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Sandi Lam, Ramesh Grandhi and Stephanie Greene

Meconium staining of open myelomeningoceles has been reported to occur both prenatally and postnatally, but meconium staining of the brainstem has not been previously documented. The authors present a case of meconium staining of the brainstem in an infant with a meconium-stained myelomeningocele, Chiari malformation Type II, and hydrocephalus and discuss possible implications for prenatal and perinatal care.

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Srinivas Chivukula, Ramesh Grandhi and Robert M. Friedlander

Two key discoveries in the 19th century—infection control and the development of general anesthesia—provided an impetus for the rapid advancement of surgery, especially within the field of neurosurgery. Improvements in anesthesia and perioperative care, in particular, fostered the development of meticulous surgical technique conducive to the refinement of neuroanatomical understanding and optimization of neurosurgical procedures and outcomes. Yet, even dating back to the earliest times, some form of anesthesia or perioperative pain management was used during neurosurgical procedures. Despite a few reports on anesthesia published around the time of William Morton's now-famous public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846, relatively little is known or written of early anesthetics in neurosurgery. In the present article the authors discuss the history of anesthesia pertaining to neurosurgical procedures and draw parallels between the refinements and developments in anesthesia care over time with some of the concomitant advances in neurosurgery.

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Mariam Ishaque, David J. Wallace and Ramesh Grandhi

Throughout history, neurosurgical procedures have been fundamental in advancing neuroscience; however, this has not always been without deleterious side effects or harmful consequences. While critical to the progression of clinical neuroscience during the early 20th century, yet, at the same time, poorly tolerated by patients, pneumoencephalography is one such procedure that exemplifies this juxtaposition. Presented herein are historical perspectives and reflections on the role of the pneumoencephalography in the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric illnesses.

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Geoffrey W. Peitz, Christopher A. Sy and Ramesh Grandhi

Blister aneurysms are rare cerebrovascular lesions for which the treatment methods are reviewed here, with a focus on endovascular options. The reported pathogenesis of blister aneurysms varies, and hemodynamic stress, arterial dissection, and arteriosclerotic ulceration have all been described. There is consensus on the excessive fragility of blister aneurysms and their parent vessels, which makes clipping technically difficult. Open surgical treatment is associated with high rates of complications, morbidity, and mortality; endovascular treatment is a promising alternative. Among endovascular treatment options, deconstructive treatment has been associated with higher morbidity compared with reconstructive methods such as direct embolization, stent- or balloon-assisted direct embolization, stent monotherapy, and flow diversion. Flow diversion has been associated with higher technical success rates and similar clinical outcomes compared with non–flow diverting treatment methods. However, delayed aneurysm occlusion and the need for antiplatelet therapy are potential drawbacks to flow diversion that must be considered when choosing among treatment methods for blister aneurysms.

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Samon Tavakoli, Geoffrey Peitz, William Ares, Shaheryar Hafeez and Ramesh Grandhi

Intracranial pressure monitoring devices have become the standard of care for the management of patients with pathologies associated with intracranial hypertension. Given the importance of invasive intracranial monitoring devices in the modern neurointensive care setting, gaining a thorough understanding of the potential complications related to device placement—and misplacement—is crucial. The increased prevalence of intracranial pressure monitoring as a management tool for neurosurgical patients has led to the publication of a plethora of papers regarding their indications and complications. The authors aim to provide a concise review of key contemporary articles in the literature concerning important complications with the hope of elucidating practices that improve outcomes for neurocritically ill patients.

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Ramesh Grandhi, Douglas Kondziolka, David Panczykowski, Edward A. Monaco III, Hideyuki Kano, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

To better establish the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in treating patients with 10 or more intracranial metastases, the authors assessed clinical outcomes and identified prognostic factors associated with survival and tumor control in patients who underwent radiosurgery using the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion (LGK PFX) unit.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed data in all patients who had undergone LGK PFX surgery to treat 10 or more brain metastases in a single session at the University of Pittsburgh. Posttreatment imaging studies were used to assess tumor response, and patient records were reviewed for clinical follow-up data. All data were collected by a neurosurgeon who had not participated in patient care.

Results

Sixty-one patients with 10 or more brain metastases underwent SRS for the treatment of 806 tumors (mean 13.2 lesions). Seven patients (11.5%) had no previous therapy. Stereotactic radiosurgery was the sole prior treatment modality in 8 patients (13.1%), 22 (36.1%) underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) only, and 16 (26.2%) had prior SRS and WBRT. The total treated tumor volume ranged from 0.14 to 40.21 cm3, and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 16 Gy. The median survival following SRS for 10 or more brain metastases was 4 months, with improved survival in patients with fewer than 14 brain metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary tumor, controlled systemic disease, a better Karnofsky Performance Scale score, and a lower recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) class. Prior cerebral treatment did not influence survival. The median survival for a patient with fewer than 14 brain metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary tumor, and controlled systemic disease was 21.0 months. Sustained local tumor control was achieved in 81% of patients. Prior WBRT predicted the development of new adverse radiation effects.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery safely and effectively treats intracranial disease with a high rate of local control in patients with 10 or more brain metastases. In patients with fewer metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary lesion, controlled systemic disease, and a low RPA class, SRS may be most valuable. In selected patients, it can be considered as first-line treatment.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, Lesley M. Foley, Shinjini Kundu, Wendy Fellows-Mayle, T. Kevin Hitchens, Gustavo K. Rohde, Ramesh Grandhi and Mark P. Mooney

OBJECT

Craniosynostosis is a condition in which one or more of the calvarial sutures fuses prematurely. In addition to the cosmetic ramifications attributable to premature suture fusion, aberrations in neurophysiological parameters are seen, which may result in more significant damage. This work examines the microstructural integrity of white matter, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in a homogeneous strain of rabbits with simple, familial coronal suture synostosis before and after surgical correction.

METHODS

After diagnosis, rabbits were assigned to different groups: wild-type (WT), rabbits with early-onset complete fusion of the coronal suture (BC), and rabbits that had undergone surgical correction with suturectomy (BC-SU) at 10 days of age. Fixed rabbit heads were imaged at 12, 25, or 42 days of life using a 4.7-T, 40-cm bore Avance scanner with a 7.2-cm radiofrequency coil. For DTI, a 3D spin echo sequence was used with a diffusion gradient (b = 2000 sec/mm2) applied in 6 directions.

RESULTS

As age increased from 12 to 42 days, the DTI differences between WT and BC groups became more pronounced (p < 0.05, 1-way ANOVA), especially in the corpus callosum, cingulum, and fimbriae. Suturectomy resulted in rabbits with no significant differences compared with WT animals, as assessed by DTI of white matter tracts. Also, it was possible to predict to which group an animal belonged (WT, BC, and BC-SU) with high accuracy based on imaging data alone using a linear support vector machine classifier. The ability to predict to which group the animal belonged improved as the age of the animal increased (71% accurate at 12 days and 100% accurate at 42 days).

CONCLUSIONS

Craniosynostosis results in characteristic changes of major white matter tracts, with differences becoming more apparent as the age of the rabbits increases. Early suturectomy (at 10 days of life) appears to mitigate these differences.

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David J. Wallace, Naomi L. Sayre, T. Tyler Patterson, Susannah E. Nicholson, Donald Hilton and Ramesh Grandhi

In addition to standard management for the treatment of the acute phase of spinal cord injury (SCI), implementation of novel neuroprotective interventions offers the potential for significant reductions in morbidity and long-term health costs. A better understanding of the systemic changes after SCI could provide insight into mechanisms that lead to secondary injury. An emerging area of research involves the complex interplay of the gut microbiome and the CNS, i.e., a brain–gut axis, or perhaps more appropriately, a CNS–gut axis. This review summarizes the relevant literature relating to the gut microbiome and SCI. Experimental models in stroke and traumatic brain injury demonstrate the bidirectional communication of the CNS to the gut with postinjury dysbiosis, gastrointestinal-associated lymphoid tissue–mediated neuroinflammatory responses, and bacterial-metabolite neurotransmission. Similar findings are being elucidated in SCI as well. Experimental interventions in these areas have shown promise in improving functional outcomes in animal models. This commensal relationship between the human body and its microbiome, particularly the gut microbiome, represents an exciting frontier in experimental medicine.

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Ramesh Grandhi, Gregory M. Weiner, Nitin Agarwal, David M. Panczykowski, William J. Ares, Jesse S. Rodriguez, Jonathan A. Gelfond, John G. Myers, Louis H. Alarcon, David O. Okonkwo and Brian T. Jankowitz

OBJECTIVE

Blunt cerebrovascular injuries (BCVIs) following trauma carry risk for morbidity and mortality. Since patients with BCVI are often asymptomatic at presentation and neurological sequelae often occur within 72 hours, timely diagnosis is essential. Multidetector CT angiography (CTA) has been shown to be a noninvasive, cost-effective, reliable means of screening; however, the false-positive rate of CTA in diagnosing patients with BCVI represents a key drawback. Therefore, the authors assessed the role of DSA in the screening of BCVI when utilizing CTA as the initial screening modality.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients who experienced BCVI between 2013 and 2015 at 2 Level I trauma centers. All patients underwent CTA screening for BCVI according to the updated Denver Screening Criteria. Patients who were diagnosed with BCVI on CTA underwent confirmatory digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Patient demographics, screening indication, BCVI grade on CTA and DSA, and laboratory values were collected. Comparison of false-positive rates stratified by BCVI grade on CTA was performed using the chi-square test.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients (64% males, mean age 50 years) with 156 cerebrovascular blunt injuries to the carotid and/or vertebral arteries were identified. After comparison with DSA findings, CTA findings were incorrect in 61.5% of vessels studied, and the overall CTA false-positive rates were 47.4% of vessels studied and 47.9% of patients screened. The positive predictive value (PPV) for CTA was higher among worse BCVI subtypes on initial imaging (PPV 76% and 97%, for BCVI Grades II and IV, respectively) compared with Grade I injuries (PPV 30%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In the current series, multidetector CTA as a screening test for blunt cerebrovascular injury had a high-false positive rate, especially in patients with Grade I BCVI. Given a false-positive rate of 47.9% with an estimated average of 132 patients per year screening positive for BCVI with CTA, approximately 63 patients per year would potentially be treated unnecessarily with antithrombotic therapy at a busy United States Level I trauma center. The authors’ data support the use of DSA after positive findings on CTA in patients with suspected BCVI. DSA as an adjunctive test in patients with positive CTA findings allows for increased diagnostic accuracy in correctly diagnosing BCVI while minimizing risk from unnecessary antithrombotic therapy in polytrauma patients.

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Kathryn M. Wagner, Visish M. Srinivasan, Aditya Srivatsan, Michael G. Z. Ghali, Ajith J. Thomas, Alejandro Enriquez-Marulanda, Abdulrahman Y. Alturki, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Maxim Mokin, Anna L. Kuhn, Ajit Puri, Ramesh Grandhi, Stephen Chen, Jeremiah Johnson and Peter Kan

OBJECTIVE

With the increasing use of flow diversion as treatment for intracranial aneurysms, there is a concomitant increased vigilance in monitoring complications. The low porosity of flow diverters is concerning when the origins of vessels are covered, whether large circle of Willis branches or critical perforators. In this study, the authors report their experience with flow diverter coverage of the lenticulostriate vessels and evaluate their safety and outcomes.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 5 institutional databases of all flow diversion cases from August 2012 to June 2018. Information regarding patient presentation, aneurysm location, treatment, and outcomes were recorded. Patients who were treated with flow diverters placed in the proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA), proximal anterior cerebral artery, or distal internal carotid artery leading to coverage of the medial and lateral lenticulostriate vessels were included. Clinical outcomes according to the modified Rankin Scale were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to establish risk factors for lenticulostriate infarct.

RESULTS

Fifty-two patients were included in the analysis. Postprocedure cross-sectional images were available in 30 patients. Two patients experienced transient occlusion of the MCA during the procedure; one was asymptomatic, and the other had a clinical and radiographic ipsilateral internal capsule stroke. Five patients had transient symptoms without radiographic infarct in the lenticulostriate territory. Two patients experienced in-stent thrombosis, leading to clinical MCA infarcts (one in the ipsilateral caudate) after discontinuing antiplatelet therapy. Discontinuation of dual antiplatelet therapy prior to 6 months was the only variable that was significantly correlated with stroke outcome (p < 0.01, OR 0.3, 95% CI 0–0.43), and this significance persisted when controlled for other risk factors, including age, smoking status, and aneurysm location.

CONCLUSIONS

The use and versatility of flow diversion is increasing, and safety data are continuing to accumulate. Here, the authors provide early data on the safety of covering lenticulostriate vessels with flow diverters. The authors concluded that the coverage of these perforators does not routinely lead to clinically significant ischemia when dual antiplatelet therapy is continued for 6 months. Further evaluation is needed in larger cohorts and with imaging follow-up as experience develops in using these devices in more distal circulation.