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Issam Awad and Pascal Jabbour

✓Seizures and epilepsy are frequent clinical manifestations of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) and represent the most common symptomatic presentation of supratentorial lesions. Clinicians often diagnose CCMs in patients after a first seizure, or in some cases after obtaining neuroimaging studies in patients suffering from chronic epilepsy previously thought to be idiopathic. In some cases, the lesion is clinically significant solely because of its epileptogenicity, but in others there may be concern about potential hemorrhage or focal neurological deficits from a similar lesion.

The authors present current pathophysiological concepts related to epilepsy associated with CCMs. They discuss the spectrum of seizure disorders associated with these lesions and review the natural history, prognosis, and options for therapeutic intervention.

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Pascal Jabbour, Michael Fehlings, Alexander R. Vaccaro and James S. Harrop

In this paper the authors review spine trauma and spinal cord injury (SCI) in the geriatric population. The information in this study was compiled through a literature review of clinical presentation and management of SCI in the elderly population. This was done to define, identify, and specify treatment algorithms and management strategies in this unique patient population.

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Kenan AlKhalili, Nohra Chalouhi, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

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.

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Badih Daou, Petra Klinge, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

There are several etiologies that can lead to the development of secondary normal pressure hydrocephalus (sNPH). The aim of this study was to evaluate the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome in patients with sNPH and to highlight important differences between the separate etiologies.

METHODS

A comprehensive review of the literature was performed to identify studies conducted between 1965 and 2015 that included data regarding the etiology, treatment, diagnosis, and outcome in patients with sNPH. Sixty-four studies with a total of 1309 patients were included. The inclusion criteria of this study were articles that were written in English, included more than 2 patients with the diagnosis of sNPH, and contained data regarding the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, or outcome of NPH. The most common assessment of clinical improvement was based on the Stein and Langfitt grading scale or equivalent improvement on other alternative ordinal grading scales.

RESULTS

The main etiologies of sNPH were subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in 46.5%, head trauma in 29%, intracranial malignancies in 6.2%, meningoencephalitis in 5%, and cerebrovascular disease in 4.5% of patients. In 71.9% of patients the sNPH was treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, and 24.4% had placement of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Clinical improvement after shunt placement was reported in 74.4% and excellent clinical improvement in 58% of patients with sNPH. The mean follow-up period after shunt placement was 13 months. Improvement was seen in 84.2% of patients with SAH, 83% of patients with head trauma, 86.4% of patients with brain tumors, 75% of patients with meningoencephalitis, and 64.7% of patients with NPH secondary to stroke.

CONCLUSIONS

Secondary NPH encompasses a diverse group of clinical manifestations associated with a subset of patients with acquired hydrocephalus. The most common etiologies of sNPH include SAH and traumatic brain injury. Secondary NPH does indeed exist, and should be differentiated from idiopathic NPH based on outcome and on clinical, pathophysiological, and epidemiological characteristics, but should not be considered as a separate entity.

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Thana Theofanis, Nohra Chalouhi, Richard Dalyai, Robert M. Starke, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

The authors conducted a study to assess the safety and efficacy of microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and determine predictors of complications.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.

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Badih Daou, Christine Hammer, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Pascal Jabbour, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

OBJECTIVE

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.

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Kimon Bekelis, Dan Gottlieb, Nicos Labropoulos, Yin Su, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Pascal Jabbour and Todd A. MacKenzie

OBJECTIVE

The impact of combined practices on the outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysm coiling remains an issue of debate. The authors investigated the association of combined open and endovascular expertise with the outcomes of unruptured cerebral aneurysm coiling.

METHODS

The authors performed a cohort study of 100% of Medicare fee-for-service claims data for elderly patients who underwent endovascular coiling for unruptured cerebral aneurysms between 2007 and 2012. To control for confounding, the authors used propensity score conditioning, with mixed effects to account for clustering at the hospital referral region level.

RESULTS

During the study period, there were 11,716 patients who underwent endovascular coiling for unruptured cerebral aneurysms and met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 1186 (10.1%) underwent treatment performed by hybrid neurosurgeons, and 10,530 (89.9%) by proceduralists who performed only endovascular coiling. Multivariable regression analysis with propensity score adjustment demonstrated a lack of association of combined practice with 1-year postoperative mortality (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.58–1.23), discharge to rehabilitation (OR 1.0; 95% CI 0.66–1.51), 30-day readmission rate (OR 1.07; 95% CI 0.83–1.38), and length of stay (adjusted difference, 0.41; 95% CI −0.26 to 1.09). Higher procedural volume was independently associated with improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

In a cohort of Medicare patients, the authors did not demonstrate a difference in mortality, discharge to rehabilitation, readmission rate, and LOS between hybrid neurosurgeons and proceduralists performing only endovascular coiling.

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Sonia G. Teufack, Peter Campbell, Pascal Jabbour, Mitchell Maltenfort, James Evans and John K. Ratliff

Object

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have moved to limit hospital augmentation of diagnosis-related group billing for “never events” (adverse events that are serious, largely preventable, and of concern to the public and health care providers for the purpose of public accountability) and certain hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). Similar restrictions may be applied to physician billing. The financial impact of these restrictions may fall on academic medical centers, which commonly have populations of complex patients with a higher risk of HACs. The authors sought to quantify the potential financial impact of restrictions in never events and periprocedural HAC billing on a tertiary neurosurgery facility.

Methods

Operative cases treated between January 2008 and June 2008 were reviewed after searching a prospectively maintained database of perioperative complications. The authors assessed cases in which there was a 6-month lag time to allow for completion of hospital and physician billing. They speculated that other payers would soon adopt the present CMS restrictions and that procedure-related HACs would be expanded to cover common neurosurgery procedures. To evaluate the impact on physician billing and to directly contrast physician and hospital billing impact, the authors focused on periprocedural HACs, as opposed to entire admission HACs. Billing records were compiled and a comparison was made between individual event data and simultaneous cumulative net revenue and net receipts. The authors assessed the impact of the present regulations, expansion of CMS restrictions to other payers, and expansion to rehospitalization and entire hospitalization case billing due to HACs and never events.

Results

A total of 1289 procedures were completed during the examined period. Twenty-five procedures (2%) involved patients in whom HACs developed; all were wound infections. Twenty-nine secondary procedures were required for this cohort. Length of stay was significantly higher in patients with HACs than in those without (11.6 ± 11.5 vs 5.9 ± 7.0 days, respectively). Fifteen patients required readmission due to HACs. Following present never event and HAC restrictions, hospital and physician billing was minimally affected (never event billing as percent total receipts was 0.007% for hospitals and 0% for physicians). Nonpayment for rehospitalization and reoperation for HACs by CMS and private payers yielded greater financial impact (CMS only, percentage of total receipts: 0.14% hospital, 0.2% physician; all payers: 1.56% hospital, 3.0% physician). Eliminating reimbursement for index procedures yielded profound reductions (CMS only as percentage of total receipts: 0.62% hospital, 0.8% physician; all payers: 5.73% hospital, 8.9% physician).

Conclusions

The authors found potentially significant reductions in physician and facility billing. The expansion of never event and HACs reimbursement nonpayment may have a substantial financial impact on tertiary care facilities. The elimination of never events and reduction in HACs in current medical practices are worthy goals. However, overzealous application of HACs restrictions may remove from tertiary centers the incentive to treat high-risk patients.

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Edison P. Valle-Giler, Elias Atallah, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

The Pipeline embolization device (PED) has become a very important tool in the treatment of nonruptured cerebral aneurysms. However, a patient’s difficult anatomy or vascular stenosis may affect the device delivery. The purpose of this article was to describe an alternate technique for PED deployment when ipsilateral anatomy is not amenable for catheter navigation.

A 44-year-old woman with a symptomatic 6-mm right superior hypophyseal artery aneurysm and a known history of right internal carotid artery dissection presented for PED treatment of her aneurysm. An angiogram showed persistence of the arterial dissection with luminal stenosis after 6 months of dual antiplatelet treatment. The contralateral internal carotid artery was catheterized and the PED was deployed via a transcirculation approach, using the anterior communicating artery. Transcirculation deployment of a PED is a viable option when ipsilateral anatomy is difficult or contraindicated for this treatment.

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Pascal Jabbour, Christopher Koebbe, Erol Veznedaroglu, Ronald P. Benitez and Robert Rosenwasser

Object

The treatment of wide-necked cerebral aneurysms represents a challenging problem for neurosurgeons. The recent development of stents has provided clinicians with the ability to treat these aneurysms while keeping the parent vessel patent. The long-term occlusion rate of aneurysms treated with stent-assisted coil placement has yet to be investigated. The authors report the use of a new intracranial stent—the Neuroform microstent—in the treatment of unruptured wide-necked cerebral aneurysms.

Methods

Thirty-two patients harboring unruptured wide-necked intracranial aneurysms underwent a stent-assisted coil placement procedure. Patients were pretreated with antiplatelet agents, and a stent was positioned across the neck of the aneurysm. The next step was the insertion of coils into the aneurysm cavity. Patients received anticoagulation therapy for 24 hours after the procedure.

All 32 patients with unruptured wide-necked cerebral aneurysms were suitable candidates for this procedure. Occlusion of at least 90% of the aneurysm was achieved in 24 patients (75%) and 0% occlusion was observed in five patients (15%). Two patients experienced thromboembolic events, one of which was directly related to the stent. The overall complication rate was 6.3%.

Conclusions

Intracranial stents will be used more frequently in the new era of endovascular management of wide-necked cerebral aneurysms. With some technical improvements and more data on long-term occlusion rates, this new modality should improve the occlusion of wide-necked cerebral aneurysms while protecting the parent vessel.