Minimally invasive surgery for spinal cerebrospinal fluid leaks in spontaneous intracranial hypotension

J Neurosurg Spine 38:147–152, 2023

Spinal CSF leaks cause spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). Surgical closure of spinal CSF leaks is the treatment of choice for persisting leaks. Surgical approaches vary, and there are no studies in which minimally invasive techniques were used. In this study, the authors aimed to detail the safety and feasibility of minimally invasive microsurgical sealing of spinal CSF leaks using nonexpandable tubular retractors.

METHODS Consecutive patients with SIH and a confirmed spinal CSF leak treated at a single institution between April 2019 and December 2020 were included in the study. Surgery was performed via a dorsal 2.5-cm skin incision using nonexpandable tubular retractors and a tailored interlaminar fenestration and, if needed, a transdural approach. The primary outcome was successful sealing of the dura, and the secondary outcome was the occurrence of complications.

RESULTS Fifty-eight patients, 65.5% of whom were female (median age 46 years [IQR 36–55 years]), with 38 ventral leaks, 17 lateral leaks, and 2 CSF venous fistulas were included. In 56 (96.6%) patients, the leak could be closed, and in 2 (3.4%) patients the leak was missed because of misinterpretation of the imaging studies. One of these patients underwent successful reoperation, and the other patient decided to undergo surgery at another institution. Two other patients had to undergo reoperation because of insufficient closure and a persisting leak. The rate of permanent neurological deficit was 1.7%, the revision rate for a persisting or recurring leak was 3.4%, and the overall revision rate was 10.3%. The rate of successful sealing during the primary closure attempt was 96.6% and 3.4% patients needed a secondary attempt. Clinical short-term outcome at discharge was unchanged in 14 patients and improved in 25 patients, and 19 patients had signs of rebound intracranial hypertension.

CONCLUSIONS Minimally invasive surgery with tubular retractors and a tailored interlaminar fenestration and, if needed, a transdural approach is safe and effective for the treatment of spinal CSF leaks. The authors suggest performing a minimally invasive closure of spinal CSF leaks in specialized centers.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Implications for a Modern Management Protocol

Neurosurgery 91:529–540, 2022

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting is widely used in refractory idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Although multiple reviews have assessed its efficacy compared with other surgical treatments, there is no detailed analysis that evaluates the clinical outcomes after CSF shunting.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a meta-analysis of the clinical impact of CSF shunting for refractory IIH and use this in conjunction with existing information on other treatment modalities to develop a modern management protocol.

METHODS: PubMed and Embase were systematically searched for studies describing CSF shunting for medically refractory IIH. Relevant information including study characteristics, patient demographics, clinical outcomes, periprocedural complications, and long-term outcomes were subjected to meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Fifteen studies published between 1988 and 2019 met our inclusion and exclusion criteria, providing 372 patients for analysis. The mean age was 31.2 years (range 0.5-71) with 83.6% being female. The average follow-up was 33.9 months (range 0-278 months). The overall rate of improvement in headache, papilledema, and visual impairment was 91% (95% CI 84%-97%), 96% (95% CI 85%-100%), and 85% (95% CI 72%95%), respectively. Of 372 patients, 155 had 436 revisions; the overall revision rate was 42% (95% CI 26%-59%). There was no significant correlation between average follow-up duration and revision rates in studies (P = .627). Periprocedural low-pressure headaches were noted in 74 patients (20%; 95% CI 11%-32%).

CONCLUSION: CSF shunting for IIH is associated with significant improvement in clinical symptoms. Shunting rarely causes periprocedural complications except overdrainagerelated low-pressure headache. However, CSF shunting has a relatively high revision rate.

Review of Cerebrospinal Fluid Physiology and Dynamics: A Call for Medical Education Reform

Neurosurgery 91:1–7, 2022

The flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been described as a unidirectional system with the choroid plexus serving as the primary secretor of CSF and the arachnoid granulations as primary reabsorption site. This theory of neurosurgical forefathers has been universally adopted and taught as dogma. Many neuroscientists have found difficulty reconciling this theory with common pathologies, and recent studies have found that this “classic” hypothesis may not represent the full picture.

OBJECTIVE: To review modern CSF dynamic theories and to call formedical education reform.

METHODS: We reviewed the literature from January 1990 to December 2020. We searched the PubMed database using key terms “cerebrospinal fluid circulation,” “cerebrospinal fluid dynamics,” “cerebrospinal fluid physiology,” “glymphatic system,” and “glymphatic pathway.” We selected articles with a primary aim to discuss either CSF dynamics and/or the glymphatic system.

RESULTS: The Bulat–Klarica–Oreˇskovi´c hypothesis purports that CSF is secreted and reabsorbed throughout the craniospinal axis. CSF demonstrates similar physiology to that of water elsewhere in the body. CSF “circulates” throughout the subarachnoid space in a pulsatile to-and-fro fashion. Osmolarity plays a critical role in CSF dynamics. Aquaporin-4 and the glymphatic system contribute to CSF volume and flow by establishing osmolarity gradients and facilitating CSF movement. Multiple studies demonstrate that the choroid plexus does not play any significant role in CSF circulation.

CONCLUSION: We have highlighted major studies to illustrate modern principles of CSF dynamics. Despite these, the medical education system has been slow to reform curricula and update learning resources.

Cerebrospinal fluid shunting protocol for idiopathic intracranial hypertension for an improved revision rate

J Neurosurg 136:1790–1795, 2022

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is associated with high complication rates, primarily because of the technical challenges that are related to small ventricles and a large body habitus. In this study, the authors report the benefits of a standardized protocol for CSF shunting in patients with IIH as relates to shunt revisions.

METHODS This was a retrospective study of consecutive patients with IIH who had undergone primary insertion of a CSF shunt between January 2014 and December 2020 at the authors’ hospital. In July 2019, they implemented a surgical protocol for shunting in IIH. This protocol recommended IIH shunt insertion by neurosurgeons with expertise in CSF disorders, a frontal ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt with an adjustable gravitational valve and integrated intracranial pressure monitoring device, frameless stereotactic insertion of the ventricular catheter, and laparoscopic insertion of the peritoneal catheter. Thirty-day revision rates before and after implementation of the protocol were compared in order to assess the impact of standardizing shunting for IIH on shunt complications.

RESULTS The 81 patients included in the study were predominantly female (93%), with a mean age of 31 years at primary surgery and mean body mass index (BMI) of 37 kg/m2. Forty-five patients underwent primary surgery prior to implementation of the protocol and 36 patients after. Overall, 12 (15%) of 81 patients needed CSF shunt revision in the first 30 days, 10 before and 2 after introduction of the protocol. This represented a significant reduction in the early revision rate from 22% to 6% after the protocol (p = 0.036). The most common cause of shunt revision for the whole cohort was migration or misplacement of the peritoneal catheter, occurring in 6 of the 12 patients. Patients with a higher BMI were significantly more likely to have a shunt revision within 30 days (p = 0.022).

CONCLUSIONS The Birmingham standardized IIH shunt protocol resulted in a significant reduction in revisions within 30 days of primary shunt surgery in patients with IIH. The authors recommend standardization for shunting in IIH as a method for improving surgical outcomes. They support the notion of subspecialization for IIH shunts, the use of a frontal VP shunt with sophisticated technology, and laparoscopic insertion of the peritoneal end. https:

Transverse sinus stenting without surgical repair in idiopathic CSF rhinorrhea associated with transverse sinus stenoses

J Neurosurg 136:1745–1751, 2022

Based on their clinical and radiological patterns, idiopathic CSF rhinorrhea and idiopathic intracranial hypertension can represent different clinical expressions of the same underlying pathological process. Transverse sinus stenoses are associated with both diseases, resulting in eventual restriction of the venous CSF outflow pathway. While venous sinus stenting has emerged as a promising treatment for idiopathic intracranial hypertension, its efficiency on idiopathic CSF leaks has not been very well addressed in the literature so far. The purpose of this study was to report the results of transverse sinus stenting in patients with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea associated with transverse sinus stenoses.

METHODS From a prospectively collected database, the authors retrospectively collected the clinical and radiological features of the patients with spontaneous CSF leakage who were treated with venous sinus stenting.

RESULTS Five female patients were included in this study. Transverse sinus stenoses were present in all patients, and other radiological signs of idiopathic intracranial hypertension were present in 4 patients. The median transstenotic pressure gradient was 6.5 mm Hg (range 3–9 mm Hg). Venous stenting resulted in the disappearance of the leak in 4 patients with no recurrence and no subsequent meningitis during the follow-up (median 12 months, range 6–63 months).

CONCLUSIONS According to the authors’ results, venous sinus stenting may result in the disappearance of the leak in many cases of idiopathic CSF rhinorrhea. Larger comparative studies are needed to assess the efficiency and safety of venous stenting as a first-line approach in patients with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea associated with transverse sinus stenoses.

Surgical management and outcomes in spinal intradural arachnoid cysts

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1217–1228

Evaluation of the presentation and outcomes of different surgical treatment approaches for spinal intradural arachnoid cysts (SIAC).

Methods Cases were identified from electronic records of two major neurosurgical centres in London over the last 10 years (October 2009–October 2019) that have been surgically treated in both institutions. Clinical findings, surgical technique, and recurrence by procedure were statistically analysed. Statistical analysis was performed with STATA 13.1 Software.

Results A total of 42 patients with SIAC were identified for this study with a mean age at the time of surgery of 53.6 years and a male:female ratio of 8:13. There were 31 patients with primary SIACs and 11 with secondary SIACs. The most common presenting symptom was paraesthesia (n = 27). The most common location of the cyst was in the thoracic region (n = 33). Syrinx was present in 26.2% of SIACs (n = 11). Resection was associated with significantly better postoperative pain compared to other surgical techniques (p = 0.01), significantly poorer postoperative urinary function (p = 0.029), and lower rates of sensory recovery in patients who presented preoperatively with sensory deficit (p = 0.041). No significant difference was seen in symptomatic outcomes between patients with primary and secondary SIACs.

Conclusion Resection and drainage are both effective methods of managing SIACs. In this observational study, resection was associated with significantly reduced pain postoperatively when compared with drainage, however also with significantly less improvement in postoperative urinary function. Therefore, resection should be the gold standard management option for SIACs, with drainage as an option where resection is unsafe, and drainage should also be considered in patients presenting with urinary dysfunction.

Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Drainage Increases With Gravity and Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure Pulsations: Benchtop Model

Neurosurgery 89:1141–1147, 2021

There have been few improvements in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt technology since John Holter introduced the silicon valve, with overdrainage remaining a major source of complications.

OBJECTIVE: To better understand why valves are afflicted by supra-normal CSF flow rates. We present in Vitro benchtop analyses of flow through a differential pressure valve under simulated physiological conditions.

METHODS: The pseudo-ventricle benchtop valve testing platform that comprises a rigid pseudo-ventricle, compliance chamber, pulsation generator, and pressure sensors was used to measure flow rates through a differential pressure shunt valve under the following simulated physiological conditions: orientation (horizontal/vertical), compliance (low/medium/high), and pulsation generator force (low/medium/high).

RESULTS: Our data show that pulse pressures are faithfully transmitted from the ventricle to the valve, that lower compliance and higher pulse generator forces lead to higher pulse pressures in the pseudo-ventricle, and that both gravity and higher pulse pressure lead to higher flow rates. The presence of a valve mitigates but does not eliminate these higher flow rates.

CONCLUSION: Shunt valves are prone to gravity-dependent overdrainage, which has motivated the development of gravitational valves and antisiphon devices. This study shows that overdrainage is not limited to the vertical position but that pulse pressures that simulate rhythmic (eg, cardiac) and provoked (eg, Valsalva) physiological CSF pulsations increase outflow in both the horizontal and vertical positions and are dependent on compliance. A deeper understanding of the physiological parameters that affect intracranial pressure and flow through shunt systems is prerequisite to the development of novel valves.

Cerebrospinal fluid dynamics in idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:3353–3368

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a rare disease of unknown aetiology related possibly to disturbed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics and characterised by elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) causing optic nerve atrophy if not timely treated. We studied CSF dynamics of the IIH patients based on the available literature and our well-defined cohort.

Method A literature review was performed from PubMed between 1980 and 2020 in compliance with the PRISMA guideline. Our study includes 59 patients with clinical, demographical, neuro-ophthalmological, radiological, outcome data, and lumbar CSF pressure measurements for suspicion of IIH; 39 patients had verified IIH while 20 patients did not according to Friedman’s criteria, hence referred to as symptomatic controls.

Results The literature review yielded 19 suitable studies; 452 IIH patients and 264 controls had undergone intraventricular or lumbar CSF pressure measurements. In our study, the mean CSF pressure, pulse amplitudes, power of respiratory waves (RESP), and the pressure constant (P0) were higher in IIH than symptomatic controls (p < 0.01). The mean CSF pressure was higher in IIH patients with psychiatric comorbidity than without (p < 0.05). In IIH patients without acetazolamide treatment, the RAP index and power of slow waves were also higher (p < 0.05). IIH patients with excess CSF around the optic nerves had lower relative pulse pressure coefficient (RPPC) and RESP than those without (p < 0.05).

Conclusions Our literature review revealed increased CSF pressure, resistance to CSF outflow and sagittal sinus pressure (SSP) as key findings in IIH. Our study confirmed significantly higher lumbar CSF pressure and increased CSF pressure waves and RAP index in IIH when excluding patients with acetazolamide treatment. In overall, the findings reflect decreased craniospinal compliance and potentially depleted cerebral autoregulation resulting from the increased CSF pressure in IIH. The increased slow waves in patients without acetazolamide may indicate issues in autoregulation, while increased P0 could reflect the increased SSP.



Permanent Cerebrospinal Fluid Diversion in Adults With Posterior Fossa Tumors: Incidence and Predictors


Neurosurgery 89:987–996, 2021

Posterior fossa tumors (PFTs) can cause hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can persist despite resection of PFTs in a subset of patients requiring permanent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion. Characteristics of this patient subset are not well defined.

OBJECTIVE: To define preoperative and postoperative variables that predict the need for postoperative CSF diversion in adult patients with PFTs.

METHODS: We surveyed the CNS (Central Nervous System) Tumor Outcomes Registry at Emory (CTORE) for patients who underwent PFT resection at 3 tertiary-care centers between 2006 and 2019. Demographic, radiographic, perioperative, and dispositional data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate models.

RESULTS:We included 617 patients undergoing PFT resection for intra-axial (57%) or extraaxial (43%) lesions. Gross total resection was achieved in 62% of resections. Approximately 13% of patients required permanent CSF diversion/shunting. Only 31.5% of patients who required pre- or intraop external ventricular drain (EVD) placement needed permanent CSF diversion. On logistic regression, size, transependymal flow, use of perioperative EVD, postoperative intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and surgical complications were predictors of permanent CSF diversion. Preoperative tumor size was only independent predictor of postoperative shunting in patients with subtotal resection. In patients with intra-axial tumors, transependymal flow (P = .014), postoperative IVH (P = .001), surgical complications (P = .013), and extent of resection (P = .03) predicted need for shunting. In extra-axial tumors, surgical complications were the major predictor (P = .022).

CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that presence of preoperative hydrocephalus in patients with PFT does not necessarily entail the need for permanent CSF diversion. We report the major predictive factors for needing permanent CSF diversion.

Management of Chiari type I malformation: a retrospective analysis of a series of 91 children treated surgically

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:3065–3073

The diagnosis of Chiari I malformation, its symptomatology, and the results of its surgical management are still discussed. We report a pediatric series of CMI without associated skull base malformations or cerebellar growth anomalies operated between 2001 and 2018.

Material and methods Ninety-one children out of 146 surgically treated cases have been included in the study. Age at surgery ranged from 5 months to 17 years clinical data, and complementary examinations leading to the surgical indication have been analyzed together with the surgical outcomes. The average follow-up duration was of 4 years. The occipito-cervical decompression with duraplasty without opening the arachnoid was the procedure of election. Three quarters of patients presented with headaches, 12% with cerebellar syndrome, 13% with vertigo, 26% with nausea or vomiting, 24% with sensorimotor deficits, 11% with cranial nerve deficits, and 29% with other symptoms. Eighteen percent of patients suffered from scoliosis, 47% had an associated syrinx and 16% a ventricular dilation.

Results After the treatment, the clinical symptomatology improved in about three-quarters of the patients: headache (69.4%), nausea or vomiting (66.7%), sensorimotor deficits (55.6%), and other symptoms (78.3%). Syringomyelic cavities diminished partially in size or disappeared in 58.3% of patients, remained stable in 29.2%, and worsened in 12.5%. Only one-third of children with preoperative scoliosis benefited from the surgical treatment. No clinical signs or symptoms were found to be reliable predictors of surgical success, neither the extent of the cerebellar tonsil descent.

Conclusion Occipito-cervical decompression allows to improve the clinical condition in the majority of children with symptomatic CMI in the absence of associated cervico-spinal junction alterations, craniosynostosis, or cerebellar growth anomalies. No clinical signs or symptoms neither radiological criterion appear to be a specific finding for the surgical indication.

Posterior cranial fossa and cervical spine morphometric abnormalities in symptomatic Chiari type 0 and Chiari type 1 malformation patients with and without syringomyelia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:3051–3064

To better understand how anatomical features of Chiari malformation type 0 (CM0) result in the manifestation of Chiari malformation type 1 (CM1) signs and symptoms, we conducted a morphometric study of the posterior cranial fossa (PCF) and cervical canal in patients with CM1 and CM0.

Methods This retrospective study had a STROBE design and included 120 adult patients with MRI evidence of a small PCF (SPCF), typical clinical symptoms of CM1, and a diagnosis of CM1, CM0, or SPCF-TH0-only (SPCF with cerebellar ectopia less than 2 mm and without syringomyelia). Patients were divided by MRI findings into 4 groups: SPCF-TH0-only, SPCF-TH0-syr (CM0 with SPCF and syringomyelia), SPCF-CM1-only (SPCF with cerebellar ectopia 5 mm or more without syringomyelia), and SPCF-CM1-syr (CM1 with syringomyelia). Neurological examination data and MRI parameters were analyzed.

Results All patient cohorts had morphometric evidence of a small, flattened, and overcrowded PCF. The PCF phenotype of the SPCF-TH0-only group differed from that of other CM cohorts in that the length of clivus and supraocciput and the height of the PF were longer, the upper CSF spaces of PCF were taller, and the area of the foramen magnum was smaller. The SPCF-TH0 groups had a more significant narrowing of the superior cervical canal and a smaller decrease in PCF height than the SPCF-CM1 groups.

Conclusions Patients with SPCF-TH0 with and without syringomyelia developed Chiari 1 symptoms and signs. Patients with SPCF-TH0-syr (Chiari 0) had more constriction of their CSF pathways in and around the foramen magnum than patients with SPCF-TH0-only.

Cerebrospinal Fluid-Venous Fistulas: A Systematic Review and Examination of Individual Patient Data

Neurosurgery 88:931–941, 2021

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is usually caused by a spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. CSF-venous fistula is an underdiagnosed cause of spinal CSF leak, as it is challenging to identify on myelography.

OBJECTIVE: To review existing literature to summarize common presentations, diagnostic imaging modalities, and current treatment strategies for CSF-venous fistulas.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic review using PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science databases to identify studies discussing CSF-venous fistulas. Titles and abstracts were screened. Studies meeting prespecified inclusion criteria were reviewed in full.

RESULTS: Of 180 articles identified, 16 articles met inclusion criteria. Individual patient data was acquired from 7 studies reporting on 18 patients. CSF-venous fistula most frequently presented as positional headache. Digital subtraction myelography provided greatest detection of CSF-venous fistula in the lateral decubitus position and detected CSF-venous fistula in all individual patient cases. Dynamic computed tomography (CT) myelogram enabled detection and differentiation of CSF-venous fistulas from low-flow epidural leaks. Themajority of fistulaswere in the thoracic spine and slightlymore common on the right. Epidural blood patch (EBP) provided temporary or no relief in all individual patients. Resolution or improvement of clinical symptoms and radiologic normalization were observed in all surgically treated patients.

CONCLUSION: Although rare, CSF-venous fistula is an important cause of spinal CSF leak contributing to SIH. Dynamic CT myelogram and digital subtraction myelography, particularly in the lateral decubitus position, are the most accurate and effective diagnostic imaging modalities. EBPs often provide only transient relief, while surgical management is preferred.

Free-hand stereotactic ventricular catheter insertion technique based on radio-anatomical landmarks

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1097–1102

Accurate ventricular catheter (VC) placement plays an important role in reducing the risk of ventriculoperitoneal shunt failure. Free-hand VC insertion is associated with a significant misplacement rate. Consequently, several expensive alternative methods that are unfortunately not available worldwide have been used. To overcome these limitations, we developed a simple surgical technique based on radio-anatomical landmarks aimed at reducing VC’s misplacements.

Method We reproduce the preoperative imaging on the patient’s head using common anatomical landmarks. This allows defining stereotactic VC coordinates to be followed during the surgical procedure.

Conclusion This simple and cost-effective method improves VC insertion accuracy.

Cerebrospinal fluid area and syringogenesis in Chiari malformation type I

J Neurosurg 134:825–830, 2021

Syringogenesis in Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is thought to occur secondary to impaction of the cerebellar tonsils within the foramen magnum (FM). However, the correlation between the CSF area and syringogenesis has yet to be elucidated. The authors sought to determine whether the diminution in subarachnoid space is associated with syringogenesis. Further, the authors sought to determine if syrinx resolution was associated with the degree of expansion of subarachnoid spaces after surgery.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression for CM-I from 2004 to 2016 at the University of Virginia Health System. The subarachnoid spaces at the FM and at the level of the most severe stenosis were measured before and after surgery by manual delineation of the canal and neural tissue area on MRI and verified through automated CSF intensity measurements. Imaging and clinical outcomes were then compared.

RESULTS Of 68 patients, 26 had a syrinx at presentation. Syrinx patients had significantly less subarachnoid space at the FM (13% vs 19%, p = 0.0070) compared to those without syrinx. Following matching based on degree of tonsillar herniation and age, the subarachnoid space was significantly smaller in patients with a syrinx (12% vs 19%, p = 0.0015). Syrinx resolution was associated with an increase in patients’ subarachnoid space after surgery compared with those patients without resolution (23% vs 10%, p = 0.0323).

CONCLUSIONS Syrinx development in CM-I patients is correlated with the degree to which the subarachnoid CSF spaces are diminished at the cranial outlet. Successful syrinx reduction is associated with the degree to which the subarachnoid spaces are increased following surgery.

Histological and intraoperative evaluations of the arachnoid in patients with Chiari I malformation

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:219–225

Arachnoid dissection for decompression of Chiari I malformation is controversial. Whether arachnoid changes have an impact on the clinical course is not established. This paper documents the histological spectrum of arachnoid changes and evaluates correlations with preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative data.

Method Arachnoid samples of 162 consecutive foramen magnum decompressions from 2006 to 2016 were studied. Arachnoid thickness and degrees of fibrosis and cellularity were determined with the examiner blinded for clinical data. Based on 145 first time decompressions, a histological classification for arachnoid features was developed.

Results The arachnoid was thicker in secondary compared with primary decompressions (176.1 ± 158.2 μm vs. 35.9 ± 43.5 μm; p = 0.0026) and in adults compared to children (37.3 ± 45.3 μm vs. 21.8 ± 7.7 μm; p = 0.0007). In primary decompressions, arachnoid thickness, degrees of fibrosis, and cellularity followed a normal distribution with all features shifted significantly to higher grades in secondary decompressions. The histological classification correlatedwith the preoperative severity of gait ataxia, motor weakness, and sensory deficits, whereas it had no predictive power for postoperative short- or long-term results. By comparison, the intraoperative evaluation of arachnoid changes accounting for relationships between arachnoid and surrounding tissues showed higher correlations with preoperative symptoms and had significant predictive power for postoperative short- and long-term results.

Conclusions Histological changes of the arachnoid correlate with preoperative symptoms. Relationships between arachnoid and surrounding tissues show even higher correlations with predictive power for short- and long-term outcomes. These findings suggest a pathophysiological role for the arachnoid in Chiari I malformation.

Syringomyelia Resolution Following Chiari Surgery: A Novel Scale for Communication and Research

Neurosurgery 88( 1) 2021: 131–139

The pathophysiological connection between Chiari malformation and syringomyelia is accepted. Debate remains, however, how can we best define changes in syringomyelia following surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To introduce a grading system focusing on syrinx reduction based on routinely and reproducible radiological information, and provide a suggestion of the application of this scale for prediction of patient’s prognoses.

METHODS: Data from 48 patients with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia were compiled. We calculated syrinx cross-sectional area by approximating an ellipse in the largest axial plane. We compared the percentage of reduction or enlargement following surgery. The percentage change was grouped into four grades: Grade 0 = Increasing size, grade I ≤ 50% reduction, grade II = 50% to 90% reduction, grade III ≥ 90% reduction.

RESULTS: A total of 89.6% of patients had syrinx improvement after surgery. A total of 5 patients were grade 0, 14 were grade I, 20 patients were grade II, and 9 patients met criteria for grade III. The mean postoperative syrinx area was 24.1 mm2 (0-169 mm2) with a mean syrinx reduction of 62.7%.

CONCLUSION: Radiological improvement of syringomyelia can be mathematically defined and standardized to assist in communication in outcome-based trials. Radiological resolution is expected most patients.

Changes in intracranial pressure and pulse wave amplitude during postural shifts

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2983–2989

Monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP) and ICP pulse wave amplitude (PWA) is an integrated part of neurosurgery. An increase in ICP usually leads to an increase in PWA. These findings have yet to be replicated during the positional shift from supine to upright, where we only know that ICP decreases. Our main aim is to clarify whether the positional shift also results in a change in pulse wave amplitude.

Method Our database was retrospectively reviewed for subjects having had a standardized investigation of positional ICP. In all subjects, mean ICP and PWA were determined with both an automatic and a manual method and compared using Student’s t test. Finally, ICP and PWA were tested for correlation in both in supine and upright position.

Results The study included 29 subjects. A significant change in ICP (Δ14.1 mmHg, p < 0.01) and no significant change in PWA (Δ0.4 mmHg, p = 0.06) were found. Furthermore, a linear correlation between ICP and PWA was found in both supine and upright positions (p < 0.01).

Conclusions We found that during the positional shift from supine to upright, ICP is reduced while PWA remains unaffected. This indicates that the pressure-volume curve is shifted downward according to a hydrostatic pressure offset, while the slope of the curve does not change. In addition, the correlation between ICP and PWA in both supine and upright position validates the previous research on the matter.

Ultra-low-pressure hydrocephalic state in NPH: benefits of therapeutic siphoning with adjustable antigravity valves

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2967–2974

Idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a condition of the elderly treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP) insertion. A subset of NPH patients respond only temporarily to shunt insertion despite low valve opening pressure. This study aims to describe our experience of patients who benefit from further CSF drainage by adding adjustable antigravity valves and draining CSF at ultra-low pressure.

Methods Single-centre retrospective case series of patients undergoing shunt valve revision from an adjustable differential pressure valve with fixed antigravity unit to a system incorporating an adjustable gravitational valve (Miethke proSA). Patients were screened from a database of NPH patients undergoing CSF diversion over 10 consecutive years (April 2008– April 2018). Clinical records were retrospectively reviewed for interventions and clinical outcomes.

Results Nineteen (10F:9M) patients underwent elective VP shunt revision to a system incorporating an adjustable gravitational valve. Mean age 77.1 ± 7.1 years (mean ± SD). Eleven patients (58%) showed significant improvement in walking speed following shunt revision. Fourteen patients/carers (74%) reported subjective improvements in symptoms following shunt revision.

Conclusions Patients presenting symptoms relapse following VP shunting may represent a group of patients with ultra-low pressure hydrocephalus, for whom further CSF drainage may lead to an improvement in symptoms. These cases may benefit from shunt revision with an adjustable gravitational valve, adjustment of which can lead to controlled siphoning of CSF and drain CSF despite ultra-low CSF pressure.

Diagnostic Accuracy of Non-Invasive Thermal Evaluation of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Flow in Shunt Malfunction

Neurosurgery 87:939–948, 2020

Thermal flow evaluation (TFE) is a non-invasive method to assess ventriculoperitoneal shunt function. Flow detected by TFE is a negative predictor of the need for revision surgery. Further optimization of testing protocols, evaluation in multiple centers, and integration with clinical and imaging impressions prompted the current study.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the diagnostic accuracy of 2 TFE protocols, with micropumper (TFE+MP) or without (TFE-only), to neuro-imaging in patients emergently presenting with symptoms concerning for shunt malfunction.

METHODS: We performed a prospective multicenter operator-blinded trial of a consecutive series of patients who underwent evaluation for shunt malfunction. TFE was performed, and preimaging clinician impressions and imaging results were recorded. The primary outcome was shunt obstruction requiring neurosurgical revision within 7 d. Noninferiority of the sensitivity of TFE vs neuro-imaging for detecting shunt obstruction was tested using a prospectively determined a priori margin of −2.5%.

RESULTS: We enrolled 406 patients at 10 centers. Of these, 68/348 (20%) evaluated with TFE+MP and 30/215 (14%) with TFE-only had shunt obstruction. The sensitivity for detecting obstruction was 100% (95% CI: 88%-100%) for TFE-only, 90% (95% CI: 80%-96%) for TFE+MP, 76% (95% CI: 65%-86%) for imaging in TFE+MP cohort, and 77%(95% CI: 58%- 90%) for imaging in the TFE-only cohort. Difference in sensitivities between TFE methods and imaging did not exceed the non-inferiority margin.

CONCLUSION: TFE is non-inferior to imaging in ruling out shunt malfunction and may help avoid imaging and other steps. For this purpose, TFE only is favored over TFE+MP.

In vitro performance of six combinations of adjustable differential pressure valves and fixed anti-siphon devices with and without vertical motion

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2421–2430

Adjustable differential pressure (DP) valves in combination with fixed anti-siphon devices are currently a popular combination in counteracting the effects of cerebrospinal fluid overdrainage following implantation of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt system. The study examined the flowperformance of three DP valves in successive combination with an anti-siphon device in an in vitro shunt laboratory with and without vertical motion.

Methods We analyzed three DP valves (Codman Hakim Medos programmable valve [HM], Codman CertasPlus [CP], and Miethke proGAV [PG], in combination with either Codman SiphonGuard [SG] or Miethke ShuntAssistant [SA]), resulting in the evaluation of six different valve combinations. Defined DP conditions between 4 and 40 cmH2O within a simulated shunt system were generated and the specific flow characteristics were measured. In addition, combinations with SA, which is a gravitydependent valve, were measured in defined spatial positions (90°, 60°). All device combinations were tested during vertical motion with movement frequencies of 2, 3, and 4 Hz.

Results All valve combinations effectively counteracted the siphon effect in relation to the chosen DP. Angulation-related flow changes were similar in the three combinations of DP valve and SA in the 60° and 90° position. In CP-SA and PG-SA, repeated vertical movement at 2, 3, and 4 Hz led to significant increase in flow, whereas in HM-SA, constant increase was seen at 4 Hz only (flow change at 4Hz, DP 40 cm H2O: PG (opening pressure 4 cm H2O) 90°: 0.95 ml/min, 60°: 0.71 ml/min; HM (opening pressure 4 cmH2O) 90°: 0.66 ml/min, 60°: 0.41ml/min; CP (PL 2) 90°: 0.94ml/min, 60°: 0.79 ml/min; p < 0.01); however, HMSA showed relevant motion-induced flow already at low DPs (0.85 ml/min, DP 4 cm H2O). In combinations of DP valve with SG, increase of flow was far less pronounced and even led to significant reduction of flow in certain constellations. Maximum overall flow increase was 0.46 ± 0.04ml/min with aHM(opening pressure 12 cm H2O) at 2 Hz and a DP of 10 cmH2O, whereas maximum flow decrease was 1.12 ± 0.08 with a PG (opening pressure 4 cm H2O) at 3 Hz and a DP of 10 cmH2O.

Conclusion In an experimental setup, all valve combinations effectively counteracted the siphon effect in the vertical position according to their added resistance. Motion-induced increased flow was consistently demonstrated in combinations of DP valve and SA. The combination of HM and SA especially showed relevant motion-induced flow already at low DPs. In combinations of DP and SG, the pattern of the motion induced flow was more inconsistent and motion even led to significant flow reduction, predominantly at DPs of 10 and 20 cmH2O.


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