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Narlin Beaty, Justin Slavin, Cara Diaz, Kyle Zeleznick, David Ibrahimi and Charles A. Sansur

Object

Gunshot wounds (GSWs) to the cervical spine have been examined in a limited number of case series, and operative management of this traumatic disease has been sparsely discussed. The current literature supports and the authors hypothesize that patients without neurological deficit need neither surgical fusion nor decompression. Patients with GSWs and neurological deficits, however, pose a greater management challenge. The authors have compiled the experience of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland, over the past 12 years, creating the largest series of such injuries, with a total number of 40 civilian patients needing neurosurgical evaluation. The current analysis examines presenting bone injury, surgical indication, presenting neurological examination, and neurological outcome. In this study, the authors characterize the incidence, severity, and recovery potential of cervical GSWs. The rate of unstable fractures requiring surgical intervention is documented. A detailed discussion of surgical indications with a treatment algorithm for cervical instability is offered.

Methods

A total of 144 cervical GSWs were retrospectively reviewed. Of these injuries, 40 had documented neurological deficits. No neurosurgical consultation was requested for patients without deficit. Epidemiological and clinical information was collected on patients with neurological deficit, including age, sex, timing, indication, type of surgery, initial examination after resuscitation, follow-up examination, and imaging data.

Results

Twenty-eight patients (70%) presented with complete neurological deficits and 12 patients (30%) presented with incomplete injuries. Fourteen (35%) of the 40 patients underwent neurosurgical intervention. Twelve patients (30%) required intervention for cervical instability. Seven patients required internal fixation involving 4 anterior fusions, 2 posterior fusions, and 1 combined approach. Five patients were managed with halo immobilization. Two patients underwent decompression alone for neurological deterioration and persistent compressive injury, both of whom experienced marked neurological recovery. Follow-up was obtained in 92% of cases. Three patients undergoing stabilization converted at least 1 American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) grade and the remaining operative cases experienced small ASIA motor score improvement. Eighteen patients underwent inpatient MRI. No patient suffered complications or neurological deterioration related to retained metal. Three of 28 patients presenting with AIS Grade A improved to Grade B. For those 12 patients with incomplete injury, 1 improved from AIS Grade C to D, and 3 improved from Grade D to E.

Conclusions

Spinal cord injury from GSWs often results in severe neurological deficits. In this series, 30% of these patients with deficits required intervention for instability. This is the first series that thoroughly documents AIS improvement in this patient population. Adherence to the proposed treatment algorithm may optimize neurological outcome and spine stability.

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J. Marc Simard, E. Francois Aldrich, David Schreibman, Robert F. James, Adam Polifka and Narlin Beaty

Object

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) predisposes to delayed neurological deficits, including stroke and cognitive and neuropsychological abnormalities. Heparin is a pleiotropic drug that antagonizes many of the pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in secondary brain injury after aSAH.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis in 86 consecutive patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH due to rupture of a supratentorial aneurysm who presented within 36 hours and were treated by surgical clipping within 48 hours of their ictus. Forty-three patients were managed postoperatively with a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion (Maryland low-dose intravenous heparin infusion protocol: 8 U/kg/hr progressing over 36 hours to 10 U/kg/hr) beginning 12 hours after surgery and continuing until Day 14 after the ictus. Forty-three control patients received conventional subcutaneous heparin twice daily as deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis.

Results

Patients in the 2 groups were balanced in terms of baseline characteristics. In the heparin group, activated partial thromboplastin times were normal to mildly elevated; no clinically significant hemorrhages or instances of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or deep vein thrombosis were encountered. In the control group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy (induced hypertension, selective intraarterial verapamil, and angioplasty) was 20 (47%) of 43 patients, and 9 (21%) of 43 patients experienced a delayed infarct on CT scanning. In the heparin group, the incidence of clinical vasospasm requiring rescue therapy was 9% (4 of 43, p = 0.0002), and no patient suffered a delayed infarct (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

In patients with Fisher Grade 3 aSAH whose aneurysm is secured, postprocedure use of a low-dose intravenous heparin infusion may be safe and beneficial.

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Geoffrey P. Colby, Bowen Jiang, Matthew T. Bender, Narlin B. Beaty, Erick M. Westbroek, Risheng Xu, Li-Mei Lin, Jessica K. Campos, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang, Alan R. Cohen and Alexander L. Coon

Intracranial aneurysms in the pediatric population are rare entities. The authors recently treated a 9-month-old infant with a 19-mm recurrent, previously ruptured, and coil-embolized left middle cerebral artery (MCA) pseudoaneurysm, which was treated definitively with single-stage Pipeline-assisted coil embolization. The patient was 5 months old when she underwent resection of a left temporal Grade 1 desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma at an outside institution, which was complicated by left MCA injury with a resultant 9-mm left M1 pseudoaneurysm. Within a month, the patient had two aneurysmal rupture events and underwent emergency craniectomy for decompression and evacuation of subdural hematoma. The pseudoaneurysm initially underwent coil embolization; however, follow-up MR angiography (MRA) revealed aneurysm recanalization with saccular enlargement to 19 mm. The patient underwent successful flow diversion–assisted coil embolization at 9 months of age. At 7 months after the procedure, follow-up MRA showed complete aneurysm occlusion without evidence of in-stent thrombosis or stenosis. Experience with flow diverters in the pediatric population is still in its early phases, with the youngest reported patient being 22 months old. In this paper the authors report the first case of such a technique in an infant, whom they believe to be the youngest patient to undergo cerebral flow diversion treatment.

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Geoffrey P. Colby, Matthew T. Bender, Li-Mei Lin, Narlin Beaty, Justin M. Caplan, Bowen Jiang, Erick M. Westbroek, Bijan Varjavand, Jessica K. Campos, Judy Huang, Rafael J. Tamargo and Alexander L. Coon

OBJECTIVE

The second-generation Pipeline embolization device (PED), Flex, has several design upgrades, including improved opening and the ability to be resheathed, in comparison with the original device (PED classic). The authors hypothesized that Flex is associated with a lower rate of major complications.

METHODS

A prospective, IRB-approved, single-institution database was analyzed for all patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated by flow diversion. The PED classic was used from August 2011 to January 2015, and the Pipeline Flex has been used since February 2015.

RESULTS

A total of 568 PED procedures (252 classic and 316 Flex) were performed for anterior circulation aneurysms. The average aneurysm size was 6.8 mm. Patients undergoing treatment with the Flex device had smaller aneurysms (p = 0.006) and were more likely to have undergone previous treatments (p = 0.001). Most aneurysms originated along the internal carotid artery (89% classic and 75% Flex) but there were more anterior cerebral artery (18%) and middle cerebral artery (7%) deployments with Flex (p = 0.001). Procedural success was achieved in 96% of classic and 98% of Flex cases (p = 0.078). Major morbidity or death occurred in 3.5% of cases overall: 5.6% of classic cases, and 1.9% of Flex cases (p = 0.019). On multivariate logistic regression, predictors of major complications were in situ thrombosis (OR 4.3, p = 0.006), classic as opposed to Flex device (OR 3.7, p = 0.008), and device deployment in the anterior cerebral artery or middle cerebral artery as opposed to the internal carotid artery (OR 3.5, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion of anterior circulation cerebral aneurysms is associated with an overall low rate of major complications. The complication rate is significantly lower since the introduction of the second-generation PED (Flex).