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Peter Hutchinson, Ivan Timofeev, and Peter Kirkpatrick

✓Brain edema is a common pathophysiological process seen in many neurosurgical conditions. It can be localized in relation to focal lesions or generalized in diffuse types of brain injury. In addition to local adverse effects occurring at a cellular level, brain edema is associated with raised intracranial pressure (ICP), and both phenomena contribute to poor outcome in patients. One of the goals in treating patients with acute neurosurgical conditions in intensive care is to control brain edema and maintain ICP below target levels. The mainstay of treatment is medical therapy to reduce edema, but in certain patients—for example, those with diffuse severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and malignant middle cerebral artery infarction—such treatment is not effective. In these patients, opening the skull (decompressive craniecto-my) to reduce ICP is a potential option. In this review the authors discuss the role of decompressive craniectomy as a surgical option in patients with brain edema in the context of a variety of pathological entities. They also address the current evidence for the technique (predominantly observational series) and the ongoing randomized studies of decompressive craniectomy in TBI and ischemic stroke.

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Ming-Yuan Tseng, Peter J. Hutchinson, and Peter J. Kirkpatrick

Object

In a previous randomized controlled trial, the authors demonstrated that acute erythropoietin (EPO) therapy reduced severe vasospasm and delayed ischemic deficits (DIDs) following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the potential interaction of neurovascular protection by EPO with age, sepsis, and concurrent statin therapy.

Methods

The clinical events of 80 adults older than 18 years and with < 72 hours of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, who were randomized to receive 30,000 U of intravenous EPO-β or placebo every 48 hours for a total of 3 doses, were analyzed by stratification according to age (< or ≥ 60 years), sepsis, or concomitant statin therapy. End points in the trial included cerebral vasospasm and impaired autoregulation on transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, DIDs, and unfavorable outcome at discharge and at 6 months measured with the modified Rankin Scale and Glasgow Outcome Scale. Analyses were performed using the t-test and/or ANOVA for repeated measurements.

Results

Younger patients (< 60 years old) or those without sepsis obtained benefits from EPO by a reduction in vasospasm, impaired autoregulation, and unfavorable outcome at discharge. Compared with nonseptic patients taking EPO, those with sepsis taking EPO had a lower absolute reticulocyte count (nonsepsis vs sepsis, 143.5 vs. 105.8 × 109/L on Day 6; p = 0.01), suggesting sepsis impaired both hematopoiesis and neurovascular protection by EPO. In the EPO group, none of the statin users suffered DIDs (p = 0.078), implying statins may potentiate neuroprotection by EPO.

Conclusions

Erythropoietin-related neurovascular protection appears to be attenuated by old age and sepsis and enhanced by statins, an important finding for designing Phase III trials.

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Angelos G. Kolias, Peter J. Hutchinson, Dion G. Morton, Jane M. Blazeby, and Peter McCulloch

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Nahal Mavaddat, Barbara J. Sahakian, Peter J. A. Hutchinson, and Peter J. Kirkpatrick

Object. This study was conducted to define neuropsychological changes following operation for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) caused by rupture of an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and to assess the influence of the timing of surgery to clip the aneurysm.

Methods. Cognitive outcome was evaluated using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery in patients with an ACoA aneurysm that had caused an SAH. Adult patients younger than 70 years of age who had achieved a favorable neurological outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale scores of 4 or 5) were studied 6 to 24 months postsurgery. Patients were divided into early (Days 0–3) and late surgery groups (after Day 3) according to the timing of surgery after the ictus. Neuropsychological analysis was performed by reviewers who were blinded to the timing of surgery.

Forty-seven patients whose mean age was 51.5 years were tested. They were compared with age- and intelligence quotient (IQ)—matched controls by using premorbid IQ as estimated on the National Adult Reading Test. Patients showed deficiencies in several tasks of verbal fluency, pattern recognition, and spatial working memory; this profile of deficits was similar to that seen in patients who underwent temporal lobe excisions. However, there was no significant difference in cognitive performance between the early and late surgery groups.

Conclusions. After open surgery for ruptured ACoA aneurysms, patients who have achieved a favorable neurological outcome still exhibit significant cognitive deficits, primarily in tests sensitive to temporal lobe dysfunction. However, early surgery does not carry a higher risk of neuropsychological disability.

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Ivan Timofeev, Marek Czosnyka, Jurgens Nortje, Peter Smielewski, Peter Kirkpatrick, Arun Gupta, and Peter Hutchinson

Object

Decompressive craniectomy is an advanced treatment option for intracranial pressure (ICP) control in patients with traumatic brain injury. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of decompressive craniectomy on ICP and cerebrospinal compensation both within and beyond the first 24 hours of craniectomy.

Methods

This study was a retrospective analysis of the physiological parameters from 27 moderately to severely head-injured patients who underwent decompressive craniectomy for progressive brain edema. Of these, 17 patients had undergone prospective digital recording of ICP with estimation of ICP waveform–derived indices. The pressure-volume compensatory reserve (RAP) index and the cerebrovascular pressure reactivity index (PRx) were used to assess those parameters. The values of parameters prior to and during the 72 hours after decompressive craniectomy were included in the analysis.

Results

Decompressive craniectomy led to a sustained reduction in median (interquartile range) ICP values (21.2 mm Hg [18.7; 24.2 mm Hg] preoperatively compared with 15.7 mm Hg [12.3; 19.2 mm Hg] postoperatively; p = 0.01). A similar improvement was observed in RAP. A significantly lower mean arterial pressure (MAP) was needed after decompressive craniectomy to maintain optimum cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) levels, compared with the preoperative period (99.5 mm Hg [96.2; 102.9 mm Hg] compared with 94.2 mm Hg [87.9; 98.9 mm Hg], respectively; p = 0.017). Following decompressive craniectomy, the PRx had positive values in all patients, suggesting acquired derangement in pressure reactivity.

Conclusions

In this study, decompressive craniectomy led to a sustained reduction in ICP and improvement in cerebral compliance. Lower MAP levels after decompressive craniectomy are likely to indicate a reduced intensity of treatment. Derangement in cerebrovascular pressure reactivity requires further studies to evaluate its significance and influence on outcome.

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Peter J. Hutchinson, Mark T. O'Connell, Pippa G. Al-Rawi, Lynn B. Maskell, Rupert Kett-White, Arun K. Gupta, Hugh K. Richards, David B. Hutchinson, Peter J. Kirkpatrick, and John D. Pickard

Object. Clinical microdialysis enables monitoring of the cerebral extracellular chemistry of neurosurgical patients. Introduction of the technique into different hospitals' neurosurgical units has resulted in variations in the method of application. There are several variables to be considered, including length of the catheter membrane, type of perfusion fluid, flow rate of perfusion fluid, and on-line compared with delayed analysis of samples. The objects of this study were as follows: 1) to determine the effects of varying catheter characteristics on substance concentration; 2) to determine the relative recovery and true extracellular concentration by varying the flow rate and extrapolating to zero flow; and 3) to compare substance concentration obtained using a bedside enzyme analyzer with that of off-line high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Methods. A specially designed bolt was used to conduct two adjacent microdialysis catheters into the frontal cortex of patients with head injury or poor-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage who were receiving ventilation. One reference catheter (10-mm membrane, perfused with Ringer's solution at 0.3 µl/minute) was constant for all studies. The other catheter was varied in terms of membrane length (10 mm or 30 mm), perfusion fluid (Ringer's solution or normal saline), and flow rate (0.1–1.5 µl/minute). The effect of freezing the samples on substance concentration was established by on-line analysis and then repeated analysis after storage at −70°C for 3 months. Samples assayed with the bedside enzyme analyzer were reassessed using HPLC for the determination of glutamate concentrations.

Conclusions. Two adjacent microdialysis catheters that were identical in membrane length, perfusion fluid, and flow rate showed equivalent results. Variations in perfusion fluid and freezing and thawing of samples did not result in differences in substance concentration. Catheter length had a significant impact on substance recovery. Variations in flow rate enabled the relative recovery to be calculated using a modification of the extrapolation-to-zero-flow method. The recovery was approximately 70% at 0.3 µl/minute and 30% at 1 µl/minute (10-mm membrane) for all analytes. Glutamate results obtained with the enzyme analyzer showed good correlation with those from HPLC.

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Marek Czosnyka, Peter Smielewski, Ivan Timofeev, Andrea Lavinio, Eric Guazzo, Peter Hutchinson, and John D. Pickard

✓Many doctors involved in the critical care of head-injured patients understand intracranial pressure (ICP) as a number, characterizing the state of the brain pressure–volume relationships. However, the dynamics of ICP, its waveform, and secondarily derived indices portray useful information about brain homeostasis. There is circumstantial evidence that this information can be used to modify and optimize patients' treatment. Secondary variables, such as pulse amplitude and the magnitude of slow waves, index of compensatory reserve, and pressure–reactivity index (PRx), look promising in clinical practice. The optimal cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) derived using the PRx is a new concept that may help to avoid excessive use of vasopressors in CPP-oriented therapy. However, the use of secondary ICP indices remains to be confirmed in clinical trials.

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Maria Pia Tropeano, Riccardo Spaggiari, Hernán Ileyassoff, Kee B. Park, Angelos G. Kolias, Peter J. Hutchinson, and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health problem and more than 70% of trauma-related deaths are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Nevertheless, there is a consistent lack of data from these countries. The aim of this work is to estimate the capacity of different and heterogeneous areas of the world to report and publish data on TBI. In addition, we wanted to estimate the countries with the highest and lowest number of publications when taking into account the relative TBI burden.

METHODS

First, a bibliometric analysis of all the publications about TBI available in the PubMed database from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2018, was performed. These data were tabulated by country and grouped according to each geographical region as indicated by the WHO: African Region (AFR), Region of the Americas (PAH), South-East Asia Region (SEAR), European Region (EUR), Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), and Western Pacific Region (WPR). In this analysis, PAH was further subdivided into Latin America (AMR-L) and North America (AMR-US/Can). Then a “publication to TBI volume ratio” was derived to estimate the research interest in TBI with respect to the frequency of this pathology.

RESULTS

Between 2008 and 2018 a total of 8144 articles were published and indexed in the PubMed database about TBI. Leading WHO regions in terms of contributions were AMR-US/Can with 4183 articles (51.36%), followed by EUR with 2003 articles (24.60%), WPR with 1507 (18.50%), AMR-L with 141 articles (1.73%), EMR with 135 (1.66%), AFR with 91 articles (1.12%), and SEAR with 84 articles (1.03%). The highest publication to TBI volume ratios were found for AMR-US/Can (90.93) and EUR (21.54), followed by WPR (8.71) and AMR-L (2.43). Almost 90 times lower than the ratio of AMR-US/Can were the ratios for AFR (1.15) and SEAR (0.46).

CONCLUSIONS

An important disparity currently exists between countries with a high burden of TBI and those in which most of the research is conducted. A call for improvement of data collection and research outputs along with an increase in international collaboration could quantitatively and qualitatively improve the ability of LMICs to ameliorate TBI care and develop clinical practice guidelines.

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Adam M. H. Young, Mathew R. Guilfoyle, Helen Fernandes, Matthew R. Garnett, Shruti Agrawal, and Peter J. Hutchinson

OBJECTIVE

There is increasing interest in the use of predictive models of outcome in adult head injury. Two international models have been identified to be reliable modalities for predicting outcome: the Corticosteroid Randomisation After Significant Head Injury (CRASH) model, and the International Mission on Prognosis and Analysis of randomized Controlled Trials in TBI (IMPACT) model. However, these models are designed only to identify outcomes in adult populations.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed on pediatric patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of Addenbrooke's Hospital between January 2009 and December 2013. The individual risk of 14-day mortality was calculated using the CRASH-Basic and -CT models, and the risk of 6-month mortality calculated using the IMPACT-Core and -Extended (including CT findings) models. Model accuracy was determined by standardized mortality ratio (SMtR; observed/expected deaths), discrimination was evaluated as the area under the receiver operating curve (AUROC), and calibration assessed using the Hosmer-Lemeshow χ2 test.

RESULTS

Ninety-four patients with an average age of 7.3 years were admitted to the PICU with a TBI. The mortality rate was 12.7% at 14 days and at 6 months. For the CRASH-Basic model, the SMtR was 1.42 and both calibration (χ2 = 6.1, p = 0.64) and discrimination (AUROC = 0.92) were good. For the IMPACT-Core model, the SMtR was 1.03 and the model was also well calibrated (χ2 = 8.99, p = 0.34) and had good discrimination (AUROC = 0.85). Poor outcome was observed in 17% of the cohort and identified with the CRASH-Basic and IMPACT-Core models to varying degrees: standardized morbidity ratio = 0.89 vs 0.67, respectively; calibration = 6.5 (χ2) and 0.59 (p value) versus 8.52 (χ2) and 0.38 (p value), respectively; and discrimination (AUROC) = 0.92 versus 0.83, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Adult head injury models may be applied with sufficient accuracy to identify predictors of morbidity and mortality in pediatric TBI.