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Brain metastases (BM) are the most common intracranial neoplasm and represent a major clinical challenge across many medical disciplines. The incidence of BM is increasing, largely due to improvements in primary disease therapeutics conferring greater systemic control, and advancements in neuroimaging techniques and availability leading to earlier diagnosis. In recent years, the landscape of BM treatment has changed significantly with the advent of personalized targeted chemotherapies and immunotherapy, the adoption of focal radiotherapy (RT) for higher intracranial disease burden, and the implementation of new surgical strategies. The increasing permutations of options available for the treatment of patients diagnosed with BM necessitate coordinated care by a multidisciplinary team. This review discusses the current treatment regimens for BM as well as examines the salient features of a modern multidisciplinary approach.
Global neurosurgery has become an increasingly popular facet of global health because of striking disparities in access to neurosurgical care across the world. Regardless of the commendable efforts invested in gaining equity in this enterprise, global neurosurgical initiatives can present with various ethical challenges and opportunities for causing harm to vulnerable populations. This chapter highlights some of the concerns that arise in the planning, implementation and follow-up of international neurosurgical aid. It also explores some of the fundamental ethical principles and theories that underlie these issues and applies them to an illustrative case. While there may never be a clear cut answer to many of these ethical dilemmas, we hope that in discussing the ethics of global neurosurgery, future neurosurgeons will be able to give the most in these noble initiatives which strive for equality in global medical care.
We report an unusual case of the CT appearance of diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage in a patient with anoxic encephalopathy, a situation which neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neuroradiologists should be aware of.
A young man collapsed unconscious in jail after abusing an unknown quantity and variety of drugs. CT scan showed a picture compatible with diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage.
As the patient had a Glasgow Coma Score of 3 no heroic intervention was undertaken. An autopsy performed 40 hours after the initial ictus and 24 hours after death revealed no evidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage but gross and microscopic evidence of anoxic encephalopathy.
Anoxic encephalopathy can mimic diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage on CT.
Purpose: We identified key clinicopathologic features of brain metastasis (BM) patients who are long-term survivors (LTS). Methods: We screened a prospective database of 1892 patients (treated 2006-2017), identified 92 (5%) who lived > 3 years following BM diagnosis, and performed per patient analyses. Results: Median age at diagnosis of BM was 57 years (range 19-77), 77% were women. The most common tumors were lung (50%), breast (26%), thyroid (7%) and skin (5%). 42% had tumors with drug-targetable oncoproteins (e.g. EGFR mutant) and 15% expressed hormonal receptors. ECOG was <2 in 70%. 47% had stage IV disease at diagnosis (75% with brain as the first site). 55% had controlled extracranial disease at the time of BM diagnosis. Median BM diameter was 1.5 cm (range 0.2-7) and 62% had a single lesion. Treatment was with surgery, radiosurgery, whole brain radiation (WBRT), or systemic therapy alone in 38%, 62%, 52%, and 4%, respectively. 53% received targeted- or immuno-therapy. Median follow up was 63 months (range 36-113). 61% failed intracranially at a median 24 months (range 1-99). 5 and 10- year survival (from BM diagnosis) was 82%, and 34%, respectively. Neither upfront WBRT nor other variables tested correlated with improved survival. In patients who died, an MRI was available within 3 months from death in 57%; of those 55% had no active intracranial disease, suggesting that the majority of deaths were non-neurologic. Conclusion: In general, LTS of BM had a limited number of BM, inactive extracranial disease, and drug targetable mutations.
Objectives: Glioblastoma is a lethal disease in the elderly population. We aimed to evaluate disease and treatment outcomes in the oldest-old patients. Methods: Patients >80 years old with histologically confirmed glioblastoma treated between 2004 and 2009 were identified. We included patients managed with best supportive care (BSC), temozolomide (TMZ) alone, radiotherapy (RT) alone, or concomitantly with TMZ (CRT). Survival outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: Ultimately, 48 patients were analyzed. Median age and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status were 82 years and 2, respectively. The median Age-Adjusted Charlson Index (AAC) was 6. Gross total and subtotal resections were performed in 16.7% and 18.8% of patients, respectively. Biopsy followed by RT alone was the treatment modality for 23/48 (47.9%), while 17/48 (35.4%) received surgery followed by RT alone or CRT. A total of 8 (16.7%) were managed with BSC after biopsy. Median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 4.1 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 3.3-4.9) and 2.7 (95% CI 1.5-3.9) months, respectively. Improved median OS was observed in those treated with surgical resection followed by RT alone or CRT (7.1 months), compared to biopsy followed by RT alone (4.2 months) or BSC (2.0 months; p=0.002). Surgical resection, age≤85, and AAC<6 were associated with better OS (p=0.032, p=0.031, and p=0.02, respectively). Cause of death was neurological progression in 56% of cases. RT was well-tolerated. Conclusions: PFS and OS outcomes remain poor in the oldest-old patients (>80 years old). Younger age, lower AAC, surgical resection, and adjuvant treatment were associated with improved OS.
Since 1991 the author has routinely performed awake craniotomy for intra-axial brain tumors with low complication rate and low resource utilization. In late 1996 a pilot study was initiated to assess the feasibility of performing craniotomy for tumor resection as an outpatient procedure.
A rigorous protocol was developed and adhered to, based around the patient's arrival at hospital at 6:00 a.m, undergoing image-guided awake craniotomy with cortical mapping, and being discharged by 6:00 p.m.
During the 48 month period from December 1996 to December 2000, 245 awake craniotomies were performed and of those, 46 patients were entered into the outpatient craniotomy protocol. Pathology in the 46 intent-to-treat group was: 21 metastasis, 19 glioma, and six miscellaneous. Four patients required conversion to inpatients and one patient was readmitted later the same evening due to headache. Thus 41/46 patients successfully completed the protocol (89%). There were five complications in the 46 intent-to-treat group (10.9%).
Outpatient craniotomy for brain tumor is a feasible option which appears safe and effective for selected patients. Besides being resource-friendly, the procedure may be psychologically less traumatic to patients than standard craniotomy for brain tumor. Proper prospective studies including satisfaction surveys would help resolve these issues and will be the next step.
Medical (surgical) error is being talked about more openly and besides being the subject of retrospective reviews, is now the subject of prospective research. Disclosure of error has been a difficult issue because of fear of embarrassment for doctors in the eyes of their peers, and fear of punitive action by patients, consisting of medicolegal action and/or complaints to doctors'governing bodies. This paper examines physicians'and surgeons'duty to disclose error, from an ethical standpoint; specifically by applying the moral philosophical theory espoused by Immanuel Kant (ie. deontology). The purpose of this discourse is to apply moral philosophical analysis to a delicate but important issue which will be a matter all physicians and surgeons will have to confront, probably numerous times, in their professional careers.
Medical error is an extremely important component of patient safety and requires intense study. The present investigation undertook to examine patients' perceptions and attitudes regarding medical error.
Qualitative case study methodology was used. We conducted 30 face-to-face interviews with patients within one week of undergoing a neurosurgical operation for a brain tumour. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed and the data subjected to thematic analysis.
Three overarching themes emerged from the data: 1) trust in the patient's surgeon was of paramount importance; 2) patients'views toward medical error varied between fear and vulnerability to no concern; and 3) discussion of error was felt to be beneficial as it could help the medical profession decrease future errors and could help dispel the patient's fear and anxiety about the upcoming surgery.
Patients'trust in their physician/surgeon is of paramount importance in allaying their fears about the possible occurrence and impact of medical error during their treatment. The level of concern about error varies among patients, but most felt that discussion of error was a good thing.
The rationale for interstitial irradiation of tumours in and around the skull base is reviewed, and the experience accumulated with pituitary adenomas, meningiomas, and chordomas is summarized. Intracystic irradiation for craniopharyngiomas is also reviewed.
Forty adult patients (average age 40 years), with the clinical and radiological features of the Chiari malformations, were seen at the Toronto Western Hospital between 1967 and 1984. Surgical confirmation of the diagnosis was obtained in 32 cases; of these, 23 were classified as Chiari I malformation while 9 fulfilled the anatomic criteria of Chiari II. The patient population consisted of 22 males and 18 females. Common presenting symptoms included head and neck pain (60%), sensory complaints (60%), upper extremity weakness (42%), and gait disturbance (40%). Neurological findings included signs of central cord dysfunction (73%), long-tract motor and/or sensory findings (58%), brainstem signs (38%), cerebellar dysfunction (18%), and increased intracranial pressure (15%). The majority of patients underwent myelography with or without computed tomography of the cervical-medullary junction. Two recent patients had 0.15T MRI scans which helped demonstrate an intramedullary syrinx. Thirty-three patients underwent 47 operative procedures (discounting spinal fusion and CSF shunt revisions). Open surgical management was performed in 32 patients, with CSF shunting along in one patient. Five patients (15%) incurred surgical complications within a six week postoperative period. Follow-up to date, ranges from one month to 11 years. In the 33 surgically treated patients, 18 are improved (55%), 10 are neurologically stable (30%), and five have worsened clinically (15%), including one death. Based on this study it appears that the Chiari II malformation maybe more common in adults than previously recognized. Surgical intervention has a favourable outcome in the majority of patients but a significant proportion continue to deteriorate.
Tuberculous meningitis may rarely be followed by the development of syringomyelia despite appropriate chemotherapy. In the present paper, we report a case of tuberculous meningitis in a 23-year-old Vietnamese male complicated by a rapidly progressive myelopathy due to granulomatous arachnoiditis which culminated in the development of a syrinx. The relevant literature is reviewed. The present case supports the hypothesis that vasculitic thrombosis of spinal cord vessels leading to ischemic myelomalacia is the mechanism causing postinflammatory syringomyelia.
Of 112 stereotactic high-activity iodine-125 implants for malignant brain tumors done as of July 1, 1994, ten have been done for recurrent single brain metastasis and constitute the study group described herein. All patients had initially undergone craniotomy for tumor resection followed by fractionated external beam whole brain radiation and recurred at the same site in the brain. The interval between initial cancer therapy and occurrence of the brain metastasis was 13 – 156 weeks (median: 63 weeks). The interval between initial treatment of the brain metastasis and its recurrence treated with brachytherapy was 13-69 weeks (median: 35 weeks). Minimum brachytherapy dose administered was 70 Gy at a median dose rate of 67 cGy/hour. Eight- patients have died. Two died suddenly at 2 and 13 weeks post-implant of presumed pulmonary embolus. Five died of recurrence of the brain metastasis at 20, 39, 52, 103, and 143 weeks post-implant, and one died of systemic metastases at 40 weeks post-implant. Two patients remain alive 183 and 324 weeks post-implant. High-activity iodine-125 brachytherapy appears to be of benefit for selected patients with recurrent single brain metastasis but larger, and preferably randomized studies are needed.
Lhermitte-Duclos disease (LDD) is a rare pathologic entity involving the cerebellum. The fundamental nature of the entity and its pathogenesis remain unknown, and considerable debate has centered on whether it represents a neoplastic, malformative or hamartomatous lesion. The cell or cells of origin remain incompletely defined. Previous reports of cases in the English literature have dealt predominantly with the clinical and pathological aspects yet few address issues of treatment.
A case of Lhermitte-Duclos disease (LDD) in a 54-year-old female leading to local compressive symptoms and obstructive hydrocephalus is presented. A craniectomy, in addition to a CI laminectomy followed by a decompressive duroplasty (using autologous fascia lata graft) was performed.
The patient clinically improved and follow-up MRI 11 months post-operatively revealed improvement in hydrocephalus.
The histological and immunohistochemical features of the lesion are described, emphasizing the role of an abnormal dysplastic granule cell layer. The evidence in favor of each of the major theories of pathogenesis, malformative and neoplastic is discussed. Based on these facts a form of surgical intervention involving decompressive duroplasty is proposed.
CT and MR guided stereotactic techniques have provided promising results in the management of brain abscesses. We reviewed our results of stereotactic management of brain abscesses in 20 consecutive patients with 28 abscesses from 1986 to 1993.
13 abscesses were in the cerebral hemispheres, 12 in the cerebellum, 2 in the pons and 1 in the thalamus. The bacterial organism was isolated in 12 of the 20 cases. All patients, except one who had a tuberculous abscess, were on antibiotics for less than 7 weeks.
Although there were 3 patients in coma before surgery, the mortality rate was zero and 17 patients had an excellent recovery with 3 patients having a persistent mild neurologic disability. Stereotactic aspiration of the largest lesion in the patients with multiple brain abscesses combined with intravenous antibiotic therapy was sufficient for the resolution of all lesions. Two of our patients treated with antibiotics alone showed abscess progression with neurologic worsening.
Stereotactic aspiration is safe, accurate, and when combined with the appropriate antibiotics, should be considered the procedure of choice in the management of brain abscesses.
Complications were examined in a single surgeon’s series of 207 consecutive adult patients undergoing first craniotomy for intra-axial brain tumour. The study group consisted of 114 gliomas, 74 metastatic tumours and 19 miscellaneous lesions. There were 25 infratentorial tumours and 182 supratentorial tumours (39 deep and 143 superficial). The total number of patients sustaining complications was 52 for an overall complication rate of 25.1%; the rate was higher for infratentorial tumours (44.0%) than supratentorial tumours (22.8%) regardless of histology (p = 0.012). There were 5 deaths for a mortality rate of 2.4%. Forty-seven patients incurred operative morbidity (22.7%); 7 out of the 47 had multiple complications. Sixteen patients sustained transient worsening due to edema (7.7%) and 6 patients sustained permanent neurological deficit (2.9%). Medical complications were suffered by 17 patients (8.2%). Major complications which significantly altered the quality and/or quantity of survival were suffered by 9 patients overall (4.3%).
Objectives: Patients undergoing awake craniotomy may experience high levels of stress. Minimizing anxiety benefits patients and surgeons. Music has many therapeutic effects in altering human mood and emotion. Tonality of music as conveyed by composition in major or minor keys can have an impact on patients’ emotions and thoughts. Assessing the effects of listening to major and minor key musical pieces on patients undergoing awake craniotiomy could help in the design of interventions to alleviate anxiety, stress and tension. Methods: Twenty-nine patients who were undergoing awake craniotomy were recruited and randomly assigned into two groups: Group 1 subjects listened to major key music and Group 2 listened to minor key compositions. Subjects completed a demographics questionnaire, a pre- and post-operative Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and a semi-structured open-ended interview. Results were analyzed using modified thematic analysis through open and axial coding. Results: Overall, patients enjoyed the music regardless of the key distinctions and stated they benefitted from listening to the music. No adverse reactions to the music were found. Subjects remarked that the music made them feel more at ease and less anxious before, during and after their procedure. Patients preferred either major key or minor key music but not a combination of both. Those who preferred major key pieces said it was on the basis of tonality while the individuals who selected minor key pieces stated that tempo of the music was the primary factor. Conclusion: Overall, listening to music selections was beneficial for the patients. Future work should further investigate the effects of audio interventions in awake surgery through narrative means.