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Intracerebral abscess is a life-threatening condition for which there are no current, widely accepted neurosurgical management guidelines. The purpose of this study was to investigate Canadian practice patterns for the medical and surgical management of primary, recurrent, and multiple intracerebral abscesses.
A self-administered, cross-sectional, electronic survey was distributed to active staff and resident members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative. Responses between subgroups were analyzed using the Chi-square test.
In total, 101 respondents (57.7%) completed the survey. The majority (60.0%) were staff neurosurgeons working in an academic, adult care setting (80%). We identified a consensus that abscesses >2.5 cm in diameter should be considered for surgical intervention. The majority of respondents were in favor of excising an intracerebral abscess over performing aspiration if located superficially in non-eloquent cortex (60.4%), located in the posterior fossa (65.4%), or causing mass effect leading to herniation (75.3%). The majority of respondents were in favor of reoperation for recurrent abscesses if measuring greater than 2.5 cm, associated with progressive neurological deterioration, the index operation was an aspiration and did not include resection of the abscess capsule, and if the recurrence occurred despite prior surgery combined with maximal antibiotic therapy. There was no consensus on the use of topical intraoperative antibiotics.
This survey demonstrated heterogeneity in the medical and surgical management of primary, recurrent, and multiple brain abscesses among Canadian neurosurgery attending staff and residents.1
Non-penetrating head and neck trauma is associated with extracranial traumatic vertebral artery injury (eTVAI) in approximately 1–2% of cases. Most patients are initially asymptomatic but have an increased risk for delayed stroke and mortality. Limited evidence is available to guide the management of asymptomatic eTVAI. As such, we sought to investigate national practice patterns regarding screening, treatment, and follow-up domains.
A cross-sectional, electronic survey was distributed to members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and Canadian Spine Society. We presented two cases of asymptomatic eTVAI, stratified by injury mechanism, fracture type, and angiographic findings. Screening questions were answered prior to presentation of angiographic findings. Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
One hundred-eight of 232 (46%) participants, representing 20 academic institutions, completed the survey. Case 1: 78% of respondents would screen for eTVAI with computed topography angiography (CTA) (97%), immediately (88%). The majority of respondents (97%) would treat with aspirin (89%) for 3–6 months (46%). Respondents would follow up clinically (89%) or radiographically (75%), every 1–3 months. Case 2: 73% of respondents would screen with CTA (96%), immediately (88%). Most respondents (94%) would treat with aspirin (50%) for 3–6 months (35%). Thirty-six percent of respondents would utilize endovascular therapy. Respondents would follow up clinically (97%) or radiographically (89%), every 1–3 months.
This survey of Canadian practice patterns highlights consistency in the approach to screening, treatment, and follow-up of asymptomatic eTVAI. These findings are relevant to neurosurgeons, spinal surgeons, stroke neurologists, and neuro-interventionalists.
Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is little high-quality evidence available to guide the management of DCI. The Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC) is comprised of resident physicians who are positioned to capture national, multi-site data. The objective of this study was to evaluate practice patterns of Canadian physicians regarding the management of aSAH and DCI.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of Canadian neurosurgeons, intensivists, and neurologists who manage aSAH. A 19-question electronic survey (Survey Monkey) was developed and validated by the CNRC following a DCI-related literature review (PubMed, Embase). The survey was distributed to members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society and to Canadian members of the Neurocritical Care Society. Responses were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
The response rate was 129/340 (38%). Agreement among respondents was limited to the need for intensive care unit admission, use of clinical and radiographic monitoring, and prophylaxis for the prevention of DCI. Several inconsistencies were identified. Indications for starting hyperdynamic therapy varied. There was discrepancy in the proportion of patients who felt to require IV milrinone, IA vasodilators, or physical angioplasty for treatment of DCI. Most respondents reported their facility does not utilize a standardized definition for DCI.
DCI is an important clinical entity for which no homogeneity and standardization exists in management among Canadian practitioners. The CNRC calls for the development of national standards in the definition, identification, and treatment of DCI.