Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective management strategy for properly selected patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, the risk of postradiosurgical radiation-related injury is higher in patients with large AVMs. Multistaged volumetric management of large AVMs was undertaken to limit the radiation exposure to the surrounding normal brain. This strategy offers a promising method for obtaining high AVM obliteration rates with minimal normal tissue damage. The use of embolization as an adjunctive method in the treatment of large AVMs remains controversial. Unfortunately, staged-volume radiosurgery (SVR) has a number of potential pitfalls that affect the outcome. The aim of this article is to highlight the role of SVR in the treatment of large AVMs, to discuss the outcome comparing it to other treatment modalities, and to discuss the potential improvement that could be introduced to this method of treatment.
Kenan AlKhalili, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour
Badih Daou, Christine Hammer, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris
Dissection of the carotid and vertebral arteries can result in the development of aneurysmal dilations. These dissecting pseudoaneurysms can enlarge and cause symptoms. The objective of this study is to provide insight into the progression of dissecting pseudoaneurysms and the treatments required to manage them.
A review of the electronic medical records was conducted to detect patients with carotid and vertebral artery dissection. An imaging review was conducted to identify patients with dissecting pseudoaneurysms. One hundred twelve patients with 120 dissecting pseudoaneurysms were identified. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the factors associated with undergoing further interventions other than medical treatment, pseudoaneurysm enlargement, pseudoaneurysms resulting in ischemic and nonischemic symptoms, and clinical outcome.
Overall, 18.3% of pseudoaneurysms were intracranial and 81.7% were extracranial, and the average size was 7.3 mm. The mean follow-up time was 29.3 months; 3.3% of patients had a recurrent transient ischemic attack, no patients had a recurrent stroke, and 14.2% of patients had recurrence of nonischemic symptoms (headache, neck pain, Horner syndrome, or cranial nerve palsy). Follow-up imaging demonstrated that 13.8% of pseudoaneurysms had enlarged, 30.2% had healed, and 56% had remained stable. In total, 20.8% of patients had an intervention other than medical treatment. Interventions included stenting, coiling, flow diversion, and clipping. Predictors of intervention included increasing size, size > 10 mm, location in the C2 (petrous) segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA), younger age, hyperlipidemia, pseudoaneurysm enlargement, and any symptom development. Significant predictors of enlargement included smoking, history of trauma, C2 location, hyperlipidemia, and larger initial pseudoaneurysm size. Predictors of pseudoaneurysm resulting in recurrent ischemic and nonischemic symptoms included increasing size and location in the petrous segment of the ICA. Smoking was a predictor of unfavorable outcome.
Dissecting pseudoaneurysms have a benign course and most will not cause symptoms or enlarge on follow-up. Medical treatment can be a sufficient, initial treatment for dissecting pseudoaneurysms.
L. Fernando Gonzalez, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Pascal Jabbour, Aaron S. Dumont and Robert H. Rosenwasser
Multiple approaches have been used to treat carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs). The transvenous approach has become a popular and effective route. Onyx is a valuable tool in today's endovascular armamentarium. The authors describe the use of a balloon-assisted technique in the treatment of CCFs with Onyx and assess its feasibility, utility, and safety.
The authors searched their prospectively maintained database for CCFs embolized using Onyx with the assistance of a compliant balloon placed in the internal carotid artery (ICA).
Five patients were treated between July 2009 and July 2011 at the authors' institution. A balloon helped to identify the fistulous point, served as a buttress for coils, protected from inadvertent arterial embolizations, and prevented Onyx and coils from obscuring the ICA during the course of embolization. No balloon-related complications were noted in any of the 5 cases. All 5 fistulas were completely obliterated at the end of the procedure. Four patients had available clinical follow-ups, and all 4 showed reversal of nerve palsies.
Balloon-assisted Onyx embolization of CCFs offers a powerful combination that prevents inadvertent migration of the embolic material into the arterial system, facilitates visualization of the ICA, and serves as a buttress for coils deployed in the cavernous sinus through the fistulous point. Despite adding another layer of technical complexity, an intraarterial balloon can provide valuable assistance in the treatment of CCFs.
Badih Daou, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Guilherme Barros, Lina Ya'qoub, John Do, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour
With the increasing number of aneurysms treated with endovascular coiling, more recurrences are being encountered. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of microsurgical clipping in the treatment of recurrent, previously coiled cerebral aneurysms and to identify risk factors that can affect the outcomes of this procedure.
One hundred eleven patients with recurrent aneurysms whose lesions were managed by surgical clipping between January 2002 and October 2014 were identified. The rates of aneurysm occlusion, retreatment, complications, and good clinical outcome were retrospectively determined. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with these outcomes.
The mean patient age was 50.5 years, the mean aneurysm size was 7 mm, and 97.3% of aneurysms were located in the anterior circulation. The mean follow-up was 22 months. Complete aneurysm occlusion, as assessed by intraoperative angiography, was achieved in 97.3% of aneurysms (108 of 111 patients). Among patients, 1.8% (2 of 111 patients) had a recurrence after clipping. Retreatment was required in 4.5% of patients (5 of 111) after clipping. Major complications were observed in 8% of patients and mortality in 2.7%. Ninety percent of patients had a good clinical outcome. Aneurysm size (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.08–1.7; p = 0.009) and location in the posterior circulation were significantly associated with higher complications. All 3 patients who had coil extraction experienced a postoperative stroke. Aneurysm size (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.02–1.45; p = 0.025) and higher number of interventions prior to clipping (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.3–21.4; p = 0.019) were significant predictors of poor outcome. An aneurysm size > 7 mm was a significant predictor of incomplete obliteration and retreatment (p = 0.018).
Surgical clipping is safe and effective in treating recurrent, previously coiled cerebral aneurysms. Aneurysm size, location, and number of previous coiling procedures are important factors to consider in the management of these aneurysms.
Thana Theofanis, Nohra Chalouhi, Richard Dalyai, Robert M. Starke, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris
The authors conducted a study to assess the safety and efficacy of microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and determine predictors of complications.
A total of 264 patients with cerebral AVMs were treated with microsurgical resection between 1994 and 2010 at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. A review of patient data was performed, including initial hemorrhage, clinical presentation, Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, treatment modalities, clinical outcomes, and obliteration rates. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to determine predictors of operative complications.
Of the 264 patients treated with microsurgery, 120 (45%) patients initially presented with hemorrhage. There were 27 SM Grade I lesions (10.2%), 101 Grade II lesions (38.3%), 96 Grade III lesions (36.4%), 31 Grade IV lesions (11.7%), and 9 Grade V lesions (3.4%). Among these patients, 102 (38.6%) had undergone prior endovascular embolization. In all patients, resection resulted in complete obliteration of the AVM. Complications occurred in 19 (7.2%) patients and resulted in permanent neurological deficits in 5 (1.9%). In multivariate analysis, predictors of complications were increasing AVM size (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.5–6.6; p = 0.001), increasing number of embolizations (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2; p = 0.01), and unruptured AVMs (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1–7.2; p = 0.05).
Microsurgical resection of AVMs is highly efficient and can be undertaken with low rates of morbidity at high-volume neurovascular centers. Unruptured and larger AVMs were associated with higher complication rates.
James D. Rossen, Nohra Chalouhi, Shafik N. Wassef, Jacob Thomas, Taylor J. Abel, Pascal M. Jabbour, David K. Kung and David M. Hasan
The optimal antiplatelet medication protocol for prevention of thrombotic complications after stent-assisted coil embolization of cerebral aneurysms is unclear. Early cessation of antiplatelet agents may be associated with an increased risk of cerebral ischemic events. In this study, the authors assess the incidence of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) following discontinuation of a 6-week course of clopidogrel in patients with cerebral aneurysms treated with stent-assisted techniques.
A retrospective review was conducted in all patients with cerebral aneurysms undergoing stent-assisted coil embolization or stent-in-stent flow diversion at the University of Iowa during a 24-month period. The antiplatelet protocol was 81 mg aspirin and 75 mg clopidogrel daily for 6 weeks, followed by 325 mg aspirin daily indefinitely. The incidence of stroke or TIA was determined by a retrospective review of medical records generated during a 3-month period following discontinuation of clopidogrel.
A total of 154 patients underwent aneurysm treatment with stent techniques during this interval. Documentation of neurological follow-up 3 months after discontinuation of a 6-week clopidogrel treatment was available in 121 (78.6%) of 154 patients. Of these 121 patients, 114 were treated with stent-assisted coil embolization and 7 with stent-in-stent flow diversion. Six patients (5%) suffered an ischemic event after cessation of clopidogrel, with 2 events occurring within the first 2 weeks. Specifically, the rate of ischemic events was 5 (4.3%) of 114 in the “stent-coil” treatment group and 1 (14.3%) of 7 in the stent-in-stent group. Treatment had been performed in the setting of a subarachnoid hemorrhage in 1 patient. Atypical aneurysm features and technical factors predisposing to thrombotic events were found in all but one of these patients. Similarly, cardiovascular risk factors were present in 5 of the 6 patients in whom ischemic events developed after clopidogrel discontinuation.
Clopidogrel discontinuation is associated with a 5% risk of ischemic events in patients treated with stent techniques. Any stroke related to clopidogrel discontinuation is avoidable, and longer treatment is therefore clearly necessary. Patients with cardiovascular risk factors, high-risk aneurysm features, and those undergoing stent-in-stent flow diversion might benefit the most from longer clopidogrel therapy.
Nohra Chalouhi, Aaron S. Dumont, Ciro Randazzo, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour
With the widespread use of brain imaging studies, neurosurgeons have seen a marked increase in the number of incidental intracranial lesions, including vascular abnormalities. Specifically, the detection of incidentally discovered aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, cavernous angiomas, developmental venous anomalies, and capillary telangiectasias has increased. The best management strategy for most of these lesions is controversial. Treatment options include observation, open surgery, endovascular procedures, and radiosurgery. Multiple factors should be taken into account when discussing treatment indications, including the natural history of the disease and the risk of the treatment. In this article, the authors focus on the natural history of these lesions and the risk of the treatment, and they give recommendations regarding the most appropriate management strategy based on the current evidence in the literature and their experience with intracranial vascular abnormalities.
Elias Atallah, Hassan Saad, Kimon Bekelis, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, David Hasan, Jorge Eller, David Stidd, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour
Thromboembolic complications continue to be encountered with Pipeline embolization devices (PEDs) despite routine clopidogrel/aspirin antiplatelet therapy. This study examined the safety and efficacy of prasugrel in the management of clopidogrel-resistant patients treated for cerebral aneurysms.
Four hundred thirty-seven consecutive patients were identified between January 2011 and May 2016. Patients allergic, or having less than 30% platelet inhibition, to a daily 75-mg dose of clopidogrel received 10 mg of prasugrel daily (n = 20) or 90 mg of ticagrelor twice daily (n = 2). The mean (± SD) follow-up duration was 15.8 ± 12.4 months. The primary outcome was the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score registered before discharge and at each follow-up visit. To control confounding, multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression and propensity score conditioning were used.
Twenty-six (5.9%) of 437 patients presented with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The mean patient age was 56.3 years, and 62 were women (14.2%). One of the 7 patients lost to follow-up received prasugrel. One patient was allergic to clopidogrel and prasugrel simultaneously. All patients receiving prasugrel or ticagrelor (n = 22) had an mRS score ≤ 2 on their latest follow-up visit (mean score 0.67 ± 1.15). In a multivariate analysis, clopidogrel did not affect the mRS score on last follow-up (p = 0.14). Multivariable logistic regression showed that clopidogrel was not associated with an increased long-term recurrence rate (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.01–2.70, p = 0.21), an increased thromboembolic complication rate (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.12–1.67, p = 0.24), or an increased hemorrhagic event rate (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.91–1.64, p = 0.20). None of the patients receiving prasugrel or ticagrelor died or suffered a long-term recurrence or a hemorrhagic event; only 1 patient suffered from mild aphasia subsequent to a thromboembolic event. Three patients taking clopidogrel died during the study: 2 from acute SAH and 1 from intraparenchymal hemorrhage. Clopidogrel was not associated with an increased mortality rate (OR 2.18, 95% CI 0.11–43.27, p = 0.61). The same associations were present in propensity score–adjusted models.
In a cohort of patients treated with PEDs, prasugrel (10 mg/day) was a safe alternative to clopidogrel-resistant or clopidogrel-allergic patients, or nonresponders.
Purvee D. Patel, Nohra Chalouhi, Elias Atallah, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, David Hasan, Hekmat Zarzour, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour
The Pipeline embolization device (PED) is the most widely used flow diverter in endovascular neurosurgery. In 2011, the device received FDA approval for the treatment of large and giant aneurysms in the internal carotid artery extending from the petrous to the superior hypophyseal segments. However, as popularity of the device grew and neurosurgeons gained more experience, its use has extended to several other indications. Some of these off-label uses include previously treated aneurysms, acutely ruptured aneurysms, small aneurysms, distal circulation aneurysms, posterior circulation aneurysms, fusiform aneurysms, dissecting aneurysms, pseudoaneurysms, and even carotid-cavernous fistulas. The authors present a literature review of the safety and efficacy of the PED in these off-label uses.
Shannon Hann, Nohra Chalouhi, Ravichandra Madineni, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Todd J. Albert, James Harrop and Joshua E. Heller
Adult degenerative cervical kyphosis is a debilitating disease that often requires complex surgical management. Young spine surgeons, residents, and fellows are often confused as to which surgical approach to choose due to lack of experience, absence of a systematic method of surgical management, and today's plethora of information regarding surgical techniques. Although surgeons may be able to perform anterior, posterior, or combined (360°) approaches to the cervical spine, many struggle to rationally choose an appropriate approach for deformity correction. The authors introduce an algorithm based on morphology and pathology of adult cervical kyphosis to help the surgeon select the appropriate approach when performing cervical deformity surgery. Cervical deformities are categorized into 5 different prevalent morphological types encountered in clinical settings. A surgical approach tailored to each category/type of deformity is then discussed, with a concrete case illustration provided for each. Preoperative assessment of kyphosis, determination of the goal for surgery, and the complications associated with cervical deformity correction are also summarized. This article's goal is to assist with understanding the big picture for surgical management in cervical spinal deformity.