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Tarek Rayan and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

With large or giant aneurysms, the use of multiple tandem clips can be essential for complete obliteration of the aneurysm. One potential disadvantage, however, is the considerable cumulative weight of these clips, which may lead to kinking of the underlying parent vessels and obstruction of flow. The authors describe a simple technique to address this problem, guided by intraoperative blood flow measurements, in a patient with a ruptured near-giant 2.2 × 1.7–cm middle cerebral artery bifurcation aneurysm that was treated with the tandem clipping technique. A total of 11 clips were applied in a vertical stacked fashion. The cumulative weight of the clips caused kinking of the temporal M2 branch of the bifurcation with reduction of flow. A 4-0 Nurolon suture tie was applied to the hub of one of the clips and was tethered to the dura of the sphenoid ridge by a small mini-clip and reinforced by application of tissue sealant. The patient underwent intraoperative indocyanine green videoangiography as well as catheter angiography, which demonstrated complete aneurysmal obliteration and preservation of vessel branches. Postoperative angiography confirmed patency of the bifurcation vessels with mild vasospasm. The patient had a full recovery with no postoperative complications and was neurologically intact at her 6-month follow-up. The suture retraction technique allows a simple solution to parent vessel obstruction following aneurysm tandem clipping, in conjunction with the essential guidance provided by intraoperative flow measurements.

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E. Sander Connolly Jr.

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Christopher J. Stapleton, Gursant S. Atwal, Ahmed E. Hussein, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, and Fady T. Charbel

OBJECTIVE

In extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery, the cut flow index (CFI) is the ratio of bypass flow (ml/min) to donor vessel cut flow (ml/min), and a CFI ≥ 0.5 has been shown to correlate with bypass patency. The authors sought to validate this observation in a large cohort of EC-IC bypasses for ischemic cerebrovascular disease with long-term angiographic follow-up.

METHODS

All intracranial bypass procedures performed at a single institution between 2003 and 2018 were reviewed. Demographic, clinical, angiographic, and operative data were recorded and analyzed according to bypass patency with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses.

RESULTS

A total of 278 consecutive intracranial bypasses were performed during the study period, of which 157 (56.5%) were EC-IC bypasses for ischemic cerebrovascular disease. Intraoperative blood flow measurements were available in 146 patients, and angiographic follow-up was available at a mean of 2.1 ± 2.6 years after bypass. The mean CFI was significantly higher in patients with patent bypasses (0.92 vs 0.64, p = 0.003). The bypass patency rate was 83.1% in cases with a CFI ≥ 0.5 compared with 46.4% in cases with a CFI < 0.5 (p < 0.0001). Adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis, and single versus double anastomosis, the CFI remained a significant predictor of bypass patency (p = 0.001; OR 5.8, 95% CI 2.0–19.0). A low CFI was also associated with early versus late bypass nonpatency (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

A favorable CFI portends long-term EC-IC bypass patency, while a poor CFI predicts eventual bypass nonpatency and can alert surgeons to potential problems with the donor vessel, anastomosis, or recipient bed during surgery.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Nicholas C. Bambakidis, and Robert F. Spetzler

Posterior circulation lesions constitute approximately 10% of all intracranial aneurysms. Their distribution includes the basilar artery (BA) bifurcation, superior cerebellar artery, posterior inferior cerebellar artery, and anterior inferior cerebellar artery. The specific features of a patient's aneurysm and superb anatomical knowledge help the surgeon to choose the most appropriate approach and to tailor it to the patient's situation. The main principle that must be applied is maximization of bone resection. This allows the surgeon to work within a wider corridor, which facilitates the use of surgical instruments and minimizes retraction of the brain.

The management of aneurysms within the posterior circulation requires expertise in skull base and vascular surgery. Endovascular treatments have become increasingly important, but in this paper the authors focus on the surgical management of these difficult aneurysms. The paper is divided into three parts: the first section is a brief review of the anatomy of the BA; the second part is a review of the techniques associated with the management of posterior fossa aneurysms; and in the third section the authors describe the different approaches, their nuances and indications based on the location of the aneurysm, and its relationship to the surrounding bone (especially the clivus, dorsum sellae, and the free edge of the petrous apex).

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Christopher J. Stapleton, Ahmed E. Hussein, Mandana Behbahani, Ali Alaraj, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, and Fady T. Charbel

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral bypasses are performed for the purpose of either flow augmentation for ischemic cerebrovascular disease or flow replacement for vessel sacrifice during complex aneurysm or tumor surgery. Saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) are commonly used interposition grafts. The authors of this study sought to compare the efficacy of autologous versus cadaveric SVGs in a large series of cerebral bypasses using interposition vein grafts with long-term angiographic follow-up.

METHODS

All intracranial bypass procedures performed between 2001 and 2018 were reviewed. Demographic, clinical, angiographic, and operative data were recorded and then analyzed according to SVG type.

RESULTS

A total of 308 consecutive intracranial bypasses were performed during the study period, 53 (17.2%) of which were bypasses with an interposition SVG (38 autologous, 15 cadaveric). At a median follow-up of 2.2 months (IQR 0.2–29.1), 39 (73.6%) bypasses were patent (26 [68.4%] autologous, 13 [86.7%] cadaveric, p = 0.30). Comparing autologous and cadaveric SVG recipients, there were no statistically significant differences in age (p = 0.50), sex (p > 0.99), history of smoking (p = 0.75), hypertension (p > 0.99), diabetes mellitus (p = 0.13), indication for bypass (p = 0.27), or SVG diameter (p = 0.65). While there were higher intraoperative (autologous, 100.0 ml/min, IQR 84.3–147.5; cadaveric, 80.0 ml/min, IQR 47.3–107.8; p = 0.11) and postoperative (autologous, 142.2 ml/min, IQR 76.8–160.8; cadaveric, 92.0 ml/min, IQR 69.2–132.2; p = 0.42) volumetric flow rates in the autologous SVGs compared to those in the cadaveric SVGs, the difference between the two groups did not reach statistical significance. In addition, the blood flow index, or ratio of postoperative to intraoperative blood flow, for each bypass was similar between the groups (autologous, 1.3, IQR 0.9–1.6; cadaveric, 1.5, IQR 1.0–2.3; p = 0.37). Kaplan-Meier estimates showed no difference in bypass patency rates over time between autologous and cadaveric SVGs (p = 0.58).

CONCLUSIONS

Cadaveric SVGs are a reasonable interposition graft option in cerebral revascularization surgery when autologous grafts are not available.

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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, John H. Shin, Meide Zhao, Xinjian Du, and Fady T. Charbel

Object

To date, angiography has been the primary modality for assessing graft patency following extracranial–intracranial bypass. The utility of a noninvasive and quantitative method of assessing bypass function postoperatively was evaluated using quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography.

Methods

One hundred one cases of bypass surgery performed over a 5.5-year period at a single institution were reviewed. In 62 cases, both angiographic and quantitative MR angiographic data were available. Intraoperative flow measurements were available in 13 cases in which quantitative MR angiography was performed during the early postoperative period (within 48 hours after surgery).

There was excellent correlation between quantitative MR angiographic flow and angiographic findings over the mean 10 months of imaging follow up. Occluded bypasses were consistently absent on quantitative MR angiograms (four cases). The flow rates were significantly lower in those bypasses that became stenotic or reduced in diameter as demonstrated by follow-up angiography (nine cases) than in those bypasses that remained fully patent (mean ± standard error of the mean, 37 ± 13 ml/minute compared with 105 ± 7 ml/minute, p = 0.001). Flows were appreciably lower in poorly functioning bypasses for both vein and in situ arterial grafts. All angiographically poor bypasses (nine cases) were identifiable by absolute flows of less than 20 ml/minute or a reduction in flow greater than 30% within 3 months. Good correlation was seen between intraoperative flow measurements and early postoperative quantitative MR angiographic flow measurements (13 cases, Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.70, p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Bypass grafts can be assessed in a noninvasive fashion by using quantitative MR angiography. This imaging modality provides not only information regarding patency as shown by conventional angiography, but also a quantitative assessment of bypass function. In this study, a low or rapidly decreasing flow was indicative of a shrunken or stenotic graft. Quantitative MR angiography may provide an alternative to standard angiography for serial follow up of bypass grafts.

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Ali Alaraj, Troy Munson, Sebastian R. Herrera, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel, and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid hypotension, or “brain sag,” is a recently described phenomenon most commonly seen following craniotomy for the clipping of ruptured aneurysms along with preoperative lumbar drain placement. The clinical features and CT findings have been previously described. Clinical presentation can be similar to and often mistaken for cerebral vasospasm. In this study, the authors report on the angiographic findings in patients with brain sag.

Methods

Five cases of brain sag were diagnosed (range 1–4 days) after the surgical treatment of ruptured aneurysms at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All patients met the clinical and CT criteria for brain sag. Admission cerebral angiograms and subsequent angiograms during symptoms of brain sag were obtained in all patients. In 3 patients, angiography was performed after the resolution of symptoms.

Results

In all 5 patients, the level of the basilar artery apex was displaced inferiorly with respect to the posterior clinoid processes during brain sag. This displacement was significant enough to create a noticeable kink in the basilar artery (“cobra sign”) in 3 patients. Other angiographic findings included foreshortening or kinking of the intracranial vertebral artery. In all patients, the posterior cerebral arteries were displaced medially and inferiorly. Three patients were treated for simultaneous severe radiological vasospasm. In 4 patients, the brain sag was recognized, and the patients' conditions improved when they were placed flat or in the Trendelenburg position, at times combined with an epidural blood patch. Patients with follow-up angiography studies after the symptoms had resolved displayed a reversal of the angiographic features.

Conclusions

Brain sag appears to be associated with characteristic angiographic features. Recognizing these features may help to diagnose brain sag as the cause of neurological deterioration in this patient population.

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Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, William E. Butler, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Bob S. Carter, and Fred G. Barker II

Object. The authors assessed the results of extracranial—intracranial (EC—IC) bypass surgery in the treatment of occlusive cerebrovascular disease and intracranial aneurysms in the US between 1992 and 2001 by using population-based methods.

Methods. This is a retrospective cohort study based on data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD). Five hundred fifty-eight operations were performed at 158 hospitals by 115 identified surgeons. The indications for surgery were cerebral ischemia in 74% of the operations (2.4% mortality rate), unruptured aneurysms in 19% of the operations (7.7% mortality rate), and ruptured aneurysms in 7% of the operations (21% mortality rate). Overall, 4.6% of the patients died and 4.7% of the patients were discharged to long-term facilities, 16.4% to short-term facilities, and 74.2% to their homes. The annual number of admissions in the US increased from 190 per year (1992–1996) to 360 per year (1997–2001), whereas the mortality rates increased from 2.8% (1992–1996) to 5.7% (1997–2001).

The median annual number of procedures was three per hospital (range one–27 operations) or two per surgeon (range one–21 operations). For 29% of patients, their bypass procedure was the only one recorded at their particular hospital during that year; for these institutions the mean annual caseload was 0.4 admissions per year. For 42% of patients, their particular surgeon performed no other bypass procedure during that year. Older patient age (p < 0.001) and African-American race (p = 0.005) were risk factors for adverse outcome. In a multivariate analysis in which adjustments were made for age, sex, race, diagnosis, admission type, geographic region, medical comorbidity, and year of surgery, high-volume hospitals less frequently had an adverse discharge disposition (odds ratio 0.54, p = 0.03).

Conclusions. Most EC—IC bypasses performed in the US during the last decade were performed for occlusive cerebrovascular disease. Community mortality rates for aneurysm treatment including bypass procedures currently exceed published values from specialized centers and, during the period under study, the mortality rates increased with time for all diagnostic subgroups. This technically demanding procedure has become a very low-volume operation at most US centers.

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Omar M. Qahwash, Ali Alaraj, Victor Aletich, Fady T. Charbel, and Sepideh Amin-Hanjani

Object

The goal of this study was to demonstrate feasibility and evaluate technical aspects of early endovascular access through extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass grafts.

Methods

Patients undergoing endovascular interventions through the graft in the acute postoperative period following EC-IC bypass are presented. Results, complications, and technical nuances are reviewed.

Results

Fourteen endovascular procedures were performed in 5 patients after EC-IC bypass for ruptured aneurysms in 4 patients and posterior circulation ischemia in 1 patient. In 2 patients, a saphenous vein graft (SVG) was used to bypass the common carotid artery (CCA) to the middle cerebral artery (MCA). One patient underwent a superficial temporal artery (STA)–MCA bypass, and in 2 other patients the STA stump was connected to the intracranial circulation via an interposition SVG. The interval from surgery to endovascular intervention spanned 2–18 days; the indication was intracranial vasospasm in all patients. One case involved angioplasty of the proximal anastomosis on postoperative Day 14. All other interventions entailed proximal access through the bypass conduit for intraarterial infusion of vasodilators. Significant vasospasm of the STA itself was encountered in 2 patients during endovascular manipulation, and it was treated with intraarterial nitroglycerin. There were no cases of anastomotic disruption.

Conclusions

Endovascular catheterization and intervention involving a recent EC-IC bypass is feasible. The main limitation in this series was catheter-induced vasospasm involving the STA. A vein graft may be the more appropriate option in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage who may require subsequent endovascular intervention for vasospasm.

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William W. Ashley Jr., Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, Ali Alaraj, John H. Shin, and Fady T. Charbel

✓Extracranial–intracranial bypass surgery has advanced from a mere technical feat to a procedure requiring careful patient selection and a justifiable decision-making paradigm. Currently available technologies for flow measurement in the perioperative and intraoperative setting allow a more structured and analytical approach to decision making. The purpose of this report is to review the use of flow measurement in cerebral revascularization, presenting algorithms for flow-assisted surgical planning, technique, and surveillance.