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Our main objective was to use videoconferencing as a primary means to: a) assist in launching an epilepsy surgery program in Pakistan; 2) participate in case conferences on complex epilepsy patients in each country.
Extensive testing using both point to point and bridged integrated service digital network (ISDN) and internet protocol (IP) connections was carried out using bandwidths of 384-768 kilobits per second (kbps). Videoconferences between sites were arranged two to three weeks in advance and connections were tested a day prior to the scheduled conference. Sharing of PowerPoint presentations, neuroimaging and video-EEG was available to all sites. Discussions centered on patients with medically refractory epilepsy.
Between July 2006 and June 2008, 17 sessions were booked. Five of these conferences bridged in specialists from West Virginia University. Most successful connections occurred using IP point to point calls or a bridge connecting end points through IP at 512 kbps. We conducted three surgeries for medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy in Pakistan. At follow-up in January 2009, two patients have been seizure free and one had two breakthrough seizures after sudden unsupervised discontinuation of Levetiracetam.
Our international tele-epilepsy collaboration has proven feasible and valuable to all participants. Our experience suggests considerable thought and preparation are needed before a teleconference to ensure its success. We provide a recipe to set-up similar telemedicine collaborations. Considerations include time zone differences, equipment type, interoperability between endpoints, connection capabilities, bandwidth availability, and backup plans for unsuccessful connections. Telemedicine can facilitate epilepsy care around the world, identifying with the concept of a “Global Health Village”.
: The purpose of this retrospective review of all operated cases of pituitary adenomas in the last decade, is to define the demographic patterns and characteristics of such tumors and to assess surgical outcomes with regards to safety and efficacy of trans–sphenoidal tumor removal in our institution.
Surgically treated pituitary adenomas presenting from 1995 till 2005 were reviewed for different variables. Results were expressed as mean, standard deviation and median for continuous and number with percentage for categorical data. Chi square test was applied to measure differences and significance was taken at p value < 0.05.
One hundred and twenty–five patients were operated for pituitary adenoma. Sixty–three percent were male and mean age was 37 years. Sixty percent of the patients presented with headache and/or visual symptoms. Twelve percent presented with pituitary apoplexy and 28% presented with symptoms due to pituitary hyperfunction. Fifty–five percent of patients had functioning and 44% had nonfunctioning adenomas. Mean pre operative tumor diameter from 86 pre op MRI scans was 26.76 mm (3–78 mm). Eighty–four percent of patients underwent trans–sphenoidal tumor resection and three percent had craniotomy. Mean size of post op residual tumor as calculated from 76 available post operative scans was 5.3 mm (range 0–31 mm). 17.6% of the patients required hormone replacement beyond three months and 10% were re–operated. Overall mortality was 1.6%.
In Pakistan, patients are more likely to present either with apoplexy or with a giant pituitary adenoma than patients reported from developed countries. Overall, our results have been satisfactory and comparable with the literature.
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