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Sonja Vulcu, Leonie Eickele, Giuseppe Cinalli, Wolfgang Wagner and Joachim Oertel

OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the procedure of choice in the treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus. The excellent clinical and radiological success rates are well known. Nevertheless, very few papers have addressed the very long term outcomes of the procedure in very large series. The authors present a large case series of 113 patients who underwent 126 ETVs, and they highlight the initial postoperative outcome after 3 months and long-term follow-up with an average of 7 years.

METHODS

All patients who underwent ETV at the Department of Neurosurgery, Mainz University Hospital, between 1993 and 1999 were evaluated. Obstructive hydrocephalus was the causative pathology in all cases.

RESULTS

The initial clinical success rate was 82% and decreased slightly to 78% during long-term follow-up. Long-term success was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier curves. Overall, ETV failed in 31 patients. These patients underwent a second ETV or shunt treatment. A positive impact on long-term success was seen for age older than 6 months, and for obstruction due to cysts or benign aqueductal stenosis. The complication rate was 9% with 5 intraoperative and 5 postoperative events.

CONCLUSIONS

The high clinical success rate in short-term and long-term follow-up confirms ETV’s status as the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus, especially for distinct pathologies. The patient’s age and underlying pathology may influence the outcome. These factors should be considered carefully preoperatively by the surgeon.

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Alessa Schütz, Michael Murek, Lennart Henning Stieglitz, Corrado Bernasconi, Sonja Vulcu, Jürgen Beck, Andreas Raabe and Philippe Schucht

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is an established treatment for refractory intracranial hypertension. It is usually followed by autologous cranioplasty (AC), the reinsertion of a patient’s explanted bone flap. A frequent long-term complication of AC is bone flap resorption (BFR), which results in disfigurement as well as loss of the protective covering of the brain. This study investigates risk factors for BFR after AC, including medical conditions and antihypertensive drug therapies, with a focus on angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), which have been associated with a beneficial effect on bone healing and bone preservation in orthopedic, osteoporosis, and endocrinology research.

METHODS

In this single-center, retrospective study 183 consecutive cases were evaluated for bone flap resorption after AC. Information on patient demographics, medical conditions, antihypertensive therapy, and BFR—defined as an indication for revision surgery established by a neurosurgeon based on clinical or radiographic assessments—was collected. A Kaplan-Meier analysis of time from AC to diagnosis of BFR was performed, and factors associated with BFR were investigated using the log-rank test and Cox regression.

RESULTS

A total of 158 patients were considered eligible for inclusion in the data analysis. The median follow-up time for this group was 2.2 years (95% CI 1.9–2.5 years). BFR occurred in 47 patients (29.7%), with a median time to event of 3.7 years (95% CI 3.3–4.1 years). An ACEI prescription was recorded in 57 cases (36.1%). Univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log-rank test revealed that ACEI therapy (2-year event free probability [EFP] 83.8% ± 6.1% standard error vs 63.9% ± 5.6%, p = 0.02) and ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt treatment (2-year EFP 86.9% ± 7.1% vs 66% ± 5.0%, p = 0.024) were associated with a lower probability of BFR. Multiple Cox regression analysis showed ACEI therapy (HR 0.29, p = 0.012), VP shunt treatment (HR 0.278, p = 0.009), and male sex (HR 0.500, p = 0.040) to be associated with a lower risk for BFR, whereas bone fragmentation (HR 1.92, p = 0.031) was associated with a higher risk for BFR.

CONCLUSIONS

Hypertensive patients treated with ACEIs demonstrate a lower rate of BFR than patients treated with other hypertensive medications and nonhypertensive patients. Our results are in line with previous reports on the positive influence of ACEIs on bone healing and preservation. Further analysis of the association between ACEI treatment and BFR development is needed and will be evaluated in a multicenter prospective trial.

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Levin Häni, Sonja Vulcu, Mattia Branca, Christian Fung, Werner Josef Z’Graggen, Michael Murek, Andreas Raabe, Jürgen Beck and Philippe Schucht

OBJECTIVE

The use of subdural drains after surgical evacuation of chronic subdural hematoma (CSH) decreases the risk of recurrence and has become the standard of care. Halfway through the controlled, randomized TOSCAN (Randomized Trial of Follow-up CT after Evacuation of Chronic Subdural Hematoma) trial, the authors’ institutional guidelines changed to recommend subgaleal instead of subdural drainage. The authors report a post hoc analysis on the influence of drain location in patients participating in the TOSCAN trial.

METHODS

The study involved 361 patients enrolled in the TOSCAN trial. The patients were stratified according to whether they received surgery before (cohort A) or after (cohort B) the change in institutional protocol. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed with surgery for recurrence as the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints were outcome-based on modified Rankin Scale scores, seizures, infections, parenchymal brain injuries, and hematoma diameter.

RESULTS

Of the 361 patients included in the analysis, 214 were stratified into cohort A (subdural drainage recommended), while 147 were stratified into cohort B (subgaleal drainage recommended). There was a 31.78% rate of crossover from the subdural to the subgaleal drainage insertion site due to technical or anatomical difficulties. No differences in the rates of reoperation (21.5% [cohort A] vs 25.17% [cohort B], OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.50–1.34, p = 0.415), infections (0.47% [cohort A] vs 2.04% [cohort B], OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.02–2.19, p = 0.199), seizures (3.27% [cohort A] vs 2.72% [cohort B], OR 1.21, 95% CI 0.35–4.21, p = 0.765), or favorable outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score 0–3) at 1 and 6 months (91.26% [cohort A] vs 96.43% [cohort B], OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.14–1.07, p = 0.067; 89.90% [cohort A] vs 91.55% [cohort B], OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.39–1.73, p = 0.605) were noted between the two cohorts. Postoperatively, patients in cohort A had more frequent parenchymal brain tissue injuries (2.8% vs 0%, p = 0.041). Postoperative absolute and relative hematoma reduction was similar irrespective of the location of the drain.

CONCLUSIONS

Subgaleal rather than subdural placement of the drain did not increase the risk for reoperation for recurrence of CSHs, nor did it have a negative impact on clinical or radiological outcome. The intention to place a subdural drain was associated with a higher rate of parenchymal injuries.

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Joachim M. K. Oertel, Sonja Vulcu, Henry W. S. Schroeder, Moritz A. Konerding, Wolfgang Wagner and Michael R. Gaab

Object

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has become a well-accepted option for obstructive hydrocephalus. However, standard ventriculostomy at the floor of the third ventricle might not be feasible under certain conditions. Here, the authors report in detail on their initial experience with an alternative option of endoscopic ventriculostomy through the lamina terminalis via a transventricular route.

Methods

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy through the lamina terminalis from a transventricular transforaminal route was evaluated in 4 cadaveric human heads and in 4 clinical cases.

Results

In all 4 human cadavers, an opening of the lamina terminalis via a transventricular approach could be achieved without injury to either the optic chiasm or the anterior cerebral arteries. In the 4 clinical cases, an accurate and reliable ventriculostomy was performed at the lamina terminalis. The bur hole was placed directly at the coronal suture 2 cm lateral from the midline. After identifying the optic chiasm and the anterior cerebral arteries, a blunt perforation was made just anterior to the optic chiasm by using perforation forceps and a balloon catheter. After the opening, the stoma was inspected with a 0° and 30° rod lens endoscope, and its patency as well as the preservation of vessels and optic nerves was checked. No complications occurred, although all patients suffered from a clinically silent fornical contusion at the foramen of Monro.

Conclusions

Endoscopic opening of the lamina terminalis via a transventricular transforaminal route appears to be feasible. No complications were observed. Although no conclusions on the clinical success rate can be drawn, the reliable anatomical opening and known success rate for anterior subfrontal approaches suggest that the technique represents an alternative in a small subgroup of patients in whom a standard ETV cannot be performed.