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Andrew Tarnaris, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins

Object

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) represents a treatable form of dementia. Recent estimates of the incidence of this condition are in the region of 5% of patients with dementia. The symptoms of NPH can vary among individuals and may be confused with those of patients with multi-infarct dementia, dementia of the Alzheimer type, or even Parkinson disease. Traditionally the diagnosis of NPH could only be confirmed postoperatively by a favorable outcome to surgical diversion of CSF. The object of this literature review was to examine the role of structural and functional imaging in providing biomarkers of favorable surgical outcome.

Methods

A Medline search was undertaken for the years 1980–2006, using the following terms: normal pressure hydrocephalus, adult hydrocephalus, chronic hydrocephalus, imaging, neuroimaging, imaging studies, outcomes, surgical outcomes, prognosis, prognostic value, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy.

Results

The query revealed 16 studies that correlated imaging with surgical outcomes offering accuracy results. Three studies fulfilled the statistical criteria of a biomarker. A dementia Alzheimer-type pattern on SPECT in patients with idiopathic NPH, the presence of CSF flow void on MR imaging, and the N-acetylaspartate/choline ratio in patients with the secondary form are able to predict surgical outcomes with high accuracy.

Conclusions

There is at present Level A evidence for using MR spectroscopy in patients with secondary NPH, and Level B evidence for using SPECT and phase-contrast MR imaging to select patients with idiopathic NPH for shunt placement. The studies, however, need to be repeated by other groups. The current work should act as a platform to design further studies with larger sample sizes.

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Neil L. Dorward, Olaf Alberti, James D. Palmer, Neil D. Kitchen and David G. T. Thomas

✓ The authors present the results of accuracy measurements, obtained in both laboratory phantom studies and an in vivo assessment, for a technique of frameless stereotaxy. An instrument holder was developed to facilitate stereotactic guidance and enable introduction of frameless methods to traditional frame-based procedures. The accuracy of frameless stereotaxy was assessed for images acquired using 0.5-tesla or 1.5-tesla magnetic resonance (MR) imaging or 2-mm axial, 3-mm axial, or 3-mm helical computerized tomography (CT) scanning. A clinical series is reported in which biopsy samples were obtained using a frameless stereotactic procedure, and the accuracy of these procedures was assessed using postoperative MR images and image fusion.

The overall mean error of phantom frameless stereotaxy was found to be 1.3 mm (standard deviation [SD] 0.6 mm). The mean error for CT-directed frameless stereotaxy was 1.1 mm (SD 0.5 mm) and that for MR image—directed procedures was 1.4 mm (SD 0.7 mm). The CT-guided frameless stereotaxy was significantly more accurate than MR image—directed stereotaxy (p = 0.0001). In addition, 2-mm axial CT-guided stereotaxy was significantly more accurate than 3-mm axial CT-guided stereotaxy (p = 0.025). In the clinical series of 21 frameless stereotactically obtained biopsies, all specimens yielded the appropriate diagnosis and no complications ensued. Early postoperative MR images were obtained in 16 of these cases and displacement of the biopsy site from the intraoperative target was determined by fusion of pre- and postoperative image data sets. The mean in vivo linear error of frameless stereotactic biopsy sampling was 2.3 mm (SD 1.9 mm). The mean in vivo Euclidean error was 4.8 mm (SD 2 mm). The implications of these accuracy measurements and of error in stereotaxy are discussed.

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Marco Schiariti, Pablo Goetz, Hussien El-Maghraby, Jignesh Tailor and Neil Kitchen

Object

Hemangiopericytomas are rare tumors that behave aggressively with a high rate of local recurrence and distant metastases. With the aim of determining the outcome and response to various treatment modalities, a series of 39 patients who underwent microsurgical resection for primary meningeal hemangiopericytoma over a 24-year period is presented.

Methods

Patients with hemangiopericytoma were identified from histopathology records and their medical records were analyzed retrospectively by 2 independent reviewers to collect data on surgical treatment, adjuvant therapy, postoperative course, local or distant recurrence, and follow-up.

Results

Of the 39 patients, 19 were male and 20 were female. Mean patient age was 44.1 years. Thirty-four tumors were intracranial and 5 were spinal. The mean follow-up period was 123 months. Twenty-eight patients developed local recurrence. The recurrence rate at 1, 5, and 15 years was 3.5%, 46%, and 92%, respectively. Extraneural metastasis occurred in 8 patients (26%) at an average of 123 months after initial surgery. Recurrences and metastases were treated by surgical excision, external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), chemotherapy, and/or stereotactic radiosurgery. Adjuvant EBRT following initial surgery was found to extend the disease-free interval from 154 months to 254 months, although it did not prevent the development of metastasis. In those patients with EBRT and complete resection, the mean recurrence-free interval was found to be 126.3 months longer (p = 0.04) and overall survival 126 months longer than without EBRT. Furthermore, adjusting for resection, patients undergoing EBRT had 0.33 times increased risk of recurrence compared with those who did not (p = 0.03). A majority of patients remained able to live independently despite revision surgery for recurrence.

Conclusions

The mean follow-up of this patient series represents the longest follow-up duration published to date and demonstrates extended survival in a significant number of patients with hemangiopericytoma. Gross-total resection followed by adjuvant EBRT provides patients with the highest probability of an increased recurrence-free interval and overall survival. Prolonged survival justifies long-term follow-up and aggressive treatment of initial, recurrent, and metastatic disease.

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Ahmed K. Toma, Muhammad Dherijha, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins

Object

The lumboperitoneal (LP) shunt with the adjustable PS Medical Strata NSC LP valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter was introduced in the authors' unit in 2007. The object of this study was to audit the unit's experience with this new shunt system.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of the clinical records of patients who underwent Strata NSC LP shunt insertion. Demographic and clinical data as well as information about complications and revisions were reported.

Results

Between August 2007 and November 2009, 20 patients underwent placement of an LP shunt with an adjustable Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter at the authors' institution. Their mean age was 40.3 years and the mean duration of follow-up was 12 months. Preoperatively, 18 patients had headache and 15 patients had visual signs and symptoms. Fourteen of the 18 patients with preoperative headache did not complain of headache postoperatively, and 4 had headache that was found not to be related to shunt function. Two of the patients with preoperative visual complaints had ongoing visual problems postoperatively. None of the patients had infection or subdural hematoma. The only overdrainage symptoms occurred in association with spontaneous readjustment of the valve and resolved when the valve was reset.

Thirteen patients (65%) did not require shunt revision. Seven patients (35%) required 13 shunt exploration or revision procedures, mainly due to distal obstruction. Placement of an LP shunt failed to completely resolve the raised intracranial pressure problem in 2 patients.

Conclusions

The use of the Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter is effective in treating pseudotumor cerebri and is beneficial in terms of markedly reducing overdrainage complications compared with other reported series of cases in which an LP shunt has been placed. However, the use of the Strata NSC valve and small lumen peritoneal catheter did not have a marked impact on other causes of shunt failure, particularly distal obstruction.

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Habib E. Ellamushi, Joan P. Grieve, H. Rolf Jäger and Neil D. Kitchen

Object. Several factors are known to increase the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and spontaneous intracerebral hematoma. However, information on the roles of these same factors in the formation of multiple aneurysms is less well defined. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with an increased risk of multiple aneurysm formation.

Methods. A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients with a diagnosis of SAH and intracranial aneurysms who were admitted to a single institution between 1985 and 1997 was undertaken. The authors examined associations between risk factors (patient age and sex, menopausal state of female patients, hypertension, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, and family history of cerebrovascular disease) and the presence of multiple aneurysms by using the Fisher exact test and logistic regression analysis. Of 400 patients admitted with a diagnosis of cerebral aneurysms, 392 were included in the study (287 women and 105 men). Two hundred eighty-four patients harbored a single aneurysm and 108 harbored multiple aneurysms (2 aneurysms in 68 patients, three aneurysms in 22 patients, four aneurysms in 13 patients, and five aneurysms in five patients).

Conclusions. Statistical analysis revealed that, as opposed to the occurrence of a single aneurysm, there was a significant association between the presence of multiple aneurysms and hypertension (p < 0.001), cigarette smoking (p < 0.001), family history of cerebrovascular disease (p < 0.001), female sex (p < 0.001), and postmenopausal state in female patients (p < 0.001).

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Ahmed K. Toma, Andrew Tarnaris, Neil D. Kitchen and Laurence D. Watkins

Object

Managing symptomatic ventriculoperitoneal shunts with no clear evidence of shunt malfunction either clinically or radiologically can be a difficult task. The aim of this study was to assess intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring as a method of investigating shunt function.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 38 continuous ICP monitoring procedures done in patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunts and suspected shunt malfunction.

Results

Thirty-eight procedures were performed in 31 patients between January 2005 and October 2008. Sixteen recordings were normal, 6 revealed overdrainage or low pressure, 11 indicated underdrainage or high pressure, and 5 showed variable shunt function. Based on the findings after 20 procedures (53%), patients were treated conservatively: 4 by readjusting the valve setting and 16 by referral to the headache neurologist for medical treatment. Forty-five percent of the conservatively treated patients improved. Surgical exploration was undertaken following 18 procedures (47%); 72% of the surgically treated patients improved.

Conclusions

Continuous ICP monitoring using an intraparenchymal probe is a safe and effective method of investigating adult hydrocephalus.

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Harith Akram, Bilal Mirza, Neil Kitchen and Joanna M. Zakrzewska

Object

The aim of this study was to design a checklist with a scoring system for reporting on studies of surgical interventions for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and to validate it by a review of the recent literature.

Methods

A checklist with a scoring system, the Surgical Trigeminal Neuralgia Score (STNS), was devised partially based on the validated STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria and customized for TN after a literature review and then applied to a series of articles. These articles were identified using a prespecified MEDLINE and Embase search covering the period from 2008 to 2010. Of the 584 articles found, 59 were studies of interventional procedures for TN that fulfilled the inclusion criteria and 56 could be obtained in full. The STNS was then applied independently by 3 of the authors.

Results

The maximum STNS came to 30, and was reliable and reproducible when used by the 3 authors who performed the scoring. The range of scores was 6–23.5, with a mean of 14 for all the journals. The impact factor scores of the journals in which the papers were published ranged from 0 to 4.8. Twenty-four of the studies were published in the Journal of Neurosurgery or in Neurosurgery. Studies published in neurosurgical journals ranked higher on the STNS scale than those published in nonneurosurgical journals. There was no statistically significant correlation between STNS and impact factors. Stereotactic radiosurgery (n = 25) and microvascular decompression (n = 15) were the most commonly reported procedures.

The diagnostic criteria were stated in 35% of the studies, and 4 studies reported subtypes of TN. An increasing number of studies (46%) used the recommended Kaplan-Meier methodology for pain survival outcomes. The follow-up period was unclear in 8 studies, and 26 reported follow-ups of more than 5 years. Complications were reported fairly consistently but the temporal course was not always indicated. Direct interview, telephone conversation, and questionnaires were used to measure outcomes. Independent assessment of outcome was only clearly stated in 7 studies. Only 2 studies used the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey to measure quality of life and 4 studies reported on the severity of preoperative pain. The Barrow Neurological Institute pain questionnaire was the most commonly used outcome measure (n = 13), followed by the visual analog scale.

Conclusions

Similar to the STROBE criteria that provide a checklist of items that should be included in reports of observational studies in general, the authors' suggested checklist for the STNS could help editors and reviewers ensure that quality reports are published, and could prove useful for colleagues when reporting their results specifically on the surgical management of TN. It would help the patient and clinicians make a decision about selecting the appropriate neurosurgical procedure.

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Christopher Uff, Daniel Frith, Catriona Harrison, Michael Powell and Neil Kitchen

Although he was not the first man to operate on the brain, Sir Victor Horsley was the world's first surgeon appointed to a hospital post to perform brain surgery, which happened in 1886 at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. The authors examined the patient records between 1886 and 1899 and found 151 operations performed by Sir Victor Horsley at the National Hospital, including craniotomies, laminectomies, and nerve divisions. The authors present the outcome data and case illustrations of cerebral tumor resections and laminectomies from the nineteenth century. Outcomes and notable pioneering achievements are highlighted.

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Fiona A. Wilkes, Harith Akram, Jonathan A. Hyam, Neil D. Kitchen, Marwan I. Hariz and Ludvic Zrinzo

OBJECT

Bibliometrics are the methods used to quantitatively analyze scientific literature. In this study, bibliometrics were used to quantify the scientific output of neurosurgical departments throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

METHODS

A list of neurosurgical departments was obtained from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons website. Individual departments were contacted for an up-to-date list of consultant (attending) neurosurgeons practicing in these departments. Scopus was used to determine the h-index and m-quotient for each neurosurgeon. Indices were measured by surgeon and by departmental mean and total. Additional information was collected about the surgeon's sex, title, listed superspecialties, higher research degrees, and year of medical qualification.

RESULTS

Data were analyzed for 315 neurosurgeons (25 female). The median h-index and m-quotient were 6.00 and 0.41, respectively. These were significantly higher for professors (h-index 21.50; m-quotient 0.71) and for those with an additional MD or PhD (11.0; 0.57). There was no significant difference in h-index, m-quotient, or higher research degrees between the sexes. However, none of the 16 British neurosurgery professors were female. Neurosurgeons who specialized in functional/epilepsy surgery ranked highest in terms of publication productivity. The 5 top-scoring departments were those in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge; St. George's Hospital, London; Great Ormond Street Hospital, London; National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London; and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

CONCLUSIONS

The h-index is a useful bibliometric marker, particularly when comparing between studies and individuals. The m-quotient reduces bias toward established researchers. British academic neurosurgeons face considerable challenges, and women remain underrepresented in both clinical and academic neurosurgery in Britain and Ireland.

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Neil L. Dorward, Olaf Alberti, Binti Velani, Frans A. Gerritsen, William F. J. Harkness, Neil D. Kitchen and David G. T. Thomas

Object. This prospective study was conducted to quantify brain shifts during open cranial surgery, to determine correlations between these shifts and image characteristics, and to assess the impact of postimaging brain distortion on neuronavigation.

Methods. During 48 operations, movements of the cortex on opening, the deep tumor margin, and the cortex at completion were measured relative to the preoperative image position with the aid of an image-guidance system. Bone surface offset was used to assess system accuracy and correct for registration errors. Preoperative images were examined for the presence of edema and to determine tumor volume, midline shift, and depth of the lesion below the skin surface. Results were analyzed for all cases together and separately for four tumor groups: 13 meningiomas, 18 gliomas, 11 nonglial intraaxial lesions, and six skull base lesions.

For all 48 cases the mean shift of the cortex after dural opening was 4.6 mm, shift of the deep tumor margin was 5.1 mm, and shift of the cortex at completion was 6.7 mm. Each tumor group displayed unique patterns of shift, with significantly greater shift at depth in meningiomas than gliomas (p = 0.007) and significantly less shift in skull base cases than other groups (p = 0.003). Whereas the preoperative image characteristics correlating with shift of the cortex on opening were the presence of edema and depth of the tumor below skin surface, predictors of shift at depth were the presence of edema, the lesion volume, midline shift, and magnitude of shift of the cortex on opening.

Conclusions. This study quantified intraoperative brain distortion, determined the different behavior of tumors in four pathological groups, and identified preoperative predictors of shift with which the reliability of neuronavigation may be estimated.