Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Intracranial Aneurysm Parameters for Predicting a Future Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Neurosurgery 81:432–440, 2017

Retrospective studies have suggested that aneurysm morphology is a risk factor for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether various morphological indices of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) predict a future rupture.

METHODS: A total of 142 patients with UIAs diagnosed between 1956 and 1978 were followed prospectively until SAH, death, or the last contact. Morphological UIA indices from standard angiographic projections weremeasured at baseline and adjusted inmultivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses for established risk factors for SAH.

RESULTS: During a follow-up of 3064 person-years, 34 patients suffered froman aneurysm rupture. In multivariable analyses, aneurysm volume, volume-to-ostium area ratio, and the bottleneck factor separately as continuous variables predicted aneurysm rupture. All the morphological indices were higher (P < .01) after the rupture than before. In final multivariable analyses, current smoking (adjusted hazard ratio 2.50, 95% CI 1.03-6.10, P = .044), location in the anterior communicating artery (4.28, 1.38-13.28, P=.012), age (inversely; 0.95 per year, 0.91-1.00, P = .043), and UIA diameter ≥7 mm at baseline (2.68, 1.16-6.21, P = .021) were independent risk factors for a future rupture. Aneurysm growth during the followup was associated with smoking (P < .05) and SAH (P < .001), but not with the aneurysm indices.

CONCLUSION: Of the morphological indices, UIA volume seems to predict a future rupture. However, as volume correlates with the maximum diameter of the aneurysm, it seems to add little to the predictive value of the maximum diameter. Retrospective studies using indices that are measured after rupture are of little value in risk prediction.


Effect of statin treatment on vasospasm-related morbidity and functional outcome in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

J Neurosurg 127:291–301, 2017

The efficacy of statin therapy in treating aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) remains controversial. In this meta-analysis, the authors investigated whether statin treatment significantly reduced the incidence of cerebral vasospasm and delayed neurological deficits, promoting a better outcome after aneurysmal SAH.

METHODS: A literature search of the PubMed, Ovid, and Cochrane Library databases was performed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies investigating the effect of statin treatment. The end points of cerebral vasospasm, delayed ischemic neurological deficit (DIND), delayed cerebral infarction, mortality, and favorable outcome were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS Six RCTs and 2 prospective cohort studies met the eligibility criteria, and a total of 1461 patients were included. The meta-analysis demonstrated a significant decrease in the incidence of cerebral vasospasm (relative risk [RR] 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61–0.96) in patients treated with statins after aneurysmal SAH. However, no significant benefit was observed for DIND (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.70–1.12), delayed cerebral infarction (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.33–1.31), mortality (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.39–1.24) or favorable outcome, according to assessment by the modified Rankin Scale or Glasgow Outcome Scale (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.92–1.17).

CONCLUSIONS Treatment with statins significantly decreased the occurrence of vasospasm after aneurysmal SAH. The incidence of DIND, delayed cerebral infarction, and mortality were not affected by statin treatment. Future research should focus on DIND and how statins influence DIND.


A New Classification for Pathologies of Spinal Meninges—Part 2: Primary and Secondary Intradural Arachnoid Cysts

Neurosurgery 81:217–229, 2017

Spinal intradural arachnoid cysts are rare causes of radiculopathy or myelopathy. Treatment options include resection, fenestration, or cyst drainage.

OBJECTIVE: To classify intradural spinal arachnoid cysts and present results of their treatment.

METHODS: Among 1519 patientswith spinal space occupying lesions, 130 patients demonstrated intradural arachnoid cysts. Neuroradiological and surgical features were reviewed and clinical data analyzed.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients presented arachnoid cysts as a result of an inflammatory leptomeningeal reaction related to meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intrathecal injections, intradural surgery, or trauma, ie, secondary cysts. For the remaining 109 patients, no such history could be elucidated, ie, primary cysts. Forty-six percent of primary and 86% of secondary cysts were associated with syringomyelia. Patients presented after an average history of 53±88 months. Therewere 122 thoracic and 7 lumbar cysts plus 1 cervical cyst. Fifty-nine patients with primary and 15 patients with secondary cysts underwent laminotomies with complete or partial cyst resection and duraplasty. Mean follow-up was 57 ± 52 months. In the first postoperative year, profound improvements for primary cysts were noted, in contrast to marginal changes for secondary cysts. Progression-free survival for 10 years following surgery was determined as 83% for primary compared to 15% for secondary cysts. Despite differences in clinical presentation, progression-free survival was almost identical for patients with or without syringomyelia.

CONCLUSIONS: Complete or partial resection leads to favorable short- and long-term results for primary arachnoid cysts. For secondary cysts, surgery can only provide clinical stabilization for a limited time due to the often extensive arachnoiditis.


Impact of Weekend Presentation on Short-Term Outcomes and Choice of Clipping vs Coiling in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Neurosurgery 81:87–91, 2017

Presentation on a weekend is commonly associated with higher mortality and a decreased likelihood of receiving invasive procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether weekend presentation influences mortality, discharge destination, or type of treatment received (clip vs coil) in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS: We performed a serial cross-sectional retrospective study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. All adult discharges with a primary diagnosis of SAH (ICD-9-CM 435) from 2005 to 2010 were included, and records with trauma or arteriovenous malformation were excluded. Unadjusted and adjusted associations between weekend presentation and 3 outcomes (in-hospital mortality, discharge destination, and treatment with clip vs coil) were estimated using chi-square tests and multilevel logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 46 093 admissions for nontraumatic SAH were included in the sample; 24.6% presented on a weekend, 68.9% on a weekday, and 6.5% had unknown day of presentation. Weekend admission was not a significant predictor of inpatient mortality (25.4% weekend vs 24.9% weekday; P = .44), or a combined poor outcome measure of mortality or discharge to long-term acute care or hospice (30.3% weekend vs 29.4% weekday; P = .23). Among those treated for aneurysm obliteration, the proportion of clipped vs coiled did not change with weekend vs weekday presentation (21.5% clipped with weekend presentation vs 21.6% weekday, P = .95; 21.5% coiled with weekend presentation vs 22.4% weekday, P = .19).

CONCLUSION: Presentation with nontraumatic SAH on a weekend did not influence mortality, discharge destination, or type of treatment received (clip vs coil) compared with weekday presentation.


The Superior Cerebellar Artery Aneurysm: A Posterior Circulation Aneurysm with Favorable Microsurgical Outcomes

Neurosurgery 80:908–916, 2017

Superior cerebellar artery (SCA) aneurysms are usually grouped with aneurysms that arise from the upper basilar artery or more broadly, the posterior circulation. However, the SCA aneurysm has distinctive anatomy that facilitates safe surgical management, notably few associated perforating arteries, and excellent exposure in the carotid-oculomotor triangle.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the outcomes of patients treated with microsurgery in a continuous surgical series.

METHODS: Sixty-two patients harboring 63 SCA aneurysmswere retrospectively reviewed from a prospectively maintained database, focusing on clinical characteristics, surgical techniques, and clinical outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 31 patients (49%) presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage, the SCA aneurysm was the source in 16 (25%). Thirty-three aneurysms were complex (52%) and 43 patients (59%) had multiple aneurysms. Fifty-seven SCA aneurysms (90.5%) were clipped and 5 were bypassed/trapped or wrapped. Complete angiographic occlusion was achieved in 91.7%. Permanent neurological morbidity occurred in 3 patients and 3 patients that presented in coma after subarachnoid hemorrhage died. All patients with “simple” aneurysms and without subarachnoid hemorrhage had improved or unchangedmodified Rankin scale scores. Overall, outcomes were stable or improved in 82.5% of patients.

CONCLUSION: SCA aneurysms are favorable for microsurgical clipping with low rates of permanent morbidity and mortality. Microsurgery should be considered alongside endovascular techniques as a treatment option in many patients.

Comparison Between CTA and Digital Subtraction Angiography in the Diagnosis of Ruptured Aneurysms

Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) is commonly used to diagnose ruptured cerebral aneurysms with sensitivities reported as high as 97% to 100%. Studies validating CTA accuracy in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are scarce and limited by small sample sizes.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of CTA in detecting intracranial aneurysms in the setting of SAH.

METHODS: A single-center, retrospective cohort of 643 patients was reviewed. A total of 401 patients were identified whose diagnostic workup included both CTA and confirmatory digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Aneurysms missed by CTA but diagnosed by DSA were further stratified by size and location.

RESULTS: Three hundred and thirty aneurysms were detected by CTA while DSA detected a total of 431 aneurysms. False positive CTA results were seen for 24 aneurysms. DSA identified 125 aneurysms that were missed by CTA and 83.2% of those were <5 mm in diameter. The sensitivity of CTA was 57.6% for aneurysms smaller than 5 mm in size, and 45% for aneurysms originating from the internal carotid artery. The overall sensitivity of CTA in the setting of SAH was 70.7%.

CONCLUSION: The accuracy of CTA in the diagnosis of ruptured intracranial aneurysm may be lower than previously reported. CTA has a low sensitivity for aneurysms less than 5 mm in size, in locations adjacent to bony structures, and for those arising from small caliber parent vessels. It is our recommendation that CTA should be used with caution when used alone in the diagnosis of ruptured intracranial aneurysms.

Cotton-clipping and cotton-augmentation for aneurysms


J Neurosurg 125:720–729, 2016

To address the challenges of microsurgically treating broad-based, frail, and otherwise complex aneurysms that are not amenable to direct clipping, alternative techniques have been developed. One such technique is to use cotton to augment clipping (“cotton-clipping” technique), which is also used to manage intraoperative aneurysm neck rupture, and another is to reinforce unclippable segments or remnants of aneurysm necks with cotton (“cottonaugmentation” technique). This study reviews the natural history of patients with aneurysms treated with cotton-clipping and cotton-augmentation techniques.

Methods The authors queried a database consisting of all patients with aneurysms treated at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2014, to identify cases in which cotton-clipping or cotton-augmentation strategies had been used. Management was categorized as the cotton-clipping technique if cotton was used within the blades of the aneurysm clip and as the cotton-clipping technique if cotton was used to reinforce aneurysms or portions of the aneurysm that were unclippable due to the presence of perforators, atherosclerosis, or residual aneurysms. Data were reviewed to assess patient outcomes and annual rates of aneurysm recurrence or hemorrhage after the initial procedures were performed.

Results The authors identified 60 aneurysms treated with these techniques in 57 patients (18 patients with ruptured aneurysms and 39 patients with unruptured aneurysms) whose mean age was 53.1 years (median 55 years; range 24–72 years). Twenty-three aneurysms (11 cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage) were treated using cotton-clipping and 37 with cotton-augmentation techniques (7 cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage). In total, 18 patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The mean Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score at the time of discharge was 4.4. At a mean follow-up of 60.9 ± 35.6 months (median 70 months; range 10–126 months), the mean GOS score at last follow-up was 4.8. The total number of patient follow-up years was 289.4. During the follow-up period, none of the cotton-clipped aneurysms increased in size, changed in configuration, or rebled. None of the patients experienced early rebleeding. The annual hemorrhage rate for aneurysms treated with cotton-augmentation was 0.52% and the recurrence rate was 1.03% per year. For all patients in the study, the overall risk of hemorrhage was 0.35% per year and the annual recurrence rate was 0.69%.

Conclusions Cotton-clipping is an effective and durable treatment strategy for intraoperative aneurysm rupture and for management of broad-based aneurysms. Cotton-augmentation can be safely used to manage unclippable or partially clipped intracranial aneurysms and affords protection from early aneurysm re-rupture and a relatively low rate of late rehemorrhage.

Pituitary Dysfunction After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A Simple and Quantitative Method to Predict Symptomatic Vasospasm After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Based on Computed Tomography- Beyond the Fisher Scale

Neurosurgery 79:253–264, 2016

The prevalence of hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage has not been precisely determined, and conflicting results have been reported in the literature.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the prevalence of pituitary insufficiency after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and to focus on basal serum and dynamic test differences.

METHODS: The prevalence of pituitary dysfunction was quantified at 3 to 6 months and .6 months after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Proportions were transformed with the logit transformation. A subgroup analysis was performed focusing on the differences in outcome between basal serum and dynamic tests for the diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and secondary adrenal insufficiency.

RESULTS: Overall prevalence of hypopituitarism differed considerably between studies, ranging from 0.05 to 0.45 in studies performed between 3 and 6 months after the event and from 0 to 0.55 in long-term studies (.6 months), with pooled frequencies of 0.31 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.22-0.43) and 0.25 (95% CI: 0.16-0.36), respectively. Pooled frequency of GHD at 3 to 6 months was 0.14 (95% CI: 0.08-0.24). At .6 months, GHD prevalence was 0.19 (95% CI: 0.13-0.26) overall, but ranged from 0.15 (95% CI: 0.06-0.33) with the insulin tolerance test to 0.25 (95% CI: 0.15-0.36) using the growth hormone releasing hormone 1 arginine test.

CONCLUSION: Hypopituitarism is a common complication in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, with GHD being the most prevalent diagnosis. We showed that variations in prevalence rates in the literature are partly due to methodological differences among pituitary function tests.

Early whole-brain CT perfusion for detection of patients at risk for delayed cerebral ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Early whole-brain CT perfusion for detection of patients at risk for delayed cerebral ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage

J Neurosurg 125:128–136, 2016

This prospective study investigated the role of whole-brain CT perfusion (CTP) studies in the identification of patients at risk for delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DIND) and of tissue at risk for delayed cerebral infarction (DCI).

Methods: Forty-three patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) were included in this study. A CTP study was routinely performed in the early phase (Day 3). The CTP study was repeated in cases of transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD)–measured blood flow velocity (BFV) increase of > 50 cm/sec within 24 hours and/or on Day 7 in patients who were intubated/sedated.

Results: Early CTP studies revealed perfusion deficits in 14 patients, of whom 10 patients (72%) developed DIND, and 6 of these 10 patients (60%) had DCI. Three of the 14 patients (21%) with early perfusion deficits developed DCI without having had DIND, and the remaining patient (7%) had neither DIND nor DCI. There was a statistically significant correlation between early perfusion deficits and occurrence of DIND and DCI (p < 0.0001). A repeated CTP was performed in 8 patients with a TCD–measured BFV increase > 50 cm/sec within 24 hours, revealing a perfusion deficit in 3 of them (38%). Two of the 3 patients (67%) developed DCI without preceding DIND and 1 patient (33%) had DIND without DCI. In 4 of the 7 patients (57%) who were sedated and/or comatose, additional CTP studies on Day 7 showed perfusion deficits. All 4 patients developed DCI.

Conclusions: Whole-brain CTP on Day 3 after aSAH allows early and reliable identification of patients at risk for DIND and tissue at risk for DCI. Additional CTP investigations, guided by TCD–measured BFV increase or persisting coma, do not contribute to information gain.

Terson syndrome in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Terson syndrome

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1027–1036

A large number of reports have not been able to clarify the pathophysiology of Terson syndrome (TS) in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH).

Methods Prospective single-center study on aSAH patients. Fundoscopic and radiological signs of TS were assessed. The opening intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients who required a ventriculostomy was recorded with a manometer.

Results Six out of 36 included patients had TS (16.7 %), which was associated with unfavorable admission scores. Twenty-nine patients (80.5 %) required ventriculostomy; TS was associated with higher ICP (median, 40 vs. 15 cm cmH2O, p= .003); all patients with TS had pathological ICP values of >20 cmH2O. Patients with a ruptured aneurysm of the anterior cerebral artery complex were ten times as likely to suffer from TS (OR 10.0, 95 % CI 1.03–97.50). Detection of TS on CT had a sensitivity of 50 %, a specificity of 98.4 %, a positive predictive value of 83.3 %, and a negative predictive value of 92.4 %. Mortality was 45 times as high in patients with TS (OR 45.0, 95 % CI 3.86–524.7) and neurologic morbidity up until 3 months post-aSAH was significantly higher in patients with TS (mRS 4–6; 100 vs. 17 %; p = .001).

Conclusions Our findings demonstrate an association between raised ICP and the incidence of TS. TS should be ruled out in aSAH patients presenting comatose or with raised ICP to ensure upfront ophthalmological follow-up. In alert patients without visual complaints and a TS-negative CT scan, the likelihood for the presence of TS is very low.

Predictors of aneurysmal rebleed before definitive surgical or endovascular management

A Simple and Quantitative Method to Predict Symptomatic Vasospasm After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Based on Computed Tomography- Beyond the Fisher Scale

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1037–1044

Aneurysmal rebleed is the most dreaded complication following subarachnoid hemorrhage. Being a cause of devastating outcome, the stratification of risk factors can be used to prioritize patients, especially at high volume centers.

Method: A total of 99 patients with aneurysmal rebleed were analyzed in this study both prospectively and retrospectively from August 2010 to July 2014. In the control group, 100 patients were selected randomly from the patient registry. A total of 25 variables from the demographic, historical, clinical and radiological data were compared and analyzed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Significant independent predictors of aneurysm rebleed were the presence of known hypertension (p=0.023), diastolic blood pressure of >90 mmHg on admission (p=0.008); presence of loss of consciousness (p= 0.013) or seizures (p = 0.002) at first ictus; history of warning headaches (p=0.005); higher Fisher grade (p<0.001); presence of multiple aneurysms (p= 0.021); irregular aneurysm surface (0.002).

Conclusions: Identification of high risk factors can help in stratifying patients in the high risk group. The risk stratification strategy with early intervention can prevent rebleeds. This in turn may translate into better outcomes of patients with intracranial aneurysms.

Association of Hemodynamic Factors With Intracranial Aneurysm Formation and Rupture

Association of Hemodynamic Factors With Intracranial Aneurysm Formation and Rupture

Neurosurgery 78:510–520, 2016

Recent evidence suggests a link between the magnitude and distribution of hemodynamic factors and the formation and rupture of intracranial aneurysms. However, there are many conflicting results.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the effect of hemodynamic factors on aneurysm formation and their association with ruptured aneurysms.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis through October 2014. Analysis of the effects of hemodynamic factors on aneurysm formation was performed by pooling the results of studies that compared geometrical models of intracranial aneurysms and “preaneurysm” models where the aneurysm was artificially removed. Furthermore, we calculated pooled standardized mean differences between ruptured and unruptured aneurysms to quantify the association of hemodynamic factors with ruptured aneurysms. Standard PRISMA guidelines were followed.

RESULTS: The hemodynamic factors that showed high positive correlations with location of aneurysm formation were high wall shear stress (WSS) and high gradient oscillatory number, with pooled proportions of 78.8% and 85.7%, respectively. Positive correlations were largely seen in bifurcation aneurysms, whereas negative correlations were seen in sidewall aneurysms. Mean and normalized WSS were significantly lower and low shear area significantly higher in ruptured aneurysms.

CONCLUSION: Pooled analyses of computational fluid dynamics models suggest that an increase in WSS and gradient oscillatory number may contribute to aneurysm formation, whereas low WSS is associated with ruptured aneurysms. The location of the aneurysm at the bifurcation or sidewall may influence the correlation of these hemodynamic factors.

Predictors of Poor Quality of Life 1 Year After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A Simple and Quantitative Method to Predict Symptomatic Vasospasm After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Based on Computed Tomography- Beyond the Fisher Scale

Neurosurgery 78:256–264, 2016

Risk factors for poor quality of life (QOL) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) remain poorly described.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the frequency and predictors of poor QOL 1 year after SAH.

METHODS: We studied 1-year QOL in a prospectively collected cohort of 1181 consecutively admitted SAH survivors between July 1996 and May 2013. Patient clinical, radiographic, surgical, and acute clinical course information was recorded. Reduced QOL (overall, physical, and psychosocial) at 1 year was assessed with the Sickness Impact Profile and defined as 2 SD below population-based normative Sickness Impact Profile values. Logistic regression leveraging multiple imputation to handle missing data was used to evaluate reduced QOL.

RESULTS: Poor overall QOL was observed in 35% of patients. Multivariable analysis revealed that nonwhite ethnicity, high school education or less, history of depression, poor clinical grade (Hunt-Hess Grade $3), and delayed infarction were predictors of poor overall and psychosocial QOL. Poor physical QOL was additionally associated with older age, hydrocephalus, pneumonia, and sepsis. At 1 year, patients with poor QOL had increased difficulty concentrating, cognitive dysfunction, depression, and reduced activities of daily living. More than 91% of patients with poor QOL failed to fully return to work. These patients frequently received physical rehabilitation, but few received cognitive rehabilitation or emotional-behavioral support.

CONCLUSION: Reduced QOL affects as many as one-third of SAH survivors 1 year after SAH. Delayed infarction is the most important in-hospital modifiable factor that affects QOL. Increased attention to cognitive and emotional difficulties after hospital discharge may help patients achieve greater QOL.

Continuous cisternal irrigation with Mg solution for vasospasm

Mg sulfate irrigation

J Neurosurg 124:18–26, 2016

Although cerebral vasospasm (CV) is one of the most important predictors for the outcome in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), no treatment has yet been established for this condition. This study investigated the efficacy of continuous direct infusion of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) solution into the intrathecal cistern in patients with an aneurysmal SAH.

Methods An SAH caused by a ruptured aneurysm was identified on CT scans within 72 hours after SAH onset. All patients were treated by surgical clipping and randomized into 2 groups: a control group of patients undergoing a standard treatment and a magnesium (Mg) group of patients additionally undergoing continuous infusion of 5 mmol/L MgSO4 solution for 14 days. The Mg2+ concentrations in serum and CSF were recorded daily. Neurological examinations were performed by intensive care clinicians. Delayed cerebral ischemia was monitored by CT or MRI. To assess the effect of the Mg treatment on CV, the CVs were graded on the basis of the relative degree of constriction visible on cerebral angiograms taken on Day 10 after the SAH, and transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was performed daily to measure blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA). Neurological outcomes and mortality rates were evaluated with the Glasgow Outcome Scale and modified Rankin Scale at 3 months after SAH onset.

Results Seventy-three patients admitted during the period of April 2008 to March 2013 were eligible and enrolled in this study. Three patients were excluded because of violation of protocol requirements. The 2 groups did not significantly differ in age, sex, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade, or Fisher grade. In the Mg group, the Mg2+ concentration in CSF gradually increased from Day 4 after initiation of the continuous MgSO4 intrathecal administration. No such increase was observed in the control group. No significant changes in the serum Mg2+ levels were observed for 14 days, and no cardiovascular complications such as bradycardia or hypotension were observed in any of the patients. However, bradypnea was noted among patients in the Mg group. The Mg group had a significantly better CV grade than the control group (p < 0.05). Compared with the patients in the Mg group, those in the control group had a significantly elevated blood flow velocity in the MCA. Both groups were similar in the incidences of cerebral infarction, and the 2 groups also did not significantly differ in clinical outcomes.

Conclusions Continuous cisternal irrigation with MgSO4 solution starting on Day 4 and continuing to Day 14 significantly inhibited CV in patients with aneurysmal SAH without severe cardiovascular complications. However, this improvement in CV neither reduced the incidence of delayed cerebral ischemia nor improved the functional outcomes in patients with SAH.

Aneurysm location and clipping versus coiling for development of secondary normal-pressure hydrocephalus after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage


J Neurosurg 123:1555–1561, 2015

The present study aimed to investigate aneurysm locations and treatments for ruptured cerebral aneurysms associated with secondary normal-pressure hydrocephalus (sNPH) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) by using comprehensive data from the Japanese Stroke DataBank.

Methods Among 101,165 patients with acute stroke registered between 2000 and 2013, 4693 patients (1482 men, 3211 women) were registered as having had an SAH caused by a ruptured saccular aneurysm. Of them, 1448 patients (438 men and 1010 women; mean age 61.9 ± 13.4 years) who were confirmed to have or not have coexisting acute hydrocephalus and sNPH were included for statistical analyses. Locations of the ruptured aneurysms were subcategorized into 1 of the following 4 groups: middle cerebral artery (MCA; n = 354), anterior communicating artery and anterior cerebral artery (ACA; n = 496), internal carotid artery (ICA; n = 402), and posterior circulation (n = 130). Locations of 66 of the ruptured aneurysms were unknown/unrecorded. Treatments included craniotomy and clipping alone in 1073 patients, endovascular coil embolization alone in 285 patients, and a combination of coiling and clipping in 17 patients. The age-adjusted and multivariate odds ratios from logistic regression analyses were calculated after stratification using the Fisher CT scale to investigate the effects of the hematoma volume of SAH.

Results Acute hydrocephalus was confirmed in 593 patients, and 521 patients developed sNPH. Patients with a ruptured ACA aneurysm had twice the risk for sNPH over those with a ruptured MCA aneurysm. Those with an ACA aneurysm with Fisher Grade 3 SAH had a 9-fold-higher risk for sNPH than those with an MCA aneurysm with Fisher Grade 1 or 2 SAH. Patients with a ruptured posterior circulation aneurysm did not have any significant risk for sNPH. Clipping of the ruptured aneurysm resulted in twice the risk for sNPH over coil embolization alone.

Conclusions Patients with low-grade SAH caused by a ruptured MCA aneurysm had a low risk for the development of sNPH. In contrast, patients with high-grade SAH caused by a ruptured ACA aneurysm had a higher risk for sNPH. Endovascular coiling might confer a lower risk of developing sNPH than microsurgical clipping.

Prognostic Value of the Amount of Bleeding After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Quantitative Volumetric Study


Neurosurgery 77:898–907, 2015

Quantitative estimation of the hemorrhage volume associated with aneurysm rupture is a new tool of assessing prognosis.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prognostic value of the quantitative estimation of the amount of bleeding after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, as well the relative importance of this factor related to other prognostic indicators, and to establish a possible cut-off value of volume of bleeding related to poor outcome.

METHODS: A prospective cohort of 206 patients consecutively admitted with the diagnosis of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage to Hospital 12 de Octubre were included in the study. Subarachnoid, intraventricular, intracerebral, and total bleeding volumes were calculated using analytic software. For assessing factors related to prognosis, univariate and multivariate analysis (logistic regression) were performed. The relative importance of factors in determining prognosis was established by calculating their proportion of explained variation. Maximum Youden index was calculated to determine the optimal cut point for subarachnoid and total bleeding volume.

RESULTS: Variables independently related to prognosis were clinical grade at admission, age, and the different bleeding volumes. The proportion of variance explained is higher for subarachnoid bleeding. The optimal cut point related to poor prognosis is a volume of 20 mL both for subarachnoid and total bleeding.

CONCLUSION: Volumetric measurement of subarachnoid or total bleeding volume are both independent prognostic factors in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. A volume of more than 20 mL of blood in the initial noncontrast computed tomography is related to a clear increase in poor outcome risk.

Morphological aspects of blister aneurysms and nuances for surgical treatment

blister aneurysms

J Neurosurg 123:1156–1165, 2015

Blister aneurysms of the supraclinoid part of the internal carotid artery (ICA) are known for their high morbidity and mortality rates related to treatment, regardless of whether the treatment is surgical or endovascular. However, this grim prognosis is based on results that indiscriminately group all blister aneurysms together without taking into account the heterogeneous appearance of these lesions. The goal of this study was 2-fold: to determine whether different blister aneurysm morphologies present different pitfalls, which would then require different surgical strategies, as well as to determine whether there are identifiable subgroups of these types of aneurysms based on morphology.

Methods The authors reviewed the charts, cerebral catheter angiograms, surgical reports, and intraoperative videos of all ICA blister aneurysms treated surgically at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal from 2005 to 2012 to investigate whether there was a relationship between morphology and pitfalls, and whether different surgical strategies had been used according to these pitfalls. During this review process the authors noted 4 distinct morphological aspects. These 4 aspects led to a review of the English and French literature on blister aneurysms in which imaging was available, to determine whether other cases could also be classified into the same 4 subgroups based on these morphological aspects.

Results The retrospective review of the authors’ series of 10 patients allowed a division into 4 distinct subtypes: Type I (classic), Type II (berry-like), Type III (longitudinal), and Type IV (circumferential). These subtypes may at times be progressive stages in the arterial anomaly, and could represent a continuum. Each subtype described in this paper presented its own pitfalls and required specific surgical adaptations. Upon reviewing the literature the authors retained 35 studies involving a total of 61 cases of blister aneurysms, and all cases were able to be classified into 1 of these 4 distinct subtypes.

Conclusions Although they share some common characteristics, blister aneurysms may be divided into distinct subtypes, suggestive of a continuum. Such a classification with a detailed description of each type of blister aneurysm would allow for better recognition to anticipate complications during intervention and better assess the different treatment strategies according to the subtypes.

Spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage and negative initial vascular imaging—should further investigation depend upon the pattern of hemorrhage on the presenting CT?

Spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage and negative initial vascular imaging—should further investigation depend upon the pattern of hemorrhage on the presenting CT?

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:1477–1484

Multiple investigations are usually performed in patients with spontaneous SAH who have negative initial angiography. This study aimed to evaluate the most appropriate use of additional imaging studies and how this may be influenced by the findings of the initial CT.

Methods A retrospective analysis was performed on a prospectively collected cohort of patients referred with spontaneous SAH and negative initial angiography. The patients were divided into four categories based upon the distribution of blood on the initial CT: perimesencephalic (pSAH), diffuse (dSAH), sulcal (sSAH) and CT negative (CSF positive for xanthochromia) (nCT-pLP). The number and nature of the subsequent imaging investigations were reviewed, and the results were correlated with the findings of the presenting CT.

Results One hundred fourteen patients were included in the study. Repeat imaging found five relevant abnormalities. Three cases of vasculitis were diagnosed on the first DSA following a negative CTA. A case of dissecting aneurysm was revealed on the third neurovascular study. A hemorrhagic spinal tumor presented with xanthochromia. No subsequent abnormality was found on the third DSA or MRI head. No case of pSAH had a subsequent positive finding if the initial CTA was negative.

Conclusions Certain patterns of SAH are associated with a low yield of abnormalities on repeat imaging if the initial angiography is normal. The authors believe that the pattern of hemorrhage on the presenting CT should be used to guide the most appropriate use of further imaging modalities and present a diagnostic algorithm for this purpose.

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial: 6-year results

Aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 123:609–617, 2015

The authors report the 6-year results of the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT). This ongoing randomized trial, with the final goal of a 10-year follow-up, compares the safety and efficacy of surgical clip occlusion and endovascular coil embolization in patients presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from a ruptured aneurysm. The 1- and 3-year results of this trial have been previously reported.

Methods In total, 500 patients with an SAH met the entry criteria and were enrolled in the study. Of these patients, 471 were randomly assigned to the treatments: 238 to surgical clipping and 233 to endovascular coiling. Six patients who died before treatment and 57 patients with nonaneurysmal SAHs were excluded, leaving a total of 408 patients who underwent clipping (209 assigned) or coiling (199 assigned). Whether to treat patients within the assigned group or to cross over patients to the other group was at the discretion of the treating physician; 38% (75/199) of the patients assigned to coiling were crossed over to clipping and 1.9% (4/209) assigned to clipping were crossed over to coiling. The outcome data were collected by a dedicated nurse practitioner. The primary outcome analysis was based on the assigned treatment group; poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 and was independently adjudicated. Six years after randomization, 336 (82%) of 408 patients who had been treated were available for examination.

Results On the basis of an mRS score of > 2, and similar to the results at the 3-year follow-up, no significant difference in outcomes (p = 0.24) was detected between the 2 treatment groups. Complete aneurysm obliteration at 6 years was achieved in 96% (111/116) of the clipping group and in 48% (23/48) of the coiling group (p < 0.0001). In the period between the 3- and 6-year follow-ups, 3 additional patients assigned to coiling and none assigned to clipping received retreatment, for overall retreatment rates of 4.6% (13/280) for clipping and 16.4% (21/128) for coiling (p < 0.0001). When aneurysm location was considered, the 6-year results continued to match the previously reported results, with no difference in outcome for anterior circulation aneurysms at most time points. Of the anterior circulation aneurysms assigned to coiling treatment, 42% (70/168) were crossed over to clipping treatment. The outcomes for posterior circulation aneurysms continued to favor coiling. The randomization process was unexpectedly skewed, with 18 of 21 treated aneurysms of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) being assigned to clipping, but even when PICA aneurysms were removed from the analysis, outcomes for the posterior circulation aneurysms still favored coiling.

Conclusions Although BRAT was statistically underpowered to detect small differences, these results suggest little difference in outcome between the 2 treatments for anterior circulation aneurysms. This was not the case for the posterior circulation aneurysms, where coil embolization appeared to provide a sustained advantage over clipping. Aneurysm obliteration rates in BRAT were significantly lower and retreatment rates significantly higher in the patients undergoing coiling than in those undergoing clipping. However, despite the fact that retreatment rates were higher after coiling, no recurrent hemorrhages were known to have occurred in patients undergoing coiling in BRAT who were followed up for 6 years. Sufficient questions remain about the relative benefits of the 2 treatment modalities to warrant further welldesigned randomized trials.

High Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Patient Volume Associated With Lower Mortality and Better Outcomes

Cerebral arterial fenestrations- a common phenomenon in unexplained subarachnoid haemorrhage

Neurosurgery 77:462–470, 2015

High-volume centers have better outcomes than low-volume centers when managing complex conditions including subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

OBJECTIVE: To quantify SAH volume-outcome association and determine the extent to which this association is influenced by aggressiveness of care.

METHODS: A serial cross-sectional retrospective study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for 2002 to 2010 was performed. Included were all adult (older than 18 years of age) discharged patients with a primary diagnosis of SAH admitted from the emergency department or transferred to a discharging hospital; cases of trauma or arteriovenous malformation were excluded. Survey-weighted descriptive statistics estimated temporal trends. Multilevel logistic regression estimated volume-outcome associations for inpatient mortality and discharge home. Models were adjusted for demographic characteristics, year, transfer status, insurance status, all individual Charlson comorbidities, intubation, and all patient-refined, diagnosis-related group mortality. Analyses were repeated, excluding cases in which aggressive care was not pursued.

RESULTS: A total of 32336 discharges were included; 13398 patients underwent clipping (59.1%) or coiling (40.9%). The inpatient mortality rate decreased from 32.2% in 2002 to 22.2% in 2010; discharge home increased from 28.5% to 40.8% during the same period. As SAH volume decreased from 100/year, the mortality rate increased from 18.7% to 19.8% at 80/year, 21.7% at 60/year, 24.5% at 40/year, and 28.4% at 20/ year. As SAH patient volume decreased, the probability of discharge home decreased from 40.3% at 100/year to 38.7% at 60/year, and 35.3% at 20/year. Better outcomes persisted in patients receiving aggressive care and in those not receiving aggressive care.

CONCLUSION: Short-term SAH outcomes have improved. High-volume hospitals have more favorable outcomes than low-volume hospitals. This effect is substantial, even for hospitals conventionally classified as high volume.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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