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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.
Decompressive craniectomy (DC) after devastating brain injury (DBI) may influence the manner in which patients die, having implications for end-of-life care and organ donation. We performed a retrospective review of deaths following a non-traumatic DBI between 2008 and 2012. 160 patients were reviewed; 26 were treated with DC and 134 received standard care. There was no relationship between DC and mechanism of death, (OR 1.18, 95% CI 0.44-3.17). Prospective studies are required to confirm these preliminary finding. DC studies should report the mechanism of death.
Objective: The purpose of this article is to provide a systematic review of the evidence supporting the use of milrinone for the management of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Design: Primary outcomes were functional neurological status and the incidence of cerebral infarction. Search strategies adapted to the different databases were developed by a professional librarian. Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library database, Web of Science, SCOPUS, BIOSIS, Global Health, Health Star, Open SIGLE, Google Scholar and the New York Academy of Medicine Gray Literature were searched as well as clinical trials databases and the proceedings of several scientific meetings. Quality of the evidence for these outcomes across studies was adjudicated using the GRADE Working Group criteria. Results: The search resulted in 284 citations after elimination of duplicates. Of those 9 conference proceedings and 15 studies met inclusion criteria and consisted of case reports, case series and two comparative studies: one non-randomized study with physiological outcomes only and a case series with historical controls. There was considerable variation in dosing and in co-interventions and no case control or randomized controlled studies were found. Conclusion: There is currently only very low quality evidence to support the use of milrinone to improve important outcomes in patients with delayed cerebral ischemia secondary to subarachnoid hemorrhage. Further research is needed to clarify the value and risks of this medication in patients with SAH.
Our goal was to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of intravenous lidocaine in pediatrics for status epilepticus (SE) and refractory status epilepticus (RSE) to determine its impact on seizure control.
All articles from MEDLINE, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Global Health, HealthStar, Scopus, Cochrane Library, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (inception to November 2014), and gray literature were searched. The strength of evidence was adjudicated using both the Oxford and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation methodologies by two independent reviewers.
Overall, 20 original studies were identified, with 19 manuscripts and one meeting abstract. Two hundred and thirty-five pediatric patients were treated for 252 episodes of SE/RSE. Patients had varying numbers of antiepileptic drugs (two to eight) on board before lidocaine therapy. During 20 of the 252 (7.9%) episodes of SE/RSE, phenytoin was on board. The dose regimen of lidocaine varied, with some using bolus dosing alone; others used a combination of bolus and infusion therapy. Overall, 60.0% of seizures responded to lidocaine, with complete cessation and greater than 50% reduction seen in 57.6% and 12.3%, respectively. Patient outcomes were sparingly reported.
There currently exists Oxford level 2b, Grading of Recommendations Assessment Developement, and Evaluation C evidence to support the consideration of lidocaine for SE and RSE in the pediatric population. Further prospective studies of lidocaine administration in this setting are warranted.
Background: Our goal was to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of therapeutic hypothermia for refractory status epilepticus (RSE) and its impact on seizure control. Methods: All articles from MEDLINE, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Global Health, HealthStar, Scopus, Cochrane Library, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (inception to May 2014), reference lists of relevant articles, and gray literature were searched. The strength of evidence was adjudicated by two independent reviewers, using both the Oxford and GRADE methodology. Results: Overall, 13 studies were identified, with 10 manuscripts and 3 meeting abstracts. A total of 40 patients were treated. The common target temperature was 33 degrees Celsius, sustained for a median 48 hours. Patients displayed a 62.5%, 15% and 22.5% rate of seizure cessation, seizure reduction, and failure of treatment respectively. External cooling was utilized in the majority of cases. Deep venous thrombosis, coagulopathy and infections were the commonly reported complications. Two ongoing clinical trials were identified. Conclusions: Oxford level 4, GRADE D evidence exists to support the use of therapeutic hypothermia to control seizures in RSE. Further prospective study is warranted.
Background: Our goal was to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of modern inhalational anesthetic agents for refractory status epilepticus and their impact on seizure control. Methods: All articles from MEDLINE, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Global Health, HealthStar, Scopus, Cochrane Library, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (inception to March 2014), reference lists of relevant articles, and gray literature were searched. The strength of evidence was adjudicated using both the Oxford and Grading of Recommendation Assessment Development and Education methodology by two independent reviewers. Results: Overall, 19 studies were identified, with 16 manuscripts and 3 meeting abstracts. A total of 46 patients were treated. Adult (n=28) and pediatric patients (n=18) displayed 92.9% and 94.4% seizure control with treatment, respectively. Isoflurane was used in the majority of cases. Hypotension was the only complication described. Conclusions: Oxford level 4, Grading of Recommendation Assessment Development and Education D evidence exists to support the use of isoflurane in refractory status epilepticus to obtain burst suppression. Insufficient data exist to comment on the efficacy of desflurane and xenon at this time.
Administering analgesics, sedatives and antipsychotics is challenging in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We reviewed this literature and our current practice to better inform the critical care practitioner and to identify gaps for future research. We electronically searched observational, intervention and outcome studies addressing sedation, analgesia and delirium in the NICU, and their bibliographies. Practice patterns were assessed in three critical care units with specialized neurological care in Montreal. Bedside pain assessment tools are psychometrically validated in the neuro-critically ill but sedation and delirium tools are not. Rigorous pain and sedation assessments appear feasible; delirium screening has not been tested. Publications addressing outcomes and responses to pharmacologic treatment lack consistency, rigor or both. In daily practice, pharmacologic management varies greatly. Clearly, little information exists on analgesia, sedation and delirium in the NICU. Systematic evaluation of pain improves outcome. No evidence-based therapeutic recommendations can be proffered.
Though various textbooks describe clinical manoeuvres that help detect subtle motor deficits, their sensitivity, specificity and predictive values have not been determined. We investigated the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of various manoeuvres in order to determine the most sensitive and reliable test or combination thereof.
Straight arm raising (Barré), pronator drift, Mingazzini’s manoeuvre, finger tap, forearm roll, segmental strength and deep tendon reflexes were tested in 170 patients with (86) and without (84) a proven lesion in the motor areas confirmed by computed tomography.
Segmental motor strength had good specificity (97.5%) but poor sensitivity (38.9%) and negative predictive value (NPV) (58.7%). The forearm roll had a similar profile. Finger tap had a sensitivity of 73.3% and a specificity of 87.5%. Barré and pronator testing had a sensitivity and specificity of 92.2% and 90.0% respectively. Hyperreflexia had a sensitivity of 68.9% and a specificity of 87.5%. An abnormality of pronator, reflexes or finger tap had a sensitivity of 97%, and when these three tests were positive, specificity was 97%. When all six tests were positive, the positive predictive value was 100%, when all six tests were negative the NPV was 100%.
The detailed segmental examination has very good specificity for detecting motor deficits, but the sensitivity and NPV are unacceptably low. Pronator drift with finger tap and reflexes is the most reliable and time-effective combination of tests for the detection of subtle motor lesions, and could replace the segmental motor examination as a screening for motor lesions.
The most common stroke subtype among atrial fibrillation (AF) patients not receiving anticoagulants is cardioembolic. In the SPORTIF III and V trials, the oral direct thrombin inhibitor ximelagatran was as effective as warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular AF. We assessed any differential effect of warfarin versus ximelagatran on the risk and outcome of cardioembolic and noncardioembolic stroke.
7329 patients with AF and ≥1 risk factors for stroke were randomized to treatment with warfarin (target international normalized ratio 2.0-3.0) or fixed-dose ximelagatran. Strokes were classified into specific subtypes. Therapeutic effect of warfarin and ximelagatran, adverse events, and stroke outcomes were assessed according to stroke subtype.
The annual stroke rate was low for both cardioembolic (ximelagatran, 0.39%; warfarin, 0.47%) and noncardioembolic stroke (ximelagatran, 0.57%; warfarin, 0.37%). In ischemic strokes, 33.9% (ximelagatran) and 34.3% (warfarin) had strokes of presumed cardioembolic origin. When fatal stroke, disabling stroke, myocardial infarction, and death from any cause were combined as poor outcome, patients with cardioembolic strokes had the highest rate of poor outcome (40%) but this was non- significant.
In SPORTIF III and V the efficacy of warfarin and ximelagatran were similar for prevention of cardioembolic and noncardioembolic strokes. Overall outcome tended to be worse following cardioembolic stroke. Ximelagatran has been withdrawn from the market due to hepatic side effects, but similar compounds are presently being studied.
Locked-in syndrome (LIS) is the combination of quadriplegia and anarthria (inability to speak), with the preservation of consciousness. The majority of cases are caused by basilar artery occlusion leading to brainstem infarction in the ventral pons, yet numerous other etiologies have been described. The diagnosis of LIS is completely dependent on the physician's ability to know that these manifestations originate in the brainstem and the posterior circulation that supplies it. This knowledge hinges on the ability of the examining physician to conduct a rapid, yet appropriately thorough neurologic examination. With recent advances in interventional neuroradiology leading to improved patient outcomes, LIS has evolved into a critical, time-dependent diagnosis. Herein, we present the case of a male patient who initially presented to the emergency department of a community hospital with coma of unknown cause. By presenting this case and focusing on the importance of the occulomotor exam, we hope to help in the rapid identification and treatment of patients with LIS in the emergency room and avoid outcomes similar to that of our patient.