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Mario Teo and Sam Eljamel

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M. Sam Eljamel

Object

The author presents his personal perspective on ablative neurosurgical techniques used to perform bilateral anterior cingulotomy (BACI) and bilateral anterior capsulotomy (BACA) for ameliorating the symptoms of refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment refractory depression (TRD). With depression predicted to be the second most common cause of disability in the world by the year 2020 and the birth of electric neurostimulation representing an attractive alternative treatment option for TRD and OCD, it is desirable to revisit the pros and cons of these treatment options.

Methods

The author reviewed the surgical methods and outcome (including neuroimaging findings) in all cases in which ablative neurosurgery was performed at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School over the last 2 decades.

Results

The advantages of ablative procedures (BACI and BACA) from patients’ and psychiatrists’ perspectives are that the ablative procedures are one-off procedures that do not require lifelong commitment to program the stimulation devices, fix hardware failures, or change exhausted batteries. From the perspective of healthcare funding bodies, the relatively low cost of these treatments is an advantage. The main disadvantages of BACI and BACA are the perceived higher complication rates, the irreversibility of the surgical lesions, and the stigma associated with brain destruction in psychiatric patients that are still unpalatable in the community at large. However, some patients still choose a one-off procedure in preference to any other options presented to them.

Conclusions

There is still place for BACI and BACA in modern neurosurgery for mental disorders, at least in the short term for those who do not want to commit to lifelong device programming and maintenance.

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Greg D. Guthrie and Sam Eljamel

Object

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common astrocytic brain tumor and carries a dire prognosis. Despite current therapeutic options—surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy—survival varies from 11.3 to 14.6 months. A group of drugs known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) has demonstrated a potentially beneficial role in cancer treatment, particularly in combination with other therapies. A drug that exhibits potential as an HDI is sodium valproate (VPA), which is frequently used to treat seizures in patients with cerebral neoplasms. The present study was undertaken to investigate the role of VPA as an antitumor agent in the management of patients with GBM.

Methods

A review was conducted in terms of how HDIs work, the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and the effects of AEDs on survival in a local cohort of patients diagnosed with GBM. The local cohort of patients was determined by reviewing the electronic histopathology and AED informatics systems. A meta-analysis of papers on the use of AEDs in GBM was also performed.

Results

The local cohort consisted of 236 patients with GBM, 210 of whom had complete data available for analysis, a median age of 62 years, and 1-year survival of 26%. Patients treated with AEDs had a significantly longer survival than those who were not (Mantel-Cox log-rank test 19.617, p < 0.001). Those treated with VPA had significantly longer survival than those who did not receive an AED (Mantel-Cox log-rank test 17.506, p < 0.001), and patients treated with VPA had a significantly longer survival than those who had received other AEDs (Mantel-Cox log-rank test 5.303, p < 0.02).

Conclusions

Authors of this study demonstrated evidence supporting the theory that VPA may benefit patients with GBM in terms of survival.

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Ankur Saxena and Sam Eljamel

Object

“Group and save” (type and screen) is commonly requested preoperatively in lumbar microdiscectomy. On average, less than 100 ml of blood is lost during lumbar microdiscectomy, and blood transfusion guidelines and resuscitation practice recommend that no transfusion would be required in almost all healthy patients with less than 750 ml of blood loss. The authors performed an audit of 319 consecutive lumbar microdiscectomies to determine if the practice of group and save can be justified. A telephone survey of the United Kingdom (UK) neurosurgical units to establish current UK neurosurgical practice was also conducted.

Methods

A telephone survey of all UK neurosurgical units and an audit of all patients who underwent primary lumbar microdiscectomy at our institution over a period of 2 consecutive years was performed. The health records of all patients were retrieved and critically reviewed. Information about hemoglobin measurements before and after surgery, group and save, and blood transfusion were collected.

Results

Thirty-two UK neurosurgical units were surveyed by telephone, with a 100% response rate. Group and save was commonly performed prior to lumbar microdiscectomy in 28 units (87.5%). The records of 319 consecutive patients who underwent lumber microdiscectomy were reviewed. All patients had group and save prior to lumbar microdiscectomy. No patient required a blood transfusion during or after surgery. The mean decrease in hemoglobin concentration was 0.8 g/dl in 121 patients who had postoperative hemoglobin measurements.

Conclusions

Blood transfusion and hemoglobin decrease following lumbar microdiscectomy is exceptionally rare. Group and save and postoperative hemoglobin measurements are therefore nonessential in all patients undergoing lumbar microdiscectomy, with potentially significant cost savings from not performing these tests.

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Hon Tang, Francisco Falcone and Sam Eljamel

The authors present the first reported case of herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) precipitated by trigeminal nerve microvascular decompression (MVD). The presentation of this specific case together with the pathogenesis and management of HSE are discussed, with a relevant literature review.

This 29-year-old woman with treatment-resistant trigeminal neuralgia underwent a successful elective MVD of the right trigeminal nerve. She was discharged but was readmitted 1 week postoperatively with clinical signs and symptoms of meningitis. A CSF sample was obtained through lumbar puncture before she was treated initially with ceftriaxone. The polymerase chain reaction test of CSF was later positive for herpes simplex virus Type 1, at which point the patient was switched to a 2-week course of intravenous acyclovir before being discharged.

Although this disease is rare, to avoid a delay in antiviral treatment the authors suggest that HSE should be considered in any patient presenting with a meningoencephalitic picture following MVD.

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Ramon Navarro, Linaloe Kala, W. David Freeman, Ricardo A. Hanel and Rabih G. Tawk