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Donald F. Huelke, James O'Day and Robert A. Mendelsohn

✓ The National Crash Severity Study data in which occupants sustained severe, serious, critical-to-life, or fatal cervical injuries were reviewed. Of passenger cars damaged severely enough to be towed from the scene, it is estimated that one in 300 occupants sustained a neck injury of a severe nature. The neck-injury rate rose to one in 14 occupants for those ejected from their cars, although many of these injuries resulted from contacts within the car before or during the process of ejection. Severe neck injuries were rather rare in cars struck in the rear, but were more common in frontal and side impacts. Occupants between 16 and 25 years of age had such injuries more than twice as often as those in any other age group. Most of the neck injuries of a more severe nature involved the cervical spine or spinal cord. Injuries of the anterior aspect of the neck were relatively infrequent, and usually resulted from direct blunt impacts. National projections of the number of fatalities related to cervical injuries indicates that 5940 deaths, or approximately 20% of all in-car deaths, include fatal cervical spine injuries, and that about 500 cases of quadriplegia per year result from automobile accidents.

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James Rodney Feild, Ling Lee and Robert F. McBurney

✓ Of 1000 patients who had 1202 brachial and 1099 carotid arteriograms between 1966–1970, 52 had mild and 15 severe complications. Cerebrovascular disease was most frequently encountered. There were 11 patients undergoing simultaneous carotid and brachial arteriography in whom complications could not be localized to an individual artery. Including this group the complication rate for brachial arteriograms was 3.99% and excluding this group the complication rate was 3.08%. There were 3.32% mild and 0.60% severe complications of brachial arteriography and a mortality rate of 0.21%. A serious complication occurred at a rate of one per 152 brachial arteriograms. The complication rate of brachial arteriography with carotid vascular disease was 2.70% and 6.41% with basilar artery disease. The total complication rate of brachial arteriography in cerebrovascular disease was 12.17%. The most common local complication was a transient loss of the radial pulse. The most common cerebral complication was a transient motor deficit.

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Gregory F. Ricca, James T. Robertson and Robert S. Hines

✓ Intervertebral disc degeneration of any etiology may be associated with the formation of spaces or clefts within the disc. Gas collects within these spaces and can be seen roentgenographically. A case is presented in which intradiscal gas herniated into a connective tissue capsule, displacing the left S-1 nerve root and producing symptoms and signs identical to those of a herniated nucleus pulposus. The pathophysiology of gas within a disc space and the possibility that it may herniate much like the nucleus pulposus is discussed.

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Method for measuring brain tissue pressure

Response to alteration in pCO2, systemic blood pressure, and middle cerebral artery occlusion

Robert M. Clark, Norman F. Capra and James H. Halsey Jr.

✓ The authors report a method for measuring total local brain tissue pressure (BTP) using a miniature catheter transducer stereotaxically introduced into the white matter of the cat's cerebrum. Quantitative rapid phasic pressure changes were satisfactorily demonstrated. Due to some drift of baseline of the transducers and inability to perform in vivo calibration, reliable long-term quantitative pressure measurements sometimes could not be studied. The BTP from each cerebral hemisphere and the cisternal pressure (CP) were monitored during alterations of pCO2 and systemic blood pressure, and distilled H2O injection prior to and after right middle cerebral artery (MCA) ligation. The catheter transducers functioned well on chronic implantation for up to 6 weeks. Compared to the chronically implanted catheters, acutely implanted catheters responded identically except for drift. The response of intracranial pressure and CP to MCA occlusion, alterations in pCO2, and systemic blood pressure were similar. No BTP gradients appeared in response to MCA ligation, hypercapnia, hypertension, or progressive swelling of the resulting infarction.

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Richard F. Bulger, James E. Rejowski and Robert A. Beatty

✓ In a series of 375 patients with anterior cervical fusions, long-term follow-up results complete with laryngeal examination were obtained in 102 patients. One patient was found to have an inferior laryngeal nerve palsy, and one had a superior laryngeal nerve palsy. Both deficits were thought to be the result of surgical trauma. Measures to minimize the incidence of vocal cord paralysis include careful surgical technique and knowledge of the surgical anatomy of the laryngeal nerves. Suggestions are given for the assessment of postoperative hoarseness, and for the management of vocal cord paralysis.

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James M. Herman, Robert F. Spetzler, Joshua B. Bederson, James M. Kurbat and Joseph M. Zabramski

✓ A rat model was developed to determine the role of sinus thrombosis and elevated sinus pressures in the pathogenesis of dural arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) Five protocols were tested to compare various sinus pressures and thrombosis of a sinus: 1) Control I, sham operation (five animals); 2) Control II, occlusion of the right common carotid artery, the right external jugular vein, and the vein draining the left transverse sinus, as well as thrombosis of the sagittal sinus (10 animals); 3) arteriovenous fistula (AVF) I, anastomosis of the right common carotid artery to the external jugular vein causing retrograde flow through the transverse sinus (10 animals); 4) AVF II, anastomosis (as described in AVF I) and thrombosis of the sagittal sinus (12 animals); 5) AVF III, anastomosis (as described in AVF I) as well as thrombosis of the sagittal sinus and occlusion of the vein draining the transverse sinus on the left (12 animals). Mean arterial and sagittal sinus pressures were monitored and cerebral angiograms were obtained intraoperatively and again 90 days later. Afterward, the animals were sacrificed and their brains and dura were examined histologically.

Formation of a fistula resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) threefold increase in sagittal sinus pressure in the AVF II group and a significant (p < 0.05) sixfold increase in the AVF III group. Seven dural AVMs (three in the AVF II group and four in the AVF III group) were demonstrated angiographically and histologically. The seven malformations were located adjacent to a thrombosed sagittal sinus. All lesions were within the dura and sinus wall with direct thrombus—sinus wall connections demonstrated in four of the malformations. The other three lesions displayed arteriovenous connections within the sinus wall and dura. These data suggest the importance of not only sinus thrombosis but also sinus hypertension in the development of a dural AVM.

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Patrick W. McCormick, Robert F. Spetzler, Julian E. Bailes, Joseph M. Zabramski and James L. Frey

✓ A retrospective review of 42 patients (mean age 61.4 years) with surgically managed symptomatic internal carotid artery occlusion is reported. A standardized surgical protocol aimed at restoration of flow in the vessel was used. Presenting symptoms included hemispheric transient ischemic attacks in 68% of patients, new fixed neurological deficits in 28%, amaurosis fugax in 28%, and stroke-in-evolution in 9%. Twenty-four arteries were successfully reopened. A proximal remnant angioplasty (stumpectomy) was performed alone in nine patients or in combination with an external carotid endarterectomy in nine. In four patients with persisting symptoms who failed to achieve primary restoration of flow, a superficial temporal-to-middle cerebral artery bypass procedure was performed.

The permanent surgical morbidity rate was 2% and the surgical mortality rate was 0%. Transient postoperative deficits were present in three patients (7%). Follow-up review at a mean of 40 months was obtained in 39 patients (93%). Following surgical intervention, five patients died of unrelated causes, two had neurological events consistent with a transient cerebral ischemic attack, and two had vertebrobasilar insufficiency. No patient suffered from stroke.

Of the 24 successfully reopened vessels, follow-up ultrasound evaluations were obtained in 17 (73%) at a mean of 28 months after surgery. In 15 patients (88%) the vessels were widely patent, one (5.8%) had stenosis greater than 70%, and one (5.8%) showed asymptomatic reocclusion.

Reopening occluded internal carotid arteries in selected patients is associated with low surgical morbidity and mortality rates. Further studies are necessary to determine the impact of this surgical therapy on the natural history of this condition.