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George M. Ghobrial, Richard Dalyai, Adam E. Flanders and James Harrop

The authors describe a patient who presented with acute tetraparesis and a proposed acute traumatic spinal cord injury that was the result of nitrous oxide myelopathy. This 19-year-old man sustained a traumatic fall off a 6-ft high wall. His examination was consistent with a central cord syndrome with the addition of dorsal column impairment. Cervical MRI demonstrated an isolated dorsal column signal that was suggestive of a nontraumatic etiology. The patient's symptoms resolved entirely over the course of 48 hours.

Nitrous oxide abuse is increasing in prevalence. Its toxic side effects can mask vitamin B12 and folate deficiency and central cord syndrome. The patient's history and radiographic presentation are key to establishing a diagnosis.

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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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Richard Dalyai, Robert M. Starke, Nohra Chalouhi, Thana Theofanis, Christopher Busack, Pascal Jabbour, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

Cigarette smoking has been well established as a risk factor in vascular pathology, such as cerebral aneurysms. However, tobacco’s implications for patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are controversial. The object of this study was to identify predictors of AVM obliteration and risk factors for complications.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database for all patients with AVMs treated using surgical excision, staged endovascular embolization (with N-butyl-cyanoacrylate or Onyx), stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife or Linear Accelerator), or a combination thereof between 1994 and 2010. Medical risk factors, such as smoking, abuse of alcohol or intravenous recreational drugs, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and coronary artery disease, were documented. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to detect predictors of periprocedural complications, obliteration, and posttreatment hemorrhage.

Results

Of 774 patients treated at a single tertiary care cerebrovascular center, 35% initially presented with symptomatic hemorrhage and 57.6% achieved complete obliteration according to digital subtraction angiography (DSA) or MRI. In a multivariate analysis a negative smoking history (OR 1.9, p = 0.006) was a strong independent predictor of AVM obliteration. Of the patients with obliterated AVMs, 31.9% were smokers, whereas 45% were not (p = 0.05). Multivariate analysis of obliteration, after controlling for AVM size and location (eloquent vs noneloquent tissue), revealed that nonsmokers were more likely (0.082) to have obliterated AVMs through radiosurgery. Smoking was not predictive of treatment complications or posttreatment hemorrhage. Abuse of alcohol or intravenous recreational drugs, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease had no discernible effect on AVM obliteration, periprocedural complications, or posttreatment hemorrhage.

Conclusions

Cerebral AVM patients with a history of smoking are significantly less likely than those without a smoking history to have complete AVM obliteration on follow-up DSA or MRI. Therefore, patients with AVMs should be strongly advised to quit smoking.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Cory D. Bovenzi, Vismay Thakkar, Jeremy Dressler, Pascal Jabbour, Robert M. Starke, Sonia Teufack, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Richard Dalyai, Aaron S. Dumont, Robert Rosenwasser and Stavropoula Tjoumakaris

Object

Aneurysm recurrence after coil therapy remains a major shortcoming in the endovascular management of cerebral aneurysms. The need for long-term imaging follow-up was recently investigated. This study assessed the diagnostic yield of long-term digital subtraction angiography (DSA) follow-up and determined predictors of delayed aneurysm recurrence and retreatment.

Methods

Inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) available short-term and long-term (> 36 months) follow-up DSA images, and 2) no or only minor aneurysm recurrence (not requiring further intervention, i.e., < 20%) documented on short-term follow-up DSA images.

Results

Of 209 patients included in the study, 88 (42%) presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. On shortterm follow-up DSA images, 158 (75%) aneurysms showed no recurrence, and 51 (25%) showed minor recurrence (< 20%, not retreated). On long-term follow-up DSA images, 124 (59%) aneurysms showed no recurrence, and 85 (41%) aneurysms showed recurrence, of which 55 (26%) required retreatment. In multivariate analysis, the predictors of recurrence on long-term follow-up DSA images were as follows: 1) larger aneurysm size (p = 0.001), 2) male sex (p = 0.006), 3) conventional coil therapy (p = 0.05), 4) aneurysm location (p = 0.01), and 5) a minor recurrence on short-term follow-up DSA images (p = 0.007). Ruptured aneurysm status was not a predictive factor. The sensitivity of short-term follow-up DSA studies was only 40.0% for detecting delayed aneurysm recurrence and 45.5% for detecting delayed recurrence requiring further treatment.

Conclusions

The results of this study highlight the importance of long-term angiographic follow-up after coil therapy for ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms. Predictors of delayed recurrence and retreatment include large aneurysms, recurrence on short-term follow-up DSA images (even minor), male sex, and conventional coil therapy.

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George M. Ghobrial, Christopher M. Maulucci, Mitchell Maltenfort, Richard T. Dalyai, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Michael G. Fehlings, John Street, Paul M. Arnold and James S. Harrop

Object

Thoracolumbar spine injuries are commonly encountered in patients with trauma, accounting for almost 90% of all spinal fractures. Thoracolumbar burst fractures comprise a high percentage of these traumatic fractures (45%), and approximately half of the patients with this injury pattern are neurologically intact. However, a debate over complication rates associated with operative versus nonoperative management of various thoracolumbar fracture morphologies is ongoing, particularly concerning those patients presenting without a neurological deficit.

Methods

A MEDLINE search for pertinent literature published between 1966 and December 2013 was conducted by 2 authors (G.G. and R.D.), who used 2 broad search terms to maximize the initial pool of manuscripts for screening. These terms were “operative lumbar spine adverse events” and “nonoperative lumbar spine adverse events.”

Results

In an advanced MEDLINE search of the term “operative lumbar spine adverse events” on January 8, 2014, 1459 results were obtained. In a search of “nonoperative lumbar spine adverse events,” 150 results were obtained. After a review of all abstracts for relevance to traumatic thoracolumbar spinal injuries, 62 abstracts were reviewed for the “operative” group and 21 abstracts were reviewed for the “nonoperative” group. A total of 14 manuscripts that met inclusion criteria for the operative group and 5 manuscripts that met criteria for the nonoperative group were included.

There were a total of 919 and 436 patients in the operative and nonoperative treatment groups, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups with respect to age, sex, and length of stay. The mean ages were 43.17 years in the operative and 34.68 years in the nonoperative groups. The majority of patients in both groups were Frankel Grade E (342 and 319 in operative and nonoperative groups, respectively). Among the studies that reported the data, the mean length of stay was 14 days in the operative group and 20.75 in the nonoperative group.

The incidence of all complications in the operative and nonoperative groups was 300 (32.6%) and 21 (4.8%), respectively (p = 0.1065). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with respect to the incidence of pulmonary, thromboembolic, cardiac, and gastrointestinal complications. However, the incidence of infections (pneumonia, urinary tract infection, wound infection, and sepsis) was significantly higher in the operative group (p = 0.000875). The incidence of instrumentation failure and need for revision surgery was 4.35% (40 of 919), a significant morbidity, and an event unique to the operative category (p = 0.00396).

Conclusions

Due to the limited number of high-quality studies, conclusions related to complication rates of operative and nonoperative management of thoracolumbar traumatic injuries cannot be definitively made. Further prospective, randomized studies of operative versus nonoperative management of thoracolumbar and lumbar spine trauma, with standardized definitions of complications and matched patient cohorts, will aid in properly defining the risk-benefit ratio of surgery for thoracolumbar spine fractures.

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Mario Zanaty, Nohra Chalouhi, Robert M. Starke, Shannon W. Clark, Cory D. Bovenzi, Mark Saigh, Eric Schwartz, Emily S. I. Kunkel, Alexandra S. Efthimiadis-Budike, Pascal Jabbour, Richard Dalyai, Robert H. Rosenwasser and Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris

OBJECT

The factors that contribute to periprocedural complications following cranioplasty, including patient-specific and surgery-specific factors, need to be thoroughly assessed. The aim of this study was to evaluate risk factors that predispose patients to an increased risk of cranioplasty complications and death.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all patients at their institution who underwent cranioplasty following craniectomy for stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, and trauma between January 2000 and December 2011. The following predictors were tested: age, sex, race, diabetic status, hypertensive status, tobacco use, reason for craniectomy, urgency status of the craniectomy, graft material, and location of cranioplasty. The cranioplasty complications included reoperation for hematoma, hydrocephalus postcranioplasty, postcranioplasty seizures, and cranioplasty graft infection. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed. Confidence intervals were calculated as the 95% CI.

RESULTS

Three hundred forty-eight patients were included in the study. The overall complication rate was 31.32% (109 of 348). The mortality rate was 3.16%. Predictors of overall complications in multivariate analysis were hypertension (OR 1.92, CI 1.22–3.02), increasing age (OR 1.02, CI 1.00–1.04), and hemorrhagic stroke (OR 3.84, CI 1.93–7.63). Predictors of mortality in multivariate analysis were diabetes mellitus (OR 7.56, CI 1.56–36.58), seizures (OR 7.25, CI 1.238–42.79), bifrontal cranioplasty (OR 5.40, CI 1.20–24.27), and repeated surgery for hematoma evacuation (OR 13.00, CI 1.51–112.02). Multivariate analysis was also applied to identify the variables that affect the development of seizures, the need for reoperation for hematoma evacuation, the development of hydrocephalus, and the development of infections.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' goal was to provide the neurosurgeon with predictors of morbidity and mortality that could be incorporated in the clinical decision-making algorithm. Control of a patient's risk factors and early recognition of complications may help practitioners avoid the exhaustive list of complications.

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George M. Ghobrial, Anil K. Nair, Richard T. Dalyai, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula I. Tjoumakaris, Aaron S. Dumont, Robert H. Rosenwasser and L. Fernando Gonzalez

Multimodal endovascular intervention is becoming more commonplace for the acute intervention of ischemic stroke. Hyperdensity in a portion of the treated territory is a common finding on postthrombolytic noncontrast CT (NCCT), but its significance is poorly understood. The authors conducted a single-institution, retrospective chart review of patients who had intraarterial thrombolysis of the anterior circulation between 2010 and 2011 with evidence of hyperdensity on NCCT following recanalization. Eighteen patients had evidence of postoperative contrast stasis causing hyperdensity on NCCT. One hundred percent of the patients had MR imaging evidence of completed strokes postoperatively in the same distribution as the stasis. Stasis on NCCT after intervention had a sensitivity and specificity of 82% and 0% for predicting stroke, respectively. Furthermore, the positive predictive value was 100%. The presence of contrast stasis on postthrombolytic NCCT correlates well with stroke seen on subsequent MR imaging.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Badih Daou, Toshimasa Okabe, Robert M. Starke, Richard Dalyai, Cory D. Bovenzi, Eliza Claire Anderson, Guilherme Barros, Adam Reese, Pascal Jabbour, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert Rosenwasser, Walter K. Kraft and Fred Rincon

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral vasospasm (cVSP) is a frequent complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), with a significant impact on outcome. Beta blockers (BBs) may blunt the sympathetic effect and catecholamine surge associated with ruptured cerebral aneurysms and prevent cardiac dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between preadmission BB therapy and cVSP, cardiac dysfunction, and in-hospital mortality following aSAH.

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with aSAH who were treated at a tertiary high-volume neurovascular referral center. The exposure was defined as any preadmission BB therapy. The primary outcome was cVSP assessed by serial transcranial Doppler with any mean flow velocity ≥ 120 cm/sec and/or need for endovascular intervention for medically refractory cVSP. Secondary outcomes were cardiac dysfunction (defined as cardiac troponin-I elevation > 0.05 μg/L, low left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] < 40%, or LV wall motion abnormalities [LVWMA]) and in-hospital mortality.

RESULTS

The cohort consisted of 210 patients treated between February 2009 and September 2010 (55% were women), with a mean age of 53.4 ± 13 years and median Hunt and Hess Grade III (interquartile range III–IV). Only 13% (27/210) of patients were exposed to preadmission BB therapy. Compared with these patients, a higher percentage of patients not exposed to preadmission BBs had transcranial Doppler-mean flow velocity ≥ 120 cm/sec (59% vs 22%; p = 0.003). In multivariate analyses, lower Hunt and Hess grade (OR 3.9; p < 0.001) and preadmission BBs (OR 4.5; p = 0.002) were negatively associated with cVSP. In multivariate analysis, LVWMA (OR 2.7; p = 0.002) and low LVEF (OR 1.1; p = 0.05) were independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Low LVEF (OR 3.9; p = 0.05) independently predicted medically refractory cVSP. The in-hospital mortality rate was higher in patients with LVWMA (47.4% vs 14.8%; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The study data suggest that preadmission therapy with BBs is associated with lower incidence of cVSP after aSAH. LV dysfunction was associated with higher medically refractory cVSP and in-hospital mortality. BB therapy may be considered after aSAH as a cardioprotective and cVSP preventive therapy.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Aaron S. Dumont, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Jurij R. Bilyk, Ciro Randazzo, David Hasan, Richard T. Dalyai, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

Object

Endovascular therapy is the primary treatment option for carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs). Operative cannulation of the superior ophthalmic vein (SOV) provides a reasonable alternative route to the cavernous sinus when all transvenous and transarterial approaches have been unsuccessful. The role of the liquid embolic agent Onyx in the management of CCFs has not been well documented, especially when using an SOV approach. The purpose of this study is to assess the safety and efficacy of Onyx embolization of CCFs through a surgical cannulation of the SOV.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients with CCFs who were treated with Onyx through an SOV approach between April 2009 and April 2011. Traditional endovascular approaches had failed in all patients.

Results

A total of 10 patients were identified, 1 with a Type A CCF, 5 with a Type B CCF, and 4 with a Type D CCF. All fistulas were embolized in 1 session. Onyx was the sole embolic agent used in 7 cases and was combined with coils in 3 other cases. Complete obliteration was achieved in 8 patients and a significant reduction in fistulous flow was achieved in 2 patients, which later progressed to near-complete occlusion on angiographic follow-up. All patients experienced a complete clinical recovery with excellent cosmetic results and were free from recurrence at their latest clinical follow-up evaluations.

Conclusions

Onyx embolization is an excellent therapy for CCFs in general, and through an SOV approach in particular. Direct operative cannulation of the SOV followed by Onyx embolization may be the best treatment option in patients with CCFs when all other endovascular approaches have been exhausted.

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Richard T. Dalyai, George Ghobrial, Issam Awad, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Aaron S. Dumont, Nohra Chalouhi, Ciro Randazzo, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

Cavernous malformations (CMs) are angiographically occult vascular malformations that are frequently found incidentally on MR imaging. Despite this benign presentation, these lesions could cause symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, seizures, and focal neurological deficits. Cavernomas can be managed conservatively with neuroimaging studies, surgically with lesion removal, or with radiosurgery. Considering recent studies examining the CM's natural history, imaging techniques, and possible therapeutic interventions, the authors provide a concise review of the literature and discuss the optimal management of incidental CMs.