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Stephen M. Russell, P. Kim Nelson and Jafar J. Jafar

✓ The authors present the case of a patient who suffered from progressive cranial nerve dysfunction, radiographically documented brainstem compression, and peduncular hallucinosis after undergoing endosaccular coil placement in a giant basilar apex aneurysm. Symptom resolution was achieved following clip ligation of the basilar artery. The pathogenesis of aneurysm mass effect due to coil placement is discussed and the pertinent literature is reviewed.

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Peter Kim Nelson, Stephen M. Russell, Henry H. Woo, Anthony J. G. Alastra and Danko V. Vidovich

Object. The aim of this study was to describe the application of a novel transarterial approach to curative embolization of complex intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). This technique is particularly useful in patients harboring high-grade DAVFs with direct cortical venous drainage or for whom transvenous coil embolization is not possible because of limited sinus venous access to the fistula site due to thrombosis or stenotic changes.

Methods. Twenty-three DAVFs in 21 patients were treated using a transarterial N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) embolization technique with the aid of a wedged catheter. In all patients, definitive treatment involved two critical steps: 1) a microcatheter was wedged within a feeding artery, establishing flow-arrest conditions within the catheterized vessel distal to the microcatheter tip; and 2) NBCA was injected under these resultant flow-arrest conditions across the pathological arteriovenous connection and into the immediate draining venous apparatus, definitively occluding the fistula. Patient data were collected in a retrospective manner by reviewing office and inpatient charts and embolization reports, and by directly analyzing all procedural and diagnostic angiograms.

Eight patients presented with the principal complaint of tinnitus/bruit, five with intracranial hemorrhage, four with cavernous sinus syndrome, and one each with seizures, ataxia, visual field loss, and hiccups. The parent (recipient) venous structure of the DAVFs in this study included 11 leptomeningeal veins, eight transverse/sigmoid sinuses, three cavernous sinuses, and one sphenoparietal sinus. The NBCA permeated the arteriovenous shunt, perifistulous network, and proximal draining vein in all DAVFs. Occlusion was confirmed on postembolization angiography studies. No complication occurred in any patient in this series. There has been no recurrence during a mean follow up of 18.7 months (range 2–46 months).

Conclusions. Transarterial NBCA embolization with the aid of a wedged catheter in flow-arrest conditions is a safe and an effective treatment for intracranial DAVFs.

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Ajay K. Wakhloo, Baruch B. Lieber, Stephen Rudin, Mary Duffy Fronckowiak, Robert A. Mericle and L. Nelson Hopkins

Successful therapeutic embolization of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain with liquid polymers (glues) requires precise knowledge of highly variable AVM structure and flow velocities and transit times of blood through the AVM nidus. The goal of this study was to improve AVM flow measurement and visualization by the substitution of the insoluble Ethiodol (ethiodized oil) contrast agent for the soluble contrast media normally used in angiographic studies.

Before enbucrilate embolization of 24 AVM feeding pedicles in 13 patients, standard contrast medium was superselectively injected into each target pedicle, followed by infusion of 20 μl of Ethiodol microdroplets. Transport of contrast material was assessed using high-speed biplane pulsed digital subtraction angiography (DSA) operating at 15 frames per second.

The mean blood flow transit times through AVMs after administration of Ethiodol were found to be approximately half as long as in those measured after injection of soluble contrast materials (0.22 ± 0.10 seconds compared with 0.46 ± 0.19 seconds [mean ± standard deviation]; p < 0.0001). The discrete Ethiodol microdroplets travel with the core flow, more closely approximating the dynamic behavior of enbucrilate, allowing the AVM structure to be traced with high spatial and temporal resolution. There were no inadvertent vessel occlusions or pulmonary complications related to the use of Ethiodol for DSA.

Because of diffusion and convection, forces that decrease concentration, visualization of the contrast front is reduced, often resulting in deceptively long transit times when soluble contrast materials are used. Overestimation may prove dangerous when planning embolizations. The Ethiodol droplet DSA method provides accurate transit time measurements and precise, detailed, and dynamic AVM visualization. Further development of this method will improve the safety and precision of AVM treatments.

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Eric W. Nottmeier, Stephen M. Pirris, Steven Edwards, Sherri Kimes, Cammi Bowman and Kevin L. Nelson

Object

Surgeon and operating room (OR) staff radiation exposure during spinal surgery is a concern, especially with the increasing use of multiplanar fluoroscopy in minimally invasive spinal surgery procedures. Cone beam computed tomography (cbCT)–based, 3D image guidance does not involve the use of active fluoroscopy during instrumentation placement and therefore decreases radiation exposure for the surgeon and OR staff during spinal fusion procedures. However, the radiation scatter of a cbCT device can be similar to that of a standard 64-slice CT scanner and thus could expose the surgeon and OR staff to radiation during image acquisition. The purpose of the present study was to measure radiation exposure at several unshielded locations in the OR when using cbCT in conjunction with 3D image-guided spinal surgery in 25 spinal surgery cases.

Methods

Five unshielded badge dosimeters were placed at set locations in the OR during 25 spinal surgery cases in which cbCT-based, 3D image guidance was used. The cbCT device (O-ARM) was used in conjunction with the Stealth S7 image-guided platform. The radiology department analyzed the badge dosimeters after completion of the last case.

Results

Fifty high-definition O-ARM spins were performed in 25 patients for spinal registration and to check instrumentation placement. Image-guided placement of 124 screws from C-2 to the ileum was accomplished without complication. Badge dosimetry analysis revealed minimal radiation exposure for the badges 6 feet from the gantry in the area of the anesthesiology equipment, as well as for the badges located 10–13 feet from the gantry on each side of the room (mean 0.7–3.6 mrem/spin). The greatest radiation exposure occurred on the badge attached to the OR table within the gantry (mean 176.9 mrem/spin), as well as on the control panel adjacent to the gantry (mean 128.0 mrem/spin).

Conclusions

Radiation scatter from the O-ARM was minimal at various distances outside of and not adjacent to the gantry. Although the average radiation exposure at these locations was low, an earlier study, undertaken in a similar fashion, revealed no radiation exposure when the surgeon stood behind a lead shield. This simple precaution can eliminate the small amount of radiation exposure to OR staff in cases in which the O-ARM is used.

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Ajay K. Wakhloo, Baruch B. Lieber, Stephen Rudin, Mary Duffy Fronckowiak, Robert A. Mericle and L. Nelson Hopkins

Object. Successful therapeutic embolization of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain with liquid polymers (glues) requires precise knowledge of highly variable AVM structure and flow velocities and transit times of blood through the AVM nidus. The goal of this study was to improve AVM flow measurement and visualization by the substitution of the insoluble Ethiodol (ethiodized oil) contrast agent for the soluble contrast media normally used in angiographic studies.

Methods. Before enbucrilate embolization of 24 AVM feeding pedicles in 13 patients, standard contrast medium was superselectively injected into each target pedicle, followed by infusion of 20 µl of Ethiodol microdroplets. Transport of contrast material was assessed using high-speed biplane pulsed digital subtraction angiography (DSA) operating at 15 frames per second.

The mean blood flow transit times through AVMs after administration of Ethiodol were found to be approximately half as long as in those measured after injection of soluble contrast materials (0.22 ± 0.10 seconds compared with 0.46 ± 0.19 seconds [mean ± standard deviation]; p < 0.0001). The discrete Ethiodol microdroplets travel with the core flow, more closely approximating the dynamic behavior of enbucrilate, allowing the AVM structure to be traced with high spatial and temporal resolution. There were no inadvertent vessel occlusions or pulmonary complications related to the use of Ethiodol for DSA.

Conclusions. Because of diffusion and convection, forces that decrease concentration, visualization of the contrast front is reduced, often resulting in deceptively long transit times when soluble contrast materials are used. Overestimation may prove dangerous when planning embolizations. The Ethiodol droplet DSA method provides accurate transit time measurements and precise, detailed, and dynamic AVM visualization. Further development of this method will improve the safety and precision of AVM treatments.

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Raul A. Rodas, Robert A. Fenstermaker, Paul E. McKeever, Mila Blaivas, Lawrence D. Dickinson, Stephen M. Papadopoulos, Julian T. Hoff, L. Nelson Hopkins, Mary Duffy-Fronckowiak and Harry S. Greenberg

Object. Thrombotic complications (deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolization [DVT/PE]) occur in 18 to 50% of patients harboring brain tumors who undergo neurosurgical procedures. Such patients are at risk for DVT/PE because of immobility, paresis, hypovolemia, and lengthy surgery. The present study was undertaken to see whether tumor patients at highest risk for DVT/PE could be identified so that augmentation of prophylactic measures might be used to reduce the incidence of thrombotic complications.

Methods. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 488 patients enrolled in their brain tumor registries between 1988 and 1995, identifying 57 patients (12%) with recorded symptomatic DVT, PE, or both postoperatively. In 24 of these 57 cases histological specimens were retrievable for review, allowing an in-depth analysis. Forty-five patients were lost to follow-up review, and the remaining 386 patients had no record of systemic thrombosis. Slides of pathological specimens were retrievable in 50 cases in which there was no DVT/PE. From these 50 cases, 25 were selected at random to represent the control group by a blinded observer. Seventeen (71%) of the 24 brain tumor specimens obtained in patients with DVT/PE stained positively for intraluminal thrombosis (ILT) after hematoxylin and eosin had been applied. The odds ratio associated with the presence of ILT was 17.8, with a confidence interval ranging from 4 to 79.3. No evidence of ILT was found in 22 patients (88%) within the control group (p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test). Other factors that may predispose patients with brain tumors to DVT/PE—limb paresis, extent of tumor removal, and duration of the surgery—were also analyzed and found not to be statistically significant. Therefore, these factors were not the basis for differences seen between the study and control groups.

Conclusions. These preliminary observations suggest that the presence of ILT within malignant glioma or glioblastoma tumor vessels may represent a marker of tumor-induced hypercoagulability.