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Jeremy S. Wetzel, David P. Heaner, Brandon C. Gabel, R. Shane Tubbs, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

The majority of children with myelomeningocele undergo implantation of CSF shunts. The efficacy of adding surveillance imaging to clinical evaluation during routine follow-up as a means to minimize the hazard associated with future shunt failure has not been thoroughly studied.

METHODS

A total of 300 spina bifida clinic visits during the calendar years between 2012 and 2016 were selected for this study (defined as the index clinic visit). Each index visit was preceded by a 6-month period during which no shunt evaluation of any kind was performed. At the index clinic visit, all patients were evaluated by a neurosurgeon. Seventy-four patients underwent previously scheduled surveillance CT or shunt series scans in addition to clinical evaluation (surveillance imaging group), and 226 patients did not undergo surveillance imaging (clinical evaluation group). Subsequent unexpected events, defined as emergency department visits, caregiver-requested clinic visits, and shunt revision surgeries were reviewed. The timing and likelihood of an unexpected event in each of the 2 groups were compared using Cox proportional hazard survival analysis. The rate of shunt revision surgery in the follow-up period as well as the associated outcomes and rate of complications were analyzed.

RESULTS

The clinical characteristics of the 2 groups were similar. In the clinical evaluation group, 4 of 226 (1.8%) patients underwent shunt revision based on clinical findings during the index visit, compared to 8 of 74 (10.8%) patients in the surveillance imaging group who underwent shunt revision based on clinical and imaging findings at that visit (p < 0.05). In the subsequent follow-up period, there were 74 unexpected events resulting in 10 shunt revisions in the clinical evaluation group, for an event rate of 33% and operation rate of 13.5%. In the surveillance imaging group there were 23 unexpected events resulting in 2 shunt revisions, for an event rate of 34.8% and an operation rate of 8.7%; neither difference was statistically significant. The complication rate for shunt revision surgery was also not different between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Obtaining predecided, routine surveillance imaging in children with myelomeningocele and shunted hydrocephalus resulted in more shunt revisions in asymptomatic patients. For patients who had negative results on surveillance imaging, the rate of shunt revision in the follow-up period was not significantly decreased compared to patients who underwent clinical examination only at the index visit.

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Andrew Reisner, Joshua J. Chern, Karen Walson, Natalie Tillman, Toni Petrillo-Albarano, Eric A. Sribnick, Laura S. Blackwell, Zaev D. Suskin, Chia-Yi Kuan, and Atul Vats

OBJECTIVE

Evidence shows mixed efficacy of applying guidelines for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. A multidisciplinary team at a children’s health system standardized intensive care unit–based TBI care using guidelines and best practices. The authors sought to investigate the impact of guideline implementation on outcomes.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary group developed a TBI care protocol based on published TBI treatment guidelines and consensus, which was implemented in March 2011. The authors retrospectively compared preimplementation outcomes (May 2009 to March 2011) and postimplementation outcomes (April 2011 to March 2014) among patients < 18 years of age admitted with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8) and potential survivability who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring. Measures included mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), ventilator LOS, critical ICP elevation time (percentage or total time that ICP was > 40 mm Hg), and survivor functionality at discharge (measured by the WeeFIM score). Data were analyzed using Student t-tests.

RESULTS

A total of 71 and 121 patients were included pre- and postimplementation, respectively. Mortality (32% vs 19%; p < 0.001) and length of critical ICP elevation (> 20 mm Hg; 26.3% vs 15%; p = 0.001) decreased after protocol implementation. WeeFIM discharge scores were not statistically different (57.6 vs 58.9; p = 0.9). Hospital LOS (median 19.6 days; p = 0.68) and ventilator LOS (median 10 days; p = 0.24) were unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS

A multidisciplinary effort to develop, disseminate, and implement an evidence-based TBI treatment protocol at a children’s hospital was associated with improved outcomes, including survival and reduced time of ICP elevation. This type of ICP-based protocol can serve as a guide for other institutions looking to reduce practice disparity in the treatment of severe TBI.

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Rohini Komarla, Bruno P. Soares, Joshua J. Chern, and Sarah S. Milla

Spontaneous epidural hematoma (EDH) is a rare occurrence in patients with sickle cell disease, with a small number of cases reported. Appropriate diagnosis is critical, because rapid neurosurgical intervention may be required. This unique case illustrates clinical and MRI features of an 18-year-old woman presenting with a headache and subsequent progression to severe focal neurological symptoms. Imaging demonstrated a large EDH of mixed signal characteristics and underlying calvarial infarction, requiring emergency decompression and evacuation. A second companion case is also presented. The authors discuss proposed pathophysiology of the formation of EDHs in sickle cell anemia.

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Michael C. Dewan, Jaims Lim, Stephen R. Gannon, David Heaner, Matthew C. Davis, Brandy Vaughn, Joshua J. Chern, Brandon G. Rocque, Paul Klimo Jr., John C. Wellons III, and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

It has been suggested that the treatment of infant hydrocephalus results in different craniometric changes depending upon whether ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement or endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) is performed. Without an objective and quantitative description of expected changes to the infant cranium and ventricles following ETV/CPC, asserting successful treatment of hydrocephalus is difficult. By comparing infants successfully treated via ETV/CPC or VPS surgery, the authors of this study aimed to define the expected postoperative cranial and ventricular alterations at the time of clinical follow-up.

METHODS

Patients who underwent successful treatment of hydrocephalus at 4 institutions with either VPS placement or ETV/CPC were matched in a 3:1 ratio on the basis of age and etiology. Commonly used cranial parameters (including head circumference [HC], HC z-score, fontanelle status, and frontooccipital horn ratio [FOHR]) were compared pre- and postoperatively between treatment cohorts. First, baseline preoperative values were compared to ensure cohort equivalence. Next, postoperative metrics, including the relative change in metrics, were compared between treatment groups using multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS

Across 4 institutions, 18 ETV/CPC-treated and 54 VPS-treated infants with hydrocephalus were matched and compared at 6 months postoperatively. The most common etiologies of hydrocephalus were myelomeningocele (61%), followed by congenital communicating hydrocephalus (17%), aqueductal stenosis (11%), and intraventricular hemorrhage (6%). The mean age at the time of CSF diversion was similar between ETV/CPC- and VPS-treated patients (3.4 vs 2.9 months; p = 0.69), as were all preoperative cranial hydrocephalus metrics (p > 0.05). Postoperatively, the ventricle size FOHR decreased significantly more following VPS surgery (−0.15) than following ETV/CPC (−0.02) (p < 0.001), yielding a lower postoperative FOHR in the VPS arm (0.42 vs 0.51; p = 0.01). The HC percentile was greater in the ETV/CPC cohort than in the VPS-treated patients (76th vs 54th percentile; p = 0.046). A significant difference in the postoperative z-score was not observed. With both treatment modalities, a bulging fontanelle reliably normalized at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical and radiographic parameters following successful treatment of hydrocephalus in infants differed between ETV/CPC and VPS treatment. At 6 months post-ETV/CPC, ventricle size remained unchanged, whereas VPS-treated ventricles decreased to a near-normal FOHR. The HC growth control between the procedures was similar, although the final HC percentile may be lower after VPS. The fontanelle remained a reliable indicator of success for both treatments. This study establishes expected cranial and ventricular parameters following ETV/CPC, which may be used to guide preoperative counseling and postoperative decision making.

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Kumar Vasudevan, Ahyuda Oh, R. Shane Tubbs, David Garcia, Andrew Reisner, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

Jackson-Pratt drains (JPDs) are commonly employed in pediatric craniofacial reconstructive surgery (CRFS) to reduce postoperative wound complications, but their risk profile remains unknown. Perioperative blood loss and volume shifts are major risks of CFRS. The goal of this study was to evaluate the risks of JPD usage in CFRS, particularly with regard to perioperative blood loss, hyponatremia, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, and postoperative wound complications.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of data obtained in pediatric patients who underwent CFRS at a single institution, as performed by multiple surgeons between January 2010 and December 2014. Data were gathered from patients who did and did not receive JPDs at the time of surgery. Outcome measures were compared between the JPD and no-JPD groups.

RESULTS

The overall population 179 pediatric patients: 128 who received JPDs and 51 who did not. In their analysis, the authors found no significant differences in baseline patient characteristics between the two groups. The average JPD output over the first 48 hours was 222 ± 142 ml. When examining the immediate preoperative to immediate postoperative time period, no significant differences were noted between the groups with regard to the need for blood transfusion or changes in hemoglobin, hematocrit, or serum sodium levels. These differences were also not significant when examining the 48-hour postoperative period. Finally, no significant differences in hospital length of stay, ICU length of stay, or emergency department visits at 60 days were noted between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective study, the use of JPDs in pediatric CFRS was not associated with an increased risk of serious perioperative complications, although the benefits of this practice remain unclear.

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Ahyuda Oh, Michael Sawvel, David Heaner, Amina Bhatia, Andrew Reisner, R. Shane Tubbs, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

Past studies have suggested correlations between abusive head trauma and concurrent cervical spine (c-spine) injury. Accordingly, c-spine MRI (cMRI) has been increasingly used in radiographic assessments. This study aimed to determine trends in cMRI use and treatment, and outcomes related to c-spine injury in children with nonaccidental trauma (NAT).

METHODS

A total of 503 patients with NAT who were treated between 2009 and 2014 at a single pediatric health care system were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Additional data on selected clinical events were retrospectively collected from electronic medical records. In 2012, a clinical pathway on cMRI usage for patients with NAT was implemented. The present study compared cMRI use and clinical outcomes between the prepathway (2009–2011) and postpathway (2012–2014) periods.

RESULTS

There were 249 patients in the prepathway and 254 in the postpathway groups. Incidences of cranial injury and Injury Severity Scores were not significantly different between the 2 groups. More patients underwent cMRI in the years after clinical pathway implementation than before (2.8% vs 33.1%, p < 0.0001). There was also a significant increase in cervical collar usage from 16.5% to 27.6% (p = 0.004), and more patients were discharged home with cervical collar immobilization. Surgical stabilization occurred in a single case in the postpathway group.

CONCLUSIONS

Heightened awareness of potential c-spine injury in this population increased the use of cMRI and cervical collar immobilization over a 6-year period. However, severe c-spine injury remains rare, and increased use of cMRI might not affect outcomes markedly.

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Anil K. Roy, Jason Chu, Caroline Bozeman, Samir Sarda, Michael Sawvel, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

Various indicators are used to evaluate the quality of care delivered by surgical services, one of which is early reoperation rate. The indications and rate of reoperations within a 48-hour time period have not been previously reported for pediatric neurosurgery.

METHODS

Between May 1, 2009, and December 30, 2014, 7942 surgeries were performed by the pediatric neurosurgery service in the operating rooms at a single institution. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics associated with each of the operations were prospectively collected. The procedures were grouped into 31 categories based on the nature of the procedure and underlying diseases. Reoperations within 48 hours at the conclusion of the index surgery were reviewed to determine whether the reoperation was planned or unplanned. Multivariate logistic regression was employed to analyze risk factors associated with unplanned reoperations.

RESULTS

Cerebrospinal fluid shunt–and hydrocephalus-related surgeries accounted for 3245 (40.8%) of the 7942 procedures. Spinal procedures, craniotomy for tumor resections, craniotomy for traumatic injury, and craniofacial reconstructions accounted for an additional 8.7%, 6.8%, 4.5%, and 4.5% of surgical volume. There were 221 reoperations within 48 hours of the index surgery, yielding an overall incidence of 2.78%; 159 of the reoperation were unplanned. Of these 159 unplanned reoperations, 121 followed index operations involving shunt manipulations. Using unplanned reoperations as the dependent variable (n = 159), index operations with a starting time after 3 pm and admission through the emergency department (ED) were associated with a two- to threefold increase in the likelihood of reoperations (after-hour surgery, odds ratio [OR] 2.01 [95% CI 1.43–2.83, p < 0.001]; ED admission, OR 1.97 (95% CI 1.32–2.96, p < 0.05]).

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 25% of the reoperations within 48 hours of a pediatric neurosurgical procedure were planned. When reoperations were unplanned, contributing factors could be both surgeon related and system related. Further study is required to determine the extent to which these reoperations are preventable. The utility of unplanned reoperation as a quality indicator is dependent on proper definition, analysis, and calculation.

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Hyunmi Kim, Ahyuda Oh, Larry Olson, and Joshua J. Chern

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate mesial temporal electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring, using an intraventricular strip electrode (IVSE) along the ventricular surface of the hippocampus, in children with medically intractable epilepsy.

METHODS

The authors reviewed 10 consecutive cases in which subdural electrode placements and mesial temporal monitoring were recommended. The median age of the patients was 12.7 years (range 4.5–19.3 years). Both grids and IVSE were placed in all patients. The 4-contact IVSE was used in 5 cases, and the 6-contact IVSE in the other 5 cases. The median number of contacts, including IVSE contacts, was 122 (range 66–181). A total of 182 seizures were analyzed.

RESULTS

The IVSE localized seizure-onset zones in 8 patients. The seizure-onset zone was identified exclusively by IVSE in 3 patients and was simultaneous in IVSE and subdural electrodes in 5 patients. Among the 5 patients with simultaneous onset on both IVSE and subdural electrodes, 4 had basal temporal onset and one had orbitofrontal and lateral midtemporal onset. In the remaining 2 patients, the absence of IVSE seizure onset permitted sparing of mesial temporal structures. An Engel Class Ia outcome was achieved in 9 of 10 cases. No complication was associated with IVSE placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Intracranial monitoring using IVSE offers an alternative in terms of quality of EEG recording. IVSE was useful in children who already required open craniotomy for intracranial monitoring over an extensive network of hyper-excitability.