Author(s): Ciurea AV, Fountas KN, Coman TC, Machinis TG, Kapsalaki EZ,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Cerebral hydatid cysts account for up to 3.6\% of all intracranial space-occupying lesions, in endemic countries. The vast majority of patients affected are children. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have greatly contributed to a more accurate diagnosis of hydatids. However, correct pre-operative diagnosis still remains quite puzzling. Extirpation of the intact cyst is the treatment of choice, resulting in most cases to a complete recovery. METHOD: In our retrospective study, we have reviewed 76 cases of intra-cranial hydatid disease operated on in our hospital over a 22 year period. Presenting clinical symptoms and signs and the radiological findings on CT and MRI were documented. Albendazole was given preoperatively to patients with giant (>5 cm) or multiple cysts and postoperatively to all patients. The follow-up period ranged from 12 months to 22 years and the outcome was assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). FINDINGS: Sixty seven (95.7\%) of our patients were children. Increased intracranial pressure and papilledema were the predominant findings in this group, whereas focal neurological deficits were most prevalent in adults. CT and MRI revealed round cystic lesions, isodense and iso-intense respectively to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), with no rim enhancement or perifocal edema. Multiple cysts were identified in 3 cases. Extirpation of the cyst without rupture was accomplished in 56 patients (73.7\%). Recurrences occurred in 19 patients (25\%). 4 patients (5.3\%) died within 6 months after surgery; 3 of these patients had multiple cysts and one died shortly after the operation due to anaphylactic shock following intra-operative rupture of the cyst. CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up confirms that intracranial hydatid cysts should always be surgically removed without rupture; the outcome remains excellent in these cases. Correct preoperative diagnosis is vital for the successful outcome of surgery. A high index of suspicion is therefore required in endemic areas despite the availability of advanced neuro-imaging. Medical treatment with albendazole seems to be beneficial both pre- and post-operatively. Newer diagnostic methodologies, such as MR spectroscopy and MR diffusion weighted imaging, might lend themselves to the diagnosis of intracranial hydatid cysts.
This article was published in Acta Neurochir (Wien)
and referenced in Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases