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Johannes Goldberg, Christian Jaeggi, Daniel Schoeni, Pasquale Mordasini, Andreas Raabe and David Bervini

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are frequently diagnosed vascular malformations of the brain. Although most CCMs are asymptomatic, some can be responsible for intracerebral hemorrhage or seizures. In selected cases, microsurgical resection is the preferred treatment option. Treatment with the unselective β-blocker propranolol has been presumed to stabilize and eventually lead to CCM size regression in a limited number of published case series; however, the underlying mechanism and evidence for this effect remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the risk for CCM-related hemorrhage in patients on long-term β-blocker medication.

METHODS

A single-center database containing data on patients harboring CCMs was retrospectively interrogated for a time period of 35 years. The database included information about hemorrhage and antihypertensive medication. Descriptive and survival analyses were performed, focusing on the risk of hemorrhage at presentation and during follow-up (first or subsequent hemorrhage) in patients on long-term β-blocker medication versus those who were not. Follow-up was censored at the first occurrence of new hemorrhage, surgery, or the last clinical review. For purposes of this analysis, the β-blocker group was divided into the following main subgroups: any β-blocker, β1-selective β-blocker, and any unselective β-blocker.

RESULTS

Of 542 CCMs among 408 patients, 81 (14.9%) were under treatment with any β-blocker; 65 (12%) received β1-selective β-blocker, and 16 (3%) received any unselective β-blocker. One hundred thirty-six (25.1%) CCMs presented with hemorrhage at diagnosis. None of the β-blocker groups was associated with a lower risk of hemorrhage at the time of diagnosis in a univariate descriptive analysis (any β-blocker: p = 0.64, β1-selective: p = 0.93, any unselective β-blocker: p = 0.25). Four hundred ninety-six CCMs were followed up after diagnosis and included in the survival analysis, for a total of 1800 lesion-years. Follow-up hemorrhage occurred in 36 (7.3%) CCMs. Neither univariate descriptive nor univariate Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis showed a decreased risk for follow-up hemorrhage under treatment with β-blocker medication (any β-blocker: p = 0.70, HR 1.19, 95% CI 0.49–2.90; β1-selective: p = 0.78, HR 1.15, 95% CI 0.44–3.00; any unselective β-blocker: p = 0.76, HR 1.37, 95% CI 0.19–10.08). Multivariate Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis including brainstem location, hemorrhage at diagnosis, age, and any β-blocker treatment showed no reduced risk for follow-up hemorrhage under any β-blocker treatment (p = 0.53, HR 1.36, 95% CI 0.52–3.56).

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective cohort study, β-blocker medication does not seem to be associated with a decreased risk of CCM-related hemorrhage at presentation or during follow-up.

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David Bervini, Christian Jaeggi, Pasquale Mordasini, Philippe Schucht and Andreas Raabe

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are frequently diagnosed vascular abnormalities. The hemorrhagic risk associated with the use of long-term antithrombotic medication (ATM) in patients with CCMs is a matter of controversy. The aim of this study was to determine the hemorrhagic risk associated with ATM use in patients diagnosed with one or more CCMs.

METHODS

Demographic, clinical, treatment, and ATM-related information on patients diagnosed with one or more CCMs at a single institution over more than 34 years was retrospectively recorded. Univariate and multivariate descriptive and survival analyses were used to assess potential risk factors associated with CCM-related hemorrhage at presentation and during follow-up (first or subsequent hemorrhage).

RESULTS

A total of 408 patients were included in the analysis and 492 CCMs were followed up after diagnosis, for a total of 1616 lesion-years. Thirty-seven (7.5%) CCMs bled during follow-up, leading to an overall annual rate of CCM-related symptomatic hemorrhage of 2.3% (95% CI 1.7%–3.2%). Eighty-two patients harboring 91 CCMs (16.8%) were on ATM. When stratified for ATM, the annual rates of hemorrhage were 0.7% (95% CI < 0.01% to 4.2%) for the lesions in patients on ATM versus 2.5% (95% CI 1.8%–3.4%) for those not on ATM. ATM was not found to be associated with either an increased risk of CCM-related hemorrhage at presentation (p = 0.355) or an increased risk of CCM-related hemorrhage (first or subsequent hemorrhage) in multivariate descriptive (p = 0.912) and survival (p = 0.145) analyses.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of ATM does not seem to be associated with an increased risk of hemorrhage in patients diagnosed with CCMs.

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Jürgen Beck, Christian Fung, Christian T. Ulrich, Michael Fiechter, Jens Fichtner, Heinrich P. Mattle, Marie-Luise Mono, Niklaus Meier, Pasquale Mordasini, Werner J. Z’Graggen, Jan Gralla and Andreas Raabe

OBJECTIVE

Spinal CSF leakage causes spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). The aim of this study was to characterize CSF dynamics via lumbar infusion testing in patients with and without proven spinal CSF leakage in order to explore possible discriminators for the presence of an open CSF leak.

METHODS

This analysis included all patients with suspected SIH who were treated at the authors’ institution between January 2012 and February 2015. The gold standard for “proven” CSF leakage is considered to be extrathecal contrast accumulation after intrathecal contrast injection. To characterize CSF dynamics, the authors performed computerized lumbar infusion testing to measure lumbar pressure at baseline (opening pressure) and at plateau, as well as pulse amplitude, CSF outflow resistance (RCSF), craniospinal elastance, and pressure-volume index.

RESULTS

Thirty-one patients underwent clinical imaging and lumbar infusion testing and were included in the final analysis. A comparison of the 14 patients with proven CSF leakage with the 17 patients without leakage showed a statistically significantly lower lumbar opening pressure (p < 0.001), plateau pressure (p < 0.001), and RCSF (p < 0.001) in the group with leakage. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for an RCSF cutoff of ≤ 5 mm Hg/(ml/min) were 0.86, 1.0, 1.0, and 0.89 (area under the curve of 0.96), respectively. The median pressure-volume index was higher (p = 0.003), and baseline (p = 0.017) and plateau (p < 0.001) pulse amplitudes were lower in patients with a proven leak.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar infusion testing captures a distinct pattern of CSF dynamics associated with spinal CSF leakage. RCSF assessed by computerized lumbar infusion testing has an excellent diagnostic accuracy and is more accurate than evaluating the lumbar opening pressure. The authors suggest inclusion of RCSF in the diagnostic criteria for SIH.

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Amadé Bregy, Alex Alfieri, Stefanos Demertzis, Pasquale Mordasini, Anna Katharina Jetzer, Dominique Kuhlen, Thomas Schaffner, Ralph Dacey, Hans-Jakob Steiger and Michael Reinert

Object

The treatment of complex cerebrovascular or skull base pathological conditions necessitates a microsurgical blood flow preservation or augmentative revascularization procedure as either an adjunctive safety measure or a definitive treatment. The brain is susceptible to ischemia, and procedure-related risks can be minimized by the reduction of occlusion time or the use of a nonocclusive technique. The authors therefore analyzed the feasibility of an automatic device (C-Port xA, Cardica) designed for constructing an end-to-side anastomosis with or without flow interruption for a middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypass in a human cadaveric model and in an in vivo craniotomy simulation model.

Methods

Four Thiel-fixated human head specimens were prepared using 8 standard pterional craniotomies. The sylvian fissure was opened to access the anterior circulation and in particular the MCA. The length of the individual vessel segments was measured. The C-Port xA was tested on each of the 8 exposures. In addition the C-Port xA was deployed in an in vivo craniotomy simulator model in 10 New Zealand rabbits (a total of 20 anastomoses) by using the abdominal aorta jump graft model.

Results

Short-term patency was assessed by angiography and histological findings. In all 8 sylvian exposures, construction of an MCA anastomosis with the aid of the C-Port xA was feasible. All 20 jump graft anastomoses performed in the in vivo craniotomy simulator were found to be patent.

Conclusions

The anatomical studies as well as the in vivo craniotomy simulation studies demonstrated that the dimensions of the automated end-to-side anastomosis device are suitable for an extracranial–intracranial high-flow bypass on the MCA. Further miniaturization and special adaptation of this device would allow bypass procedures to more proximal intracranial vessels.

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Robert H. Andres, Raphael Guzman, Angélique D. Ducray, Pasquale Mordasini, Atul Gera, Alain Barth, Hans R. Widmer and Gary K. Steinberg

✓ Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), for which no effective treatment strategy is currently available, constitutes one of the most devastating forms of stroke. As a result, developing therapeutic options for ICH is of great interest to the medical community. The 3 potential therapies that have the most promise are cell replacement therapy, enhancing endogenous repair mechanisms, and utilizing various neuroprotective drugs. Replacement of damaged cells and restoration of function can be accomplished by transplantation of cells derived from different sources, such as embryonic or somatic stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and genetically modified cell lines. Early experimental data showing the benefits of cell transplantation on functional recovery after ICH have been promising. Nevertheless, several studies have focused on another therapeutic avenue, investigating novel ways to activate and direct endogenous repair mechanisms in the central nervous system, through exposure to specific neuronal growth factors or by inactivating inhibitory molecules. Lastly, neuroprotective drugs may offer an additional tool for improving neuronal survival in the perihematomal area. However, a number of scientific issues must be addressed before these experimental techniques can be translated into clinical therapy. In this review, the authors outline the recent advances in the basic science of treatment strategies for ICH.