Neurosurgery Blog


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

Effectiveness of endoscopic surgery for supratentorial hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage: a comparison with craniotomy

J Neurosurg 128:553–559, 2018

The goal of this study was to investigate the effectiveness and practicality of endoscopic surgery for treatment of supratentorial hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage (HICH) compared with traditional craniotomy.

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed 151 consecutive patients who were operated on for treatment of supratentorial HICH between January 2009 and June 2014 in the Department of Neurosurgery at Chinese PLA General Hospital. Patients were separated into an endoscopy group (82 cases) and a craniotomy group (69 cases), depending on the surgery they received. The hematoma evacuation rate was calculated using 3D Slicer software to measure the hematoma volume. Comparisons of operative time, intraoperative blood loss, Glasgow Coma Scale score 1 week after surgery, hospitalization time, and modified Rankin Scale score 6 months after surgery were also made between these groups.

RESULTS There was no statistically significant difference in preoperative data between the endoscopy group and the craniotomy group (p > 0.05). The hematoma evacuation rate was 90.5% ± 6.5% in the endoscopy group and 82.3% ± 8.6% in the craniotomy group, which was statistically significant (p < 0.01). The operative time was 1.6 ± 0.7 hours in the endoscopy group and 5.2 ± 1.8 hours in the craniotomy group (p < 0.01). The intraoperative blood loss was 91.4 ± 93.1 ml in the endoscopy group and 605.6 ± 602.3 ml in the craniotomy group (p < 0.01). The 1-week postoperative Glasgow Coma Scale score was 11.5 ± 2.9 in the endoscopy group and 8.3 ± 3.8 in the craniotomy group (p < 0.01). The hospital stay was 11.6 ± 6.9 days in the endoscopy group and 13.2 ± 7.9 days in the craniotomy group (p < 0.05). The mean modified Rankin Scale score 6 months after surgery was 3.2 ± 1.5 in the endoscopy group and 4.1 ± 1.9 in the craniotomy group (p < 0.01). Patients had better recovery in the endoscopy group than in the craniotomy group. Data are expressed as the mean ± SD.

CONCLUSIONS Compared with traditional craniotomy, endoscopic surgery was more effective, less invasive, and may have improved the prognoses of patients with supratentorial HICH. Endoscopic surgery is a promising method for treatment of supratentorial HICH. With the development of endoscope technology, endoscopic evacuation will become more widely used in the clinic. Prospective randomized controlled trials are needed.


Outcome after Hunt and Hess Grade V subarachnoid hemorrhage: a comparison of pre-coiling era (1980–1995) versus post-ISAT era (2005–2014)

J Neurosurg 128:100–110, 2018

Outcome analysis of comatose patients (Hunt and Hess Grade V) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is still lacking. The aims of this study were to analyze the outcome of Hunt and Hess Grade V SAH and to compare outcomes in the current period with those of the pre–International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT) era as well as with published data from trials of decompressive craniectomy (DC) for middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarction.

METHODS The authors analyzed cases of Hunt and Hess Grade V SAH from 1980–1995 (referred to in this study as the earlier period) and 2005–2014 (current period) and compared the results for the 2 periods. The outcomes of 257 cases were analyzed and stratified on the basis of modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores obtained 6 months after SAH. Outcomes were dichotomized as favorable (mRS score of 0–2) or unfavorable (mRS score of 3–6). Data and number needed to treat (NNT) were also compared with the results of decompressive craniectomy (DC) trials for middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarctions.

RESULTS Early aneurysm treatment within 72 hours occurred significantly more often in the current period (in 67% of cases vs 22% in earlier period). In the earlier period, patients had a significantly higher 30-day mortality rate (83% vs 39% in the current period) and 6-month mortality rate (94% vs 49%), and no patient (0%) had a favorable outcome, compared with 23% overall in the current period (p < 0.01, OR 32), or 29.5% of patients whose aneurysms were treated (p < 0.01, OR 219). Cerebral infarctions occurred in up to 65% of the treated patients in the current period. Comparison with data from DC MCA trials showed that the NNTs were significantly lower in the current period with 2 for survival and 3 for mRS score of 0–3 (vs 3 and 7, respectively, for the DC MCA trials).

CONCLUSIONS Early and aggressive treatment resulted in a significant improvement in survival rate (NNT = 2) and favorable outcome (NNT = 3 for mRS score of 0–3) for comatose patients with Hunt and Hess Grade V SAH compared with the earlier period. Independent predictors for favorable outcome were younger age and bilateral intact corneal reflexes. Despite a high rate of cerebral infarction (65%) in the current period, 29.5% of the patients who received treatment for their aneurysms during the current era (2005–2014) had a favorable outcome. However, careful individual decision making is essential in these cases.

Brainstem arteriovenous malformations: lesion characteristics and treatment outcomes

J Neurosurg 128:126–136, 2018

Brainstem arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are rare lesions that are difficult to diagnose and treat. They are often more aggressive in their behavior when compared with their supratentorial counterparts. The consequence of a brainstem hemorrhage is often devastating, and many patients are in poor neurological status at presentation. The authors examine the factors associated with angiographically confirmed cure and those affecting management outcomes for these complex lesions.

METHODS This was a retrospective analysis of data gathered from the prospectively maintained Stanford AVM database. Lesions were grouped based on their location in the brainstem (medulla, pons, or midbrain) and the quadrant they occupied. Angiographic cure was dichotomized as completely obliterated or not, and functional outcome was dichotomized as either independent or not independent at last follow-up.

RESULTS Over a 23-year period, 39 lesions were treated. Of these, 3 were located in the medulla, 14 in the pons, and 22 in the midbrain. At presentation, 92% of the patients had hemorrhage, and only 43.6% were functionally independent. Surgery resulted in the best radiographic cure rates, with a morbidity rate of 12.5%. In all, 53% of patients either improved or remained stable after surgery. Absence of residual nidus and female sex correlated with better outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS Brainstem AVMs usually present with hemorrhage. Surgery offers the best chance of cure, either in isolation or in combination with other modalities as appropriate.

Analysis of saccular aneurysms in the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial

J Neurosurg 128:120–125, 2018

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) is a prospective, randomized trial in which treatment with clipping was compared to treatment with coil embolization. Patients were randomized to treatment on presentation with any nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Because all other randomized trials comparing these 2 types of treatments have been limited to saccular aneurysms, the authors analyzed the current BRAT data for this subgroup of lesions.

METHODS The primary BRAT analysis included all sources of SAH: nonaneurysmal lesions; saccular, blister, fusiform, and dissecting aneurysms; and SAHs from an aneurysm associated with either an arteriovenous malformation or a fistula. In this post hoc review, the outcomes for the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms were further analyzed by type of treatment. The extent of aneurysm obliteration was adjudicated by an independent neuroradiologist not involved in treatment.

RESULTS Of the 471 patients enrolled in the BRAT, 362 (77%) had an SAH from a saccular aneurysm. Patients with saccular aneurysms were assigned equally to the clipping and the coiling cohorts (181 each). In each cohort, 3 patients died before treatment and 178 were treated. Of the 178 clip-assigned patients with saccular aneurysms, 1 (1%) was crossed over to coiling, and 64 (36%) of the 178 coil-assigned patients were crossed over to clipping. There was no statistically significant difference in poor outcome (modified Rankin Scale score > 2) between these 2 treatment arms at any recorded time point during 6 years of follow-up. After the initial hospitalization, 1 of 241 (0.4%) clipped saccular aneurysms and 21 of 115 (18%) coiled saccular aneurysms required retreatment (p < 0.001). At the 6-year follow-up, 95% (95/100) of the clipped aneurysms were completely obliterated, compared with 40% (16/40) of the coiled aneurysms (p < 0.001). There was no difference in morbidity between the 2 treatment groups (p = 0.10).

CONCLUSIONS In the subgroup of patients with saccular aneurysms enrolled in the BRAT, there was no significant difference between modified Rankin Scale outcomes at any follow-up time in patients with saccular aneurysms assigned to clipping compared with those assigned to coiling (intent-to-treat analysis). At the 6-year follow-up evaluation, rates of retreatment and complete aneurysm obliteration significantly favored patients who underwent clipping compared with those who underwent coiling. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01593267 (


Comparison of endovascular and microsurgical management of 208 basilar apex aneurysms

J Neurosurg 127:1342–1352, 2017

The deep and difficult-to-reach location of basilar apex aneurysms, along with their location near critical adjacent perforating arteries, has rendered the perception that microsurgical treatment of these aneurysms is risky. As a result, these aneurysms are considered more suitable for treatment by endovascular intervention. The authors attempt to compare the immediate and long-term outcomes of microsurgery versus endovascular therapy for this aneurysm subtype.

METHODS A prospectively maintained database of 208 consecutive patients treated for basilar apex aneurysms between 2000 and 2012 was reviewed. In this group, 161 patients underwent endovascular treatment and 47 were managed microsurgically. The corresponding records were analyzed for presenting characteristics, postoperative complications, discharge status, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores up to 1 year after treatment and compared using chi-square and Student t-tests.

RESULTS Among these 208 aneurysms, 116 (56%) were ruptured, including 92 (57%) and 24 (51%) of the endovascularly and microsurgically managed aneurysms, respectively. The average Hunt and Hess grade was 2.4 (2.4 in the endovascular group and 2.2 in the microsurgical group; p = 0.472). Postoperative complications of cranial nerve deficits and hemiparesis were more common in patients treated microsurgically than endovascularly (55.3% vs 16.2%, p < 0.05; and 27.7% vs 10.6%, p < 0.05, respectively). However, aneurysm remnants and need for retreatment were more common in the endovascular than the microsurgical group (41.3% vs 2.3%, p < 0.05; and 10.6% vs 0.0%, p < 0.05, respectively). Stent placement significantly reduced the need for retreatment. Rehemorrhage rates and average GOS score at discharge and 1 year after treatment were not statistically different between the two treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS Patients with basilar apex aneurysms were significantly more likely to be treated via endovascular management, but compared with those treated microsurgically, they had higher rates of recurrence and need for retreatment. The current study did not detect an overall difference in outcomes at discharge and 1 year after either treatment modality. Therefore, in a select group of patients, microsurgical treatment continues to play an important role.

Microsurgery for Spetzler-Ponce Class A and B arteriovenous malformations utilizing an outcome score adopted from Gamma Knife radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 127:1105–1116, 2017

The purpose of this study was to adapt and apply the extended definition of favorable outcome established for Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) to surgery for brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs). The aim was to derive both an error around the point estimate and a model incorporating angioarchitectural features in order to facilitate comparison among different treatments.

METHODS A prospective microsurgical cohort was analyzed. This cohort included patients undergoing embolization who did not proceed to microsurgery and patients denied surgery because of perceived risk of treatment. Data on bAVM residual and recurrence during long-term follow-up as well as complications of surgery and preoperative embolization were analyzed. Patients with Spetzler-Ponce Class C bAVMs were excluded because of extreme selection bias. First, patients with a favorable outcome were identified for both Class A and Class B lesions. Patients were considered to have a favorable outcome if they were free of bAVM recurrence or residual at last follow-up, with no complication of surgery or preoperative embolization, and a modified Rankin Scale score of more than 1 at 12 months after treatment. Patients who were denied surgery because of perceived risk, but would otherwise have been candidates for surgery, were included as not having a favorable outcome. Second, the authors analyzed favorable outcome from microsurgery by means of regression analysis, using as predictors characteristics previously identified to be associated with complications. Third, they created a prediction model of favorable outcome for microsurgery dependent upon angioarchitectural variables derived from the regression analysis.

RESULTS From a cohort of 675 patients who were either treated or denied surgery because of perceived risk of surgery, 562 had Spetzler-Ponce Class A or B bAVMs and were included in the analysis. Logistic regression for favorable outcome found decreasing maximum diameter (continuous, OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.51–0.76), the absence of eloquent location (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.12–0.43), and the absence of deep venous drainage (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.10–0.36) to be significant predictors of favorable outcome. These variables are in agreement with previous analyses of microsurgery leading to complications, and the findings support the use of favorable outcome for microsurgery. The model developed for angioarchitectural features predicts a range of favorable outcome at 8 years following microsurgery for Class A bAVMs to be 88%–99%. The same model for Class B bAVMs predicts a range of favorable outcome of 62%–90%.

CONCLUSIONS Favorable outcome, derived from GKRS, can be successfully used for microsurgical cohort series to assist in treatment recommendations. A favorable outcome can be achieved by microsurgery in at least 90% of cases at 8 years following microsurgery for patients with bAVMs smaller than 2.5 cm in maximum diameter and, in the absence of either deep venous drainage or eloquent location, patients with Spetzler-Ponce Class A bAVMs of all diameters. For patients with Class B bAVMs, this rate of favorable outcome can only be approached for lesions with a maximum diameter just above 6 cm or smaller and without deep venous drainage or eloquent location.


Predictive factors for recurrence and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic subdural hematoma

J Neurosurg 127:1117–1125, 2017

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is a common type of intracranial hemorrhage in elderly patients. Many studies have suggested various factors that may be associated with the recurrence of CSDH. However, the results are inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to determine the associations among patient factors, recurrence, and clinical outcomes of CSDH after burr hole surgery performed during an 11-year period at twin hospitals.

METHODS Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to evaluate the risk factors for CSDH recurrence. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to calculate hazard ratios with 95% CIs for CSDH recurrence based on many variables. One-way repeated-measures ANOVA was used to assess the differences in the mean modified Rankin Scale score between categories for each risk factor during each admission and at the last follow-up.

RESULTS This study was a retrospective analysis of 756 consecutive patients with CSDH who underwent burr hole surgery at the Hanyang University Medical Center (Seoul and Guri) between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2014. During the 6-month follow-up, 104 patients (13.8%) with recurrence after surgery for CSDH were identified. Independent risk factors for recurrence were as follows: age > 75 years (HR 1.72, 95% CI 1.03–2.88; p = 0.039), obesity (body mass index ≥ 25.0 kg/m2), and a bilateral operation.

CONCLUSIONS This study determined the risk factors for recurrence of CSDH and their effects on outcomes. Further studies are needed to account for these observations and to determine their underlying mechanisms.

Clinical relevance of anterior cerebral artery asymmetry in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

J Neurosurg 127:1070–1076, 2017

An asymmetry of the A1 segments (A1SA) of the anterior cerebral arteries (ACAs) is an assumed risk factor for the development of anterior communicating artery aneurysms (ACoAAs). It is unknown whether A1SA is also clinically relevant after aneurysm rupture. The authors of this study investigated the impact of A1SA on the clinical course and outcome of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed data on consecutive SAH patients treated at their institution between January 2005 and December 2012. The occurrence and severity of cerebral infarctions in the ACA territories were evaluated on follow-up CT scans up to 6 weeks after SAH. Moreover, the risk for an unfavorable outcome (defined as > 3 points on the modified Rankin Scale) at 6 months after SAH was assessed.

RESULTS A total of 594 patients were included in the final analysis. An A1SA was identified on digital subtraction angiography studies from 127 patients (21.4%) and was strongly associated with ACoAA (p < 0.0001, OR 13.7). An A1SA independently correlated with the occurrence of ACA infarction in patients with ACoAA (p = 0.047) and in those without an ACoAA (p = 0.015). Among patients undergoing ACoAA coiling, A1SA was independently associated with the severity of ACA infarction (p = 0.023) and unfavorable functional outcome (p = 0.045, OR = 2.4).

CONCLUSIONS An A1SA is a common anatomical variation in SAH patients and is strongly associated with ACoAA. Moreover, the presence of A1SA independently increases the likelihood of ACA infarction. In SAH patients undergoing ACoAA coiling, A1SA carries the risk for severe ACA infarction and thus an unfavorable outcome.


Tonsillobiventral fissure approach to the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle

J Neurosurg (127): 768-774, 2017

Surgical access to the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle (LR) is suboptimal with existing transvermian and telovelar approaches because of limited lateral exposure, significant retraction of the cerebellar tonsil, and steep trajectories near brainstem perforator arteries. The goal in this study was to assess surgical exposure of the tonsillobiventral fissure approach to the LR, and to describe the relevant anatomy.

METHODS Two formaldehyde-fixed cerebella were used to study the anatomical relationships of the LR. Also, the tonsillobiventral fissure approach was simulated in 8 specimens through a lateral suboccipital craniotomy.

RESULTS The pattern of the cerebellar folia and the cortical branches of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery were key landmarks to identifying the tonsillobiventral fissure. Splitting the tonsillobiventral fissure allowed a direct and safe surgical trajectory to the LR and into the cerebellopontine cistern. The proposed approach reduces cervical flexion and optimizes the surgical angle of attack.

CONCLUSIONS The tonsillobiventral fissure approach is a feasible and effective option for exposing the LR. This approach has more favorable trajectories and positions for the patient and the surgeon, and it should be added to the armamentarium for lesions in this location.

The anterior temporal artery: an underutilized but robust donor for revascularization of the distal middle cerebral artery

J Neurosurg 127:740–747, 2017

The anterior temporal artery (ATA) supplies an area of the brain that, if sacrificed, does not cause a noticeable loss of function. Therefore, the ATA may be used as a donor in intracranial-intracranial (IC-IC) bypass procedures. The capacities of the ATA as a donor have not been studied previously. In this study, the authors assessed the feasibility of using the ATA as a donor for revascularization of different segments of the distal middle cerebral artery (MCA).

METHODS The ATA was studied in 15 cadaveric specimens (8 heads, excluding 1 side). First, the cisternal segment of the artery was untethered from arachnoid adhesions and small branches feeding the anterior temporal lobe and insular cortex, to evaluate its capacity for a side-to-side bypass to insular, opercular, and cortical segments of the MCA. Any branch entering the anterior perforated substance was preserved. Then, the ATA was cut at the opercular-cortical junction and the capacity for an end-to-side bypass was assessed.

RESULTS From a total of 17 ATAs, 4 (23.5%) arose as an early MCA branch. The anterior insular zone and the frontal parasylvian cortical arteries were the best targets (in terms of mobility and caliber match) for a side-to-side bypass. Most of the insula was accessible for end-to-side bypass, but anterior zones of the insula were more accessible than posterior zones. End-to-side bypass was feasible for most recipient cortical arteries along the opercula, except for posterior temporal and parietal regions. Early ATAs reached significantly farther on the insular MCA recipients than non-early ATAs for both side-to-side and end-to-side bypasses.

CONCLUSIONS The ATA is a robust arterial donor for IC-IC bypass procedures, including side-to-side and end-to-side techniques. The evidence provided in this work supports the use of the ATA as a donor for distal MCA revascularization in well-selected patients.


Accuracy of 320-detector row nonsubtracted and subtracted volume CT angiography in evaluating small cerebral aneurysms

J Neurosurg 127:725–731, 2017

The study aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of 320-detector row nonsubtracted and subtracted volume CT angiography (VCTA) in detecting small cerebral aneurysms (< 3 mm) compared with 3D digital subtraction angiography (3D DSA).

METHODS Six hundred sixty-two patients underwent 320-detector row VCTA and 3D DSA for suspected cerebral aneurysms. Five neuroradiologists independently reviewed VCTA and 3D DSA images. The 3D DSA was considered the reference standard, and the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of nonsubtracted and subtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were analyzed. A p value < 0.05 was considered a significant difference.

RESULTS According to 3D DSA images, 98 small cerebral aneurysms were identified in 90 of 662 patients. Nonsubtracted VCTA depicted 90 small aneurysms. Ten small aneurysms were missed, and 2 small aneurysms were misdiagnosed. The missed small aneurysms were located almost in the internal carotid artery, near bone tissue. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of nonsubtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were 89.8%, 99.2%, and 96.5%, respectively, on a per-aneurysm basis. Subtracted VCTA depicted 97 small aneurysms. Three small aneurysms were missed, and 2 small aneurysms were misdiagnosed. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of subtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were 96.9%, 99.2%, and 98.6%, respectively, on a per-aneurysm basis. There was no difference in accuracy between subtracted VCTA and 3D DSA (p = 1.000). However, nonsubtracted VCTA had significantly less sensitivity than 3D DSA and subtracted VCTA (p = 0.039 and 0.016, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Subtracted 320-detector row VCTA is sensitive enough to replace 3D DSA in the diagnosis of small cerebral aneurysms (< 3 mm). The accuracy rate of nonsubtracted VCTA was lower than that of subtracted VCTA and 3D DSA, especially in the assessment of small internal carotid artery aneurysms adjacent to the skull base.

The management and outcome for patients with chronic subdural hematoma: a prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study in the United Kingdom

J Neurosurg 127:732–739, 2017

Symptomatic chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) will become an increasingly common presentation in neurosurgical practice as the population ages, but quality evidence is still lacking to guide the optimal management for these patients. The British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative (BNTRC) was established by neurosurgical trainees in 2012 to improve research by combining the efforts of trainees in each of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland’s neurosurgical units (NSUs). The authors present the first study by the BNTRC that describes current management and outcomes for patients with CSDH throughout the UK and Ireland. This provides a resource both for current clinical practice and future clinical research on CSDH.

METHODS Data on management and outcomes for patients with CSDH referred to UK and Ireland NSUs were collected prospectively over an 8-month period and audited against criteria predefined from the literature: NSU mortality < 5%, NSU morbidity < 10%, symptomatic recurrence within 60 days requiring repeat surgery < 20%, and unfavorable functional status (modified Rankin Scale score of 4–6) at NSU discharge < 30%.

RESULTS: Data from 1205 patients in 26 NSUs were collected. Bur-hole craniostomy was the most common procedure (89%), and symptomatic recurrence requiring repeat surgery within 60 days was observed in 9% of patients. Criteria on mortality (2%), rate of recurrence (9%), and unfavorable functional outcome (22%) were met, but morbidity was greater than expected (14%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that failure to insert a drain intraoperatively independently predicted recurrence and unfavorable functional outcome (p = 0.011 and p = 0.048, respectively). Increasing patient age (p < 0.00001), postoperative bed rest (p = 0.019), and use of a single bur hole (p = 0.020) independently predicted unfavorable functional outcomes, but prescription of high-flow oxygen or preoperative use of antiplatelet medications did not.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest prospective CSDH study and helps establish national standards. It has confirmed in a real-world setting the effectiveness of placing a subdural drain. This study identified a number of modifiable prognostic factors but questions the necessity of some common aspects of CSDH management, such as enforced postoperative bed rest. Future studies should seek to establish how practitioners can optimize perioperative care of patients with CSDH to reduce morbidity as well as minimize CSDH recurrence. The BNTRC is unique worldwide, conducting multicenter trainee-led research and audits. This study demonstrates that collaborative research networks are powerful tools to interrogate clinical research questions.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for cerebellar arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study

J Neurosurg 127:512–521, 2017

Cerebellar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) represent the majority of infratentorial AVMs and frequently have a hemorrhagic presentation. In this multicenter study, the authors review outcomes of cerebellar AVMs after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

METHODS: Eight medical centers contributed data from 162 patients with cerebellar AVMs managed with SRS. Of these patients, 65% presented with hemorrhage. The median maximal nidus diameter was 2 cm. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent radiation-induced complications (RICs). Patients were followed clinically and radiographically, with a median follow-up of 60 months (range 7–325 months).

RESULTS: The overall actuarial rates of obliteration at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 38.3%, 74.2%, 81.4%, and 86.1%, respectively, after single-session SRS. Obliteration and a favorable outcome were more likely to be achieved in patients treated with a margin dose greater than 18 Gy (p < 0.001 for both), demonstrating significantly better rates (83.3% and 79%, respectively). The rate of latency preobliteration hemorrhage was 0.85%/year. Symptomatic post-SRS RICs developed in 4.5% of patients (n = 7). Predictors of a favorable outcome were a smaller nidus (p = 0.0001), no pre-SRS embolization (p = 0.003), no prior hemorrhage (p = 0.0001), a higher margin dose (p = 0.0001), and a higher maximal dose (p = 0.009). The Spetzler-Martin grade was not found to be predictive of outcome. The Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale score (p = 0.0001) and the Radiosurgery-Based AVM Scale score (p = 0.0001) were predictive of a favorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: SRS results in successful obliteration and a favorable outcome in the majority of patients with cerebellar AVMs. Most patients will require a nidus dose of higher than 18 Gy to achieve these goals. Radiosurgical and not microsurgical scales were predictive of clinical outcome after SRS.

Clinical course of untreated thalamic cavernous malformations: hemorrhage risk and neurological outcomes

J Neurosurg 127:480–491, 2017

The natural history of cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) has been widely studied, but the clinical course of untreated thalamic CMs is largely unknown. Hemorrhage of these lesions can be devastating. The authors undertook this study to obtain a prospective hemorrhage rate and provide a better understanding of the prognosis of untreated thalamic CMs.

METHODS This longitudinal cohort study included patients with thalamic CMs who were diagnosed between 2000 and 2015. Clinical data were recorded, radiological studies were extensively reviewed, and follow-up evaluations were performed.

RESULTS A total of 121 patients were included in the study (56.2% female), with a mean follow-up duration of 3.6 years. The overall annual hemorrhage rate (subsequent to the initial presentation) was calculated to be 9.7% based on the occurrence of 42 hemorrhages over 433.1 patient-years. This rate was highest in patients (n = 87) who initially presented with hemorrhage and focal neurological deficits (FNDs) (14.1%) (c2 = 15.358, p < 0.001), followed by patients (n = 19) with hemorrhage but without FND (4.5%) and patients (n = 15) without hemorrhage regardless of symptoms (1.2%). The initial patient presentations of hemorrhage with FND (hazard ratio [HR] 2.767, 95% CI 1.336–5.731, p = 0.006) and associated developmental venous anomaly (DVA) (HR 2.510, 95% CI 1.275–4.942, p = 0.008) were identified as independent hemorrhage risk factors. The annual hemorrhage rate was significantly higher in patients with hemorrhagic presentation at diagnosis (11.7%, p = 0.004) or DVA (15.7%, p = 0.002). Compared with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at diagnosis (mean 2.2), the final mRS score (mean 2.0) was improved in 37 patients (30.6%), stable in 59 patients (48.8%), and worse in 25 patients (20.7%). Lesion size (odds ratio [OR] per 0.1 cm increase 3.410, 95% CI 1.272–9.146, p = 0.015) and mRS score at diagnosis (OR per 1 point increase 3.548, 95% CI 1.815–6.937, p < 0.001) were independent adverse risk factors for poor neurological outcome (mRS score ≥ 2). Patients experiencing hemorrhage after the initial ictus (OR per 1 ictus increase 6.923, 95% CI 3.023–15.855, p < 0.001) had a greater chance of worsened neurological status.

CONCLUSIONS This study verified the adverse predictors for hemorrhage and functional outcomes of thalamic CMs and demonstrated an overall annual symptomatic hemorrhage rate of 9.7% after the initial presentation. These findings and the mode of initial presentation are useful for clinicians and patients when selecting an appropriate treatment, although the tertiary referral bias of the series should be taken into account.

Bypass surgery for complex middle cerebral artery aneurysms: an algorithmic approach to revascularization

J Neurosurg 127:463–479, 2017

Management of complex aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) can be challenging. Lesions not amenable to endovascular techniques or direct clipping might require a bypass procedure with aneurysm obliteration. Various bypass techniques are available, but an algorithmic approach to classifying these lesions and determining the optimal bypass strategy has not been developed. The objective of this study was to propose a comprehensive and flexible algorithm based on MCA aneurysm location for selecting the best of multiple bypass options.

METHODS Aneurysms of the MCA that required bypass as part of treatment were identified from a large prospectively maintained database of vascular neurosurgeries. According to its location relative to the bifurcation, each aneurysm was classified as a prebifurcation, bifurcation, or postbifurcation aneurysm.

RESULTS Between 1998 and 2015, 30 patients were treated for 30 complex MCA aneurysms in 8 (27%) prebifurcation, 5 (17%) bifurcation, and 17 (56%) postbifurcation locations. Bypasses included 8 superficial temporal artery–MCA bypasses, 4 high-flow extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) bypasses, 13 IC-IC bypasses (6 reanastomoses, 3 reimplantations, 3 interpositional grafts, and 1 in situ bypass), and 5 combination bypasses. The bypass strategy for prebifurcation aneurysms was determined by the involvement of lenticulostriate arteries, whereas the bypass strategy for bifurcation aneurysms was determined by rupture status. The location of the MCA aneurysm in the candelabra (Sylvian, insular, or opercular) determined the bypass strategy for postbifurcation aneurysms. No deaths that resulted from surgery were found, bypass patency was 90%, and the condition of 90% of the patients was improved or unchanged at the most recent follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS The bypass strategy used for an MCA aneurysm depends on the aneurysm location, lenticulostriate anatomy, and rupture status. A uniform bypass strategy for all MCA aneurysms does not exist, but the algorithm proposed here might guide selection of the optimal EC-IC or IC-IC bypass technique.

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.


Relationship of A1 segment hypoplasia to anterior communicating artery aneurysm morphology and risk factors for aneurysm formation

J Neurosurg 127:89–95, 2017

Hypoplasia of the A1 segment of the anterior cerebral artery is frequently observed in patients with anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms. The effect of this anatomical variant on ACoA aneurysm morphology is not well understood.

METHODS Digital subtraction angiography images were reviewed for 204 patients presenting to the authors’ institution with either a ruptured or an unruptured ACoA aneurysm. The ratio of the width of the larger A1 segment to the smaller A1 segment was calculated. Patients with an A1 ratio greater than 2 were categorized as having A1 segment hypoplasia. The relationship of A1 segment hypoplasia to both patient and aneurysm characteristics was then assessed.

RESULTS Of 204 patients that presented with an ACoA aneurysm, 34 (16.7%) were found to have a hypoplastic A1. Patients with A1 segment hypoplasia were less likely to have a history of smoking (44.1% vs 62.9%, p = 0.0410). ACoA aneurysms occurring in the setting of a hypoplastic A1 were also found to have a larger maximum diameter (mean 7.7 vs 6.0 mm, p = 0.0084). When considered as a continuous variable, increasing A1 ratio was associated with decreasing aneurysm dome-to-neck ratio (p = 0.0289). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of A1 segment hypoplasia between ruptured and unruptured aneurysms (18.9% vs 10.7%; p = 0.1605).

CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that a hypoplastic A1 may affect the morphology of ACoA aneurysms. In addition, the relative lack of traditional risk factors for aneurysm formation in patients with A1 segment hypoplasia argues for the importance of hemodynamic factors in the formation of ACoA aneurysms in this anatomical setting.


Transdural arterial recruitment to brain arteriovenous malformation

J Neurosurg 127:51–58, 2017

The occurrence of transdural arterial recruitment (TDAR) in association with brain arteriovenous malformation (bAVM) is uncommon, and the reason for TDAR is not understood. The aim of this cohort study was to examine patient and bAVM characteristics associated with TDAR and the implications of TDAR on management.

METHODS A prospective surgical database of bAVMs was examined. Cases previously treated elsewhere or incompletely examined by digital subtraction angiography (DSA) assessment were excluded. Three studies of this cohort were performed, as follows: characteristics associated with TDAR, the relationship between TDAR and neurological deficits unassociated with hemorrhage (NDUH), and the impact of TDAR on outcome from surgery. Regression models were performed.

RESULTS Of 769 patients with complete DSA who had no previous treatment, 51 (6.6%) were found to have TDAR. The presence of TDAR was associated with increasing age (p < 0.01; OR 1.05; 95% CI 1.02–1.07); presentation with NDUH (p < 0.01; OR 2.71; 95% CI 1.29–5.71); increasing size of the bAVM (p < 0.01; OR 1.57; 95% CI 1.29–1.91); and combined supply from both anterior and posterior circulations (p = 0.02; OR 2.37; 95% CI 1.17–4.78). Further analysis of TDAR cases comparing those with and without NDUH found an association of larger size (6.6 cm [2.9 SD] compared with 4.7 cm [1.8 SD]; p < 0.01) and combined supply from both anterior and posterior circulations (relative risk 2.5; 95% CI 1.0–6.2; p = 0.04) to be associated with an NDUH presentation. For the 632 patients undergoing surgery there was an increased risk of complications (where this produced a new permanent neurological deficit at 12 months represented by a modified Rankin Scale score of > 1) with the following variables: size; location in eloquent brain; deep venous drainage; increasing age; and no presentation with hemorrhage. The presence of TDAR was not associated with an increased risk of complications from surgery.

CONCLUSIONS The authors found that TDAR occurs in older patients with larger bAVMs, and that TDAR is also more likely to be associated with bAVMs presenting with NDUH. The likely explanation for the presence of TDAR is a secondary recruitment arising as a consequence of shear stress, rather than a primary vascular supply present from the earliest development of the bAVM.

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma: unilateral or bilateral drainage?

J Neurosurg 126:1905–1911, 2017

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma (bCSDH) is a common neurosurgical condition frequently associated with the need for retreatment. The reason for the high rate of retreatment has not been thoroughly investigated. Thus, the authors focused on determining which independent predictors are associated with the retreatment of bCSDH with a focus on surgical laterality.

METHODS In a national database of CSDHs (Danish Chronic Subdural Hematoma Study) the authors retrospectively identified all bCSDHs treated in the 4 Danish neurosurgical departments over the 3-year period from 2010 to 2012. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the relationship between retreatment of bCSDH and clinical, radiological, and surgical variables.

RESULTS Two hundred ninety-one patients with bCSDH were identified, and 264 of them underwent unilateral (136 patients) or bilateral (128 patients) surgery. The overall retreatment rate was 21.6% (57 of 264 patients). Cases treated with unilateral surgery had twice the risk of retreatment compared with cases undergoing bilateral surgery (28.7% vs 14.1%, respectively, p = 0.002). In accordance with previous studies, the data also showed that a separated hematoma density and the absence of postoperative drainage were independent predictors of retreatment.

CONCLUSIONS In bCSDHs bilateral surgical intervention significantly lowers the risk of retreatment compared with unilateral intervention and should be considered when choosing a surgical procedure.


Is there an inherited anatomical conformation favoring aneurysmal formation of the anterior communicating artery?

J Neurosurg 126:1598–1605, 2017

The pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for the formation of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) remain only partially elucidated. However, current evidence suggests a genetic component. The purpose of this study was to investigate the specific anatomical variations in the arterial complex that are associated with the presence of anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms in the familial forms of IAs.

METHODS This multicenter study investigated bifurcation IAs in patients who had a sporadic ACoA IA without a family history of IA (SACAA group), in patients who had an ACoA IA with a family history of IA (FACAA group), and in their healthy first-degree relatives (HFDRs). Through the use of MR angiography (MRA) reconstructions, the symmetry of the A1 segments and the angle between the A1 and A2 segments were analyzed on 3D models for each group. These measurements were then compared among the 3 groups.

RESULTS Twenty-four patients with SACAA, 24 patients with FACAA, and 20 HFDRs were included in the study. Asymmetrical configuration of the A1 segments was more frequent in the FACAA group than in the HFDR group (p = 0.002). The aneurysm-side A1-A2 angle was lower in the FACAA group (p = 0.003) and SACAA group (p = 0.007) than in the HFDR group. On the contralateral side, there was no difference in A1-A2 angles between groups.

CONCLUSIONS The anatomical shape of the ACoA complex seems to be similarly associated with the presence of ACoA IAs in both the FACAA and SACAA groups. This highlights the role played by hemodynamic constraints in aneurysm formation and questions the hypothesis of the hereditary character of these anatomical shapes.

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


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