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Marcia Katz, Hugh S. Wisoff and Robert D. Zimmerman

✓ Unique radiographic and autopsy findings are described in a patient with bilateral basilar artery-middle meningeal artery (BA-MMA) anastomoses associated with a ruptured aneurysm of the anterior communicating artery. The literature, anatomy, and embryology of BA-MMA anastomosis is reviewed.

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Brian C. Fitzpatrick, Robert F. Spetzler, Jeffrey L. Ballard and Richard S. Zimmerman

✓ The technique for cervical-to-petrous internal carotid artery saphenous vein bypass is described. This procedure was used in the treatment of three patients with high cervical or skull base vascular injuries. All grafts were patent on follow-up angiography.

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Peter P. Sun, Glen J. Poffenbarger, Susan Durham and Robert A. Zimmerman

Object. Injuries of the occipitoatlantoaxial (Oc—C2) region are the predominant form of cervical injury in children younger than 10 years of age. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can be used to visualize directly the traumatic ligamentous and soft-tissue abnormalities of the Oc—C2 region. A retrospective review was undertaken to examine the spectrum of pediatric Oc—C2 injuries seen on MR imaging, their correlation with plain x-ray film and computerized tomography findings, and their clinical course.

Methods. Seventy-one consecutive children younger than 10 years of age underwent cervical MR imaging for evaluation of traumatic injury. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to document abnormalities in 23 children; 20 of these injuries involved the Oc—C2 region. Abnormalities in the Oc—C2 region included disruptions of the musculature, apical ligament, atlantooccipital joint(s), tectorial membrane, and spinal cord. A spectrum of injury with progressive involvement of these structures was seen, ranging from isolated muscular injury to the multiple soft-tissue and ligamentous disruptions with craniocervical dislocation. Involvement of the tectorial membrane was the critical threshold in the transition from stable to unstable injury. Analysis of plain x-ray films revealed that a novel interspinous C1–2:C2–3 ratio criteria of greater than or equal to 2.5 was predictive of tectorial membrane abnormalities on MR imaging, with 87% sensitivity and 100% specificity. In patients with tectorial membrane abnormalities who underwent immobilization alone, interim platybasia was demonstrated on follow-up MR images.

Conclusions. A progressive spectrum of distinct Oc—C2 injuries can occur in young children; the tectorial membrane is a critical stabilizing ligamentous structure in the Oc—C2 complex; and tectorial membrane abnormalities may be identified by a C1–2:C2–3 ratio of greater than or equal to 2.5.

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Leslie N. Sutton, Robert E. Lenkinski, Bruce H. Cohen, Roger J. Packer and Robert A. Zimmerman

✓ Fourteen children aged 1 week to 16 years, with a variety of large or superficial brain tumors, underwent localized in vivo 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy of their tumor. Quantitative spectral analysis was performed by measuring the area under individual peaks using a computer algorithm. In eight patients with histologically benign tumors the spectra were considered to be qualitatively indistinguishable from normal brain. The phosphocreatine/inorganic phosphate ratio (PCr/Pi) averaged 2.0. Five patients had histologically malignant tumors; qualitatively, four of these were considered to have abnormal spectra, showing a decrease in the PCr peak. The PCr/Pi ratio for this group averaged 0.85, which was significantly lower than that seen in the benign tumor group (p < 0.05). No difference between the two groups was seen in adenosine triphosphate or phosphomonoesters. It is concluded that a specific metabolic “fingerprint” for childhood brain tumors may not exist, but that some malignant tumors show a pattern suggestive of ischemia.

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Javad Towfighi, Larissa T. Bilaniuk, Robert A. Zimmerman, Thomas W. Langfitt and Nicholas K. Gonatas

✓ The authors present a case in which bilateral posttraumatic hemorrhages in choroid plexus hemangiomas were demonstrated by computed tomography and histopathological study.

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Richard S. Zimmerman, Robert F. Spetzler, K. Stuart Lee, Joseph M. Zabramski and Ronald W. Hargraves

✓ Once they become symptomatic, cavernous malformations of the brain stem appear to cause progressive morbidity from repetitive hemorrhage, and can even be fatal. Twenty-four patients with long-tract and/or cranial nerve findings from their cavernous malformations of the brain stem were seen for initial evaluation or surgical consultation and thereafter received either surgical or continued conservative treatment. The decision to operate was based on the proximity of the cavernous malformation to the pial surface of the brain stem, the patient's neurological status, and the number of symptomatic episodes. Sixteen patients were treated by definitive surgery directed at excision of their malformation. In four patients, associated venous malformations influenced the surgical approach and their recognition avoided the risk of inappropriate excision of the venous malformation. Although some of the 16 patients had transient, immediate, postoperative worsening of their neurological deficits, the outcome of all except one was the same or improved. Only one patient developed recurrent symptoms: a new deficit 2½ years after surgery required reoperation after regrowth of the cavernous malformation. She has been neurologically stable since the second surgery. One patient died 6 months postoperatively from a shunt infection and sepsis. The eight conservatively treated patients are followed with annual magnetic resonance imaging studies. One has a dramatic associated venous malformation. Seven patients have either minor intermittent or no symptoms, and the eighth died from a hemorrhage 1 year after his initial presentation.

Based on these results, surgical extirpation of symptomatic cavernous malformations of the brain stem appears to be the treatment of choice when a patient is symptomatic, the lesion is located superficially, and an operative approach can spare eloquent tissue. When cavernous malformations of the brain stem are completely excised, cure appears permanent.

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Thomas W. Langfitt, Walter D. Obrist, Abass Alavi, Robert I. Grossman, Robert Zimmerman, Jurg Jaggi, Barbara Uzzell, Martin Reivich and Dreux R. Patton

✓ Results of computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), xenon-133 measurement of cerebral blood flow (CBF), and neuropsychological assessments are described in three head-injured patients. The patients were selected because they presented with intracranial hemorrhage diagnosed by CT. Two of the patients were studied acutely and again approximately 6 months later. In the acute stage, MRI was superior to CT in identifying the precise location and extent of intracranial hemorrhage and associated edema. Small subdural hematomas diagnosed on MRI were missed with CT scanning. The extent of apparent encephalomalacia in the chronic stages of injury was also better defined with MRI. Position emission tomography showed disturbances of glucose metabolism that extended beyond the structural abnormalities demonstrated by MRI and CT; anterior temporal lobe dysfunction was particularly evident in all three patients. Regional CBF studies failed to detect a number of the abnormalities seen on MRI and CT, and even ignored the metabolic dysfunction evident on PET that should have been accompanied by changes in regional CBF. The neuropsychological studies localized frontal lesions, but did not reveal abnormalities attributable to the structural lesions and the reduced metabolism in the anterior temporal lobes.

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Marc S. Arginteanu, Karin Hague, Robert Zimmerman, Mark J. Kupersmith, John H. Shaiu, John Schaeffer and Kalmon D. Post

✓ The authors report the case of a 55-year-old woman who developed a symptomatic craniopharyngioma within 2 years of obtaining a normal magnetic resonance image of her brain. Craniopharyngiomas are histologically benign tumors. They are thought to arise from embryonic remnants of Rathke's pouch and sac and to manifest themselves clinically after a steady growth that commences in fetal life. To the authors' knowlege, this is the first report that documents a tumor arising de novo in the sixth decade of life. This report appears to challenge the concept of the origin and natural history of craniopharyngiomas.

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Joseph M. Zabramski, Robert F. Spetzler, K. Stuart Lee, Stephen M. Papadopoulos, Edwin Bovill, Richard S. Zimmerman and Joshua B. Bederson

✓ Recent laboratory studies have demonstrated that intracisternal administration of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) can facilitate the normal clearing of blood from the subarachnoid space and prevent or ameliorate delayed arterial spasm. The results of a preliminary Phase I trial of intracisternal rt-PA in 10 patients are reported with documented aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). All patients enrolled were classified as clinical Grade III or IV (according to Hunt and Hess) with thick clots or layers of blood in the basal cisterns and major cerebral fissures (Fisher Grade 3). Ventriculostomy and surgery for clipping of the aneurysms were performed within 48 hours of hemorrhage. In one patient, 10 mg rt-PA was instilled into the subarachnoid cisterns prior to closing the dura. In the remaining nine patients, a small silicone catheter was left in the subarachnoid space and rt-PA (5 mg in four cases or 1.5 mg (0.5 mg every 8 hours for three infusions) in five cases) was instilled 12 to 24 hours after surgery. Minor local bleeding complications were noted in all patients receiving 5 or 10 mg rt-PA. Oozing was noted at the operative incision site in four of five patients and at the ventriculostomy site in two patients. One patient developed a small epidural hematoma that was treated by delayed drainage. No bleeding complications were noted in the patients receiving the lower regimen of rt-PA (three infusions of 0.5 mg each). Serial coagulation studies demonstrated no evidence of systemic fibrinolysis. Analysis of cisternal cerebrospinal fluid samples revealed thrombolytic tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) levels for 24 to 48 hours. Follow-up cerebral angiography 7 to 8 days after rupture disclosed mild to moderate spasm in nine patients, while one patient with hemorrhage from a posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysm had severe focal spasm of the vertebral arteries that was not symptomatic. These results suggest that postoperative treatment with rt-PA may be effective in reducing the severity of delayed cerebral vasospasm. The results of serial t-PA levels suggest that the lower dosage regimen with divided dosages at 8-hour intervals is well tolerated and that even lower dosages may be effective. Further studies are clearly indicated.