Endovascular parent vessel occlusion with Onyx was performed. Genetic testing revealed a mutation of the MYH11. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of rapid de novo aneurysm formation in an infant with an MYH11 mutation. The authors review the patient's clinical presentation and management and comprehensively review the literature on this topic.

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Min S. Park, Michael Nanaszko, Matthew R. Sanborn, Karam Moon, Felipe C. Albuquerque and Cameron G. McDougall

OBJECT

The optimal strategy for use of the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED, ev3 Neurovascular) has not been clearly defined. The authors examined re-treatment rates after treatment with PED alone versus PED and adjunctive coil embolization (PED/coil).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined cerebral aneurysms treated with the PED from May 2011 to March 2014. Overall, 133 patients (25 men, 108 women; mean age 60.4 years, range 23–85 years) were treated for 140 aneurysms (mean size 11.8 ± 8.3 mm) requiring 224 PEDs (mean 1.7 PEDs per patient). Sixty-eight patients (13 men, 55 women) were treated with PED alone for 73 aneurysms (mean size 10.6 ± 9.2 mm) and 65 patients (12 men, 53 women) were treated with PED/coil for 67 aneurysms (mean size 12.8 ± 7.4 mm).

RESULTS

Eight aneurysms in 8 patients were re-treated in the PED-alone cohort versus only 1 aneurysm in 1 patient in the PED/coil cohort for re-treatment rates of 11.8% (8/68) and 1.5% (1/65), respectively (p = 0.03). Two patients in the PED-alone cohort were re-treated due to PED contraction, while the other 6 were re-treated for persistent filling of the aneurysms. The PED/coil patient experienced continued filling of a vertebrobasilar artery aneurysm. No aneurysms in either group ruptured after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

Adjunctive coil embolization during flow diversion with the PED resulted in a significantly lower re-treatment rate compared with PED alone, suggesting an added benefit with adjunctive coil embolization. This result may provide the basis for future evaluation with randomized, controlled trials.

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Craig Kilburg, J. Scott McNally, Adam de Havenon, Philipp Taussky, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

The evaluation and management of acute ischemic stroke has primarily relied on the use of conventional CT and MRI techniques as well as lumen imaging sequences such as CT angiography (CTA) and MR angiography (MRA). Several newer or less-established imaging modalities, including vessel wall MRI, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, and 4D CTA and MRA, are being developed to complement conventional CT and MRI techniques. Vessel wall MRI provides high-resolution analysis of both extracranial and intracranial vasculature to help identify previously occult lesions or characteristics of lesions that may portend a worse natural history. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography can be used in the acute setting as a minimally invasive way of identifying large vessel occlusions or monitoring the response to stroke treatment. It can also be used to assist in the workup for cryptogenic stroke or to diagnose a patent foramen ovale. Four-dimensional CTA and MRA provide a less invasive alternative to digital subtraction angiography to determine the extent of the clot burden and the degree of collateral blood flow in large vessel occlusions. Along with technological advances, these new imaging modalities are improving the diagnosis, workup, and management of acute ischemic stroke— roles that will continue to expand in the future.

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Jian Guan, Michael Karsy, Andrea A. Brock, Ilyas M. Eli, Holly K. Ledyard, Gregory W. J. Hawryluk and Min S. Park

OBJECTIVE

Hypovitaminosis D is highly prevalent among the general population. Studies have shown an association between hypovitaminosis D and multiple negative outcomes in critical care patients, but there has been no prospective evaluation of vitamin D in the neurological critical care population. The authors examined the impact of vitamin D deficiency on in-hospital mortality and a variety of secondary outcomes.

METHODS

The authors prospectively collected 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels of all patients admitted to the neurocritical care unit (NCCU) of a quaternary-care center over a 3-month period. Demographic data, illness acuity, in-hospital mortality, infection, and length of hospitalization were collected. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine the effects of vitamin D deficiency.

RESULTS

Four hundred fifteen patients met the inclusion criteria. In-hospital mortality was slightly worse (9.3% vs 4.5%; p = 0.059) among patients with deficient vitamin D (≤ 20 ng/dl). There was also a higher rate of urinary tract infection in patients with vitamin D deficiency (12.4% vs 4.2%; p = 0.002). For patients admitted to the NCCU on an emergency basis (n = 285), higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score II (OR 13.8, 95% CI 1.7–110.8; p = 0.014), and vitamin D deficiency (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.0–8.6; p = 0.042) were significantly associated with increased in-hospital mortality after adjusting for other factors.

CONCLUSIONS

In the subset of patients admitted to the NCCU on an emergency basis, vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with higher in-hospital mortality. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings and to investigate the role of vitamin D supplementation in these patients.

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Jian Guan, Michael Karsy, William T. Couldwell, Richard H. Schmidt, Philipp Taussky, Joel D. MacDonald and Min S. Park

OBJECTIVE

The choice between treating and observing unruptured intracranial aneurysms is often difficult, with little guidance on which variables should influence decision making on a patient-by-patient basis. Here, the authors compared demographic variables, aneurysm-related variables, and comorbidities in patients who received microsurgical or endovascular treatment and those who were conservatively managed to determine which factors push the surgeon toward recommending treatment.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients diagnosed with an unruptured intracranial aneurysm at their institution between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2016. These patients were dichotomized based on whether their aneurysm was treated. Demographic, geographic, socioeconomic, comorbidity, and aneurysm-related information was analyzed to assess which factors were associated with the decision to treat.

RESULTS

A total of 424 patients were identified, 163 who were treated surgically or endovascularly and 261 who were managed conservatively. In a multivariable model, an age < 65 years (OR 2.913, 95% CI 1.298–6.541, p = 0.010), a lower Charlson Comorbidity Index (OR 1.536, 95% CI 1.274–1.855, p < 0.001), a larger aneurysm size (OR 1.176, 95% CI 1.100–1.257, p < 0.001), multiple aneurysms (OR 2.093, 95% CI 1.121–3.907, p = 0.020), a white race (OR 2.288, 95% CI 1.245–4.204, p = 0.008), and living further from the medical center (OR 2.125, 95% CI 1.281–3.522, p = 0.003) were all associated with the decision to treat rather than observe.

CONCLUSIONS

Whereas several factors were expected to be considered in the decision to treat unruptured intracranial aneurysms, including age, Charlson Comorbidity Index, aneurysm size, and multiple aneurysms, other factors such as race and proximity to the medical center were unanticipated. Further studies are needed to identify such biases in patient treatment and improve treatment delineation based on patient-specific aneurysm rupture risk.