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Till Burkhardt, Daniel Lüdecke, Lothar Spies, Linus Wittmann, Manfred Westphal, and Jörg Flitsch

OBJECT

Cushing’s disease (CD) may cause atrophy of different regions of the human brain, mostly affecting the hippocampus and the cerebellum. This study evaluates the use of 3-T MRI of newly diagnosed patients with CD to detect atrophic degeneration with voxel-based volumetry.

METHODS

Subjects with newly diagnosed, untreated CD were included and underwent 3-T MRI. Images were analyzed using a voxelwise statistical test to detect reduction of brain parenchyma. In addition, an atlas-based volumetric study for regions likely to be affected by CD was performed.

RESULTS

Nineteen patients with a mean disease duration of 24 months were included. Tumor markers included adre-nocorticotropic hormone (median 17.5 pmol/L), cortisol (949.4 nmol/L), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (5.4 μmol/L). The following values are expressed as the mean ± SD. The voxelwise statistical test revealed clusters of significantly reduced gray matter in the hippocampus and cerebellum, with volumes of 2.90 ± 0.26 ml (right hippocampus), 2.89 ± 0.28 ml (left hippocampus), 41.95 ± 4.67 ml (right cerebellar hemisphere), and 42.11 ± 4.59 ml (left cerebellar hemisphere). Healthy control volunteers showed volumes of 3.22 ± 0.25 ml for the right hippocampus, 3.23 ± 0.25 ml for the left hippocampus, 50.87 ± 4.23 ml for the right cerebellar hemisphere, and 50.42 ± 3.97 ml for the left cerebellar hemisphere.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with untreated CD show significant reduction of gray matter in the cerebellum and hippocampus. These changes can be analyzed and objectified with the quantitative voxel-based method described in this study.

Free access

Matthias Reitz, Till Burkhardt, Eik Vettorazzi, Frank Raimund, Erik Fritzsche, Nils Ole Schmidt, Jan Regelsberger, Manfred Westphal, and Sven Oliver Eicker

OBJECT

Intramedullary spinal cavernoma (ISC) is a rare entity and accounts for approximately 5%−12% of all spinal vascular pathologies. The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of clinical presentation, localization, and different surgical approaches on long-term outcome in patients treated for ISC.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective single-center study of 48 cases of ISC treated microsurgically over the past 28 years. Analyzed factors included preoperative clinical history, microsurgical strategies, neurological outcome (American Spinal Injury Association [ASIA] grade, Epstein and Cooper grade), and the occurrence of postoperative spinal ataxia. Univariate analysis was performed to identify factors influencing long-term outcome.

RESULTS

Preoperatively, 18.8% of all patients experienced a slow, progressive decline in neurological function and 33.3% suffered repetitive episodes of acute neurological deterioration over a time frame of months to years. Moreover, 16.7% noted the sudden onset of a severe neurological deficit, whereas 25% experienced the sudden onset of symptoms with a subsequent gradually progressive decline in neurological function. On long-term follow-up after treatment (mean ± SD, 79.3 ± 35.2 months), 70.8% of patients showed no change in neurological function, 6.3% suffered from a decline, and 22.9% improved neurologically. Thoracolumbar localization (p = 0.043), low preoperative Epstein and Cooper grade for the lower extremities (p < 0.001), and a low preoperative ASIA grade (p < 0.001) were identified as factors associated with an unfavorable outcome (ASIA Grade A-C). The rate of spinal ataxia related to surgical approach was 16.7%.

CONCLUSION

Postoperative neurological function in ISC patients is determined by the preoperative neurological status. On long-term follow-up after microsurgical treatment, 93.7% of patients presented with a stable or improved condition (ASIA grade); thus, definite microsurgical treatment should be considered as long as patients present with only mild symptoms after the diagnosis of symptomatic ISC.

Free access

Roman Rotermund, Marius M. Mader, Till Burkhardt, Jakob Matschke, Jens Aberle, Kara Krajewski, Jörg Flitsch, and Amir-Hossein Rahvar

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical and biochemical outcome of consecutive patients with acromegaly after microscopic transsphenoidal surgery (MTS) at a single center over an 8-year period.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of patients with acromegaly treated via MTS between 2008 and 2015 at the authors’ center was performed. The mean follow-up was 29 months (range 1–120 months). Parameters investigated included tumor size, pre- and postoperative insulin-like growth factor–I, growth hormone levels, pretreatment, perioperative complications, and clinical outcome.

RESULTS

A total of 280 patients with acromegaly were treated surgically at the authors’ center over the abovementioned time frame and were included in analyses. For 231 of these patients, complete follow-up data were available for evaluation. One hundred eighty-eight patients (81%) showed remission initially according to current criteria. So far, 23 of these patients relapsed in the further course, so that on follow-up 165 patients (71%) demonstrated full remission by surgery alone. Most patients in whom remission after surgery failed were treated with somatostatin receptor ligands and/or dopamine agonists as second-line treatment. The main postoperative complications included transient hyponatremia and diabetes insipidus (13/280; 4.6%). CSF leakage only occurred in 2 cases (2/280; 0.7%). No surgery-related death occurred.

CONCLUSIONS

The data underline the effectiveness of MTS in acromegaly. Many patients with recurrent disease or incomplete tumor resection can be successfully managed pharmacologically.

Free access

Till Burkhardt, Jörg Flitsch, Philine van Leyen, Nina Sauer, Jens Aberle, Ulrich Grzyska, and Dieter K. Lüdecke

OBJECT

Correct diagnosis and precise localization of adenomas in patients with Cushing's disease are essential for avoiding unsuccessful transsphenoidal pituitary exploration. In addition to the well-established inferior petrosal sinus sampling, preoperative cavernous sinus sampling (CSS) was introduced as a potentially improved way to predict adenoma lateralization. The authors present their results with CSS in a consecutive series of patients with Cushing's disease.

METHODS

During 1999–2014, transsphenoidal surgeries were consecutively performed in 510 patients with Cushing's disease. For most patients, suppression of cortisol in high-dose dexamethasone tests and stimulation of adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol after administration of corticotropin-releasing hormone were sufficient to prove the diagnosis of adrenocorticotropic hormone–dependent hypercortisolism. Of the 510 patients, 67 (13%) were referred to the department of neuroradiology for CSS according to the technique of Teramoto. The indications for CSS were unclear endocrine test results or negative MRI results. Data for all patients were retrospectively analyzed.

RESULTS

A central/peripheral gradient was found in 59 patients; lateralization to the left or right side was found in 51. For 8 patients with a central/peripheral gradient, no left/right gradient could be determined. For another 8 patients with equivocal test results, no central/peripheral gradient was found. No severe CSS-associated complications were encountered. Of the 51 patients who underwent transsphenoidal surgery, the predicted lateralization was proven correct for 42 (82%).

CONCLUSIONS

As MRI techniques have improved, the number of potential candidates for this invasive method has decreased in the past decade. However, because detecting minute adenomas remains problematic, CSS remains a useful diagnostic tool for patients with Cushing's disease.