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Marco Cenzato, Davide Colistra, Giorgia Iacopino, Christian Raftopoulos, Ulrich Sure, Marcos Tatagiba, Robert F. Spetzler, Alexander N. Konovalov, Andriy Smolanka, Volodymir Smolanka, Roberto Stefini, Carlo Bortolotti, Paolo Ferroli, Giampietro Pinna, Angelo Franzini, Philipp Dammann, Georgios Naros, Davide Boeris, Paolo Mantovani, Domenico Lizio, Mariangela Piano, and Enrica Fava

OBJECTIVE

In this paper, the authors aimed to illustrate how Holmes tremor (HT) can occur as a delayed complication after brainstem cavernoma resection despite strict adherence to the safe entry zones (SEZs).

METHODS

After operating on 2 patients with brainstem cavernoma at the Great Metropolitan Hospital Niguarda in Milan and noticing a similar pathological pattern postoperatively, the authors asked 10 different neurosurgery centers around the world to identify similar cases, and a total of 20 were gathered from among 1274 cases of brainstem cavernomas. They evaluated the tremor, cavernoma location, surgical approach, and SEZ for every case. For the 2 cases at their center, they also performed electromyographic and accelerometric recordings of the tremor and evaluated the post-operative tractographic representation of the neuronal pathways involved in the tremorigenesis. After gathering data on all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, they performed a statistical analysis to determine if the location of the cavernoma is a potential predicting factor for the onset of HT.

RESULTS

From the analysis of all 20 cases with HT, it emerged that this highly debilitating tremor can occur as a delayed complication in patients whose postoperative clinical course has been excellent and in whom surgical access has strictly adhered to the SEZs. Three of the patients were subsequently effectively treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS), which resulted in complete or almost complete tremor regression. From the statistical analysis of all 1274 brainstem cavernomas, it was determined that a cavernoma location in the midbrain was significantly associated with the onset of HT (p < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite strict adherence to SEZs, the use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, and the immediate success of a resective surgery, HT, a severe neurological disorder, can occur as a delayed complication after resection of brainstem cavernomas. A cavernoma location in the midbrain is a significant predictive factor for the onset of HT. Further anatomical and neurophysiological studies will be necessary to find clues to prevent this complication.

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Barbara Zarino, Elisa Verrua, Emanuele Ferrante, Elisa Sala, Giulia Carosi, Claudia Giavoli, Andreea L. Serban, Giulia Del Sindaco, Martina A. Sirtori, Giulio A. Bertani, Paolo Rampini, Giorgio G. Carrabba, Maura Arosio, Anna Spada, Marco Locatelli, and Giovanna Mantovani

OBJECTIVE

Some studies have highlighted psychological and neuropsychological difficulties and a potential reduction in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with pituitary tumors, despite hormone deficits or excess. To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first prospective longitudinal case-control study with the aim of simultaneously testing whether HRQOL and psychiatric and neuropsychological disabilities are related to neural dysfunction due to hypercortisolism per se, or tumor mass and/or surgery in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD). The authors evaluated a homogeneous cohort of patients with CD and nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) before and after neurosurgery and compared these patients with healthy controls.

METHODS

Twenty patients (10 with NFPA and 10 with CD) were evaluated using 3 validated questionnaires (SF-36, Beck Depression Inventory–II [BDI-II], and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–II [MMPI-II]) to assess HRQOL and psychological status preoperatively and 12 months after neurosurgery. Neuropsychological tests were assessed preoperatively, 3–7 days postoperatively, and 12 months postoperatively. Twenty healthy matched controls were recruited.

RESULTS

Preoperatively, the NFPA and CD subgroups had worse HRQOL scores than controls on the basis of SF-36 scores, although the NFPA subgroup experienced significant recovery 12 months postoperatively. Preoperatively, CD patients had depressive symptoms according to the BDI-II and MMPI-II that persisted 12 months postoperatively, together with social introversion and hypochondriasis; NFPA patients were similar to controls except for hypochondriasis scores that were clinically significant at all timepoints. Preoperatively and 3–7 days postoperatively, both subgroups showed significant neuropsychological disabilities compared with controls, but only the CD subgroup did not completely recover over time.

CONCLUSIONS

HRQOL and neuropsychological impairments were observed in all patients at early timepoints, independent of hypercortisolism, tumor mass, and successful surgery. Over time, CD patients showed persistent changes in HRQOL, in particular in social activities. In this light, CD seems to have a strong impact on HRQOL and to be associated with more psychological and neuropsychological comorbidities than NFPA.

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Barbara Zarino, Elisa Verrua, Emanuele Ferrante, Elisa Sala, Giulia Carosi, Claudia Giavoli, Andreea L. Serban, Giulia Del Sindaco, Martina A. Sirtori, Giulio A. Bertani, Paolo Rampini, Giorgio G. Carrabba, Maura Arosio, Anna Spada, Marco Locatelli, and Giovanna Mantovani

OBJECTIVE

Some studies have highlighted psychological and neuropsychological difficulties and a potential reduction in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with pituitary tumors, despite hormone deficits or excess. To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first prospective longitudinal case-control study with the aim of simultaneously testing whether HRQOL and psychiatric and neuropsychological disabilities are related to neural dysfunction due to hypercortisolism per se, or tumor mass and/or surgery in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD). The authors evaluated a homogeneous cohort of patients with CD and nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) before and after neurosurgery and compared these patients with healthy controls.

METHODS

Twenty patients (10 with NFPA and 10 with CD) were evaluated using 3 validated questionnaires (SF-36, Beck Depression Inventory–II [BDI-II], and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–II [MMPI-II]) to assess HRQOL and psychological status preoperatively and 12 months after neurosurgery. Neuropsychological tests were assessed preoperatively, 3–7 days postoperatively, and 12 months postoperatively. Twenty healthy matched controls were recruited.

RESULTS

Preoperatively, the NFPA and CD subgroups had worse HRQOL scores than controls on the basis of SF-36 scores, although the NFPA subgroup experienced significant recovery 12 months postoperatively. Preoperatively, CD patients had depressive symptoms according to the BDI-II and MMPI-II that persisted 12 months postoperatively, together with social introversion and hypochondriasis; NFPA patients were similar to controls except for hypochondriasis scores that were clinically significant at all timepoints. Preoperatively and 3–7 days postoperatively, both subgroups showed significant neuropsychological disabilities compared with controls, but only the CD subgroup did not completely recover over time.

CONCLUSIONS

HRQOL and neuropsychological impairments were observed in all patients at early timepoints, independent of hypercortisolism, tumor mass, and successful surgery. Over time, CD patients showed persistent changes in HRQOL, in particular in social activities. In this light, CD seems to have a strong impact on HRQOL and to be associated with more psychological and neuropsychological comorbidities than NFPA.