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Jeffrey L. Nadel, D. Andrew Wilkinson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine the rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia in a large, privately insured healthcare network.

METHODS

Rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia were determined using de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured healthcare network of over 58 million beneficiaries across the United States between 2001 and 2014. Cases of achondroplasia and screening and surgery claims were identified using a combination of International Classification of Diseases diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology codes. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) practice guidelines were used to determine screening trends.

RESULTS

The search yielded 3577 children age 19 years or younger with achondroplasia. Of them, 236 met criteria for inclusion in the screening analysis. Among the screening cohort, 41.9% received some form of screening for foramen magnum stenosis, whereas 13.9% of patients were fully and appropriately screened according to the 2005 guidelines from the AAP. The screening rate significantly increased after the issuance of the AAP guidelines. Among all children in the cohort, 25 underwent cervicomedullary decompression for foramen magnum stenosis. The incidence rate of undergoing cervicomedullary decompression was highest in infancy (28 per 1000 patient-years) and decreased with age (5 per 1000 patient-years for all other ages combined).

CONCLUSIONS

Children with achondroplasia continue to be underscreened for foramen magnum stenosis, although screening rates have improved since the release of the 2005 AAP surveillance guidelines. The incidence of surgery was highest in infants and decreased with age.

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Siri Sahib S. Khalsa, Ndi Geh, Bryn A. Martin, Philip A. Allen, Jennifer Strahle, Francis Loth, Desale Habtzghi, Aintzane Urbizu Serrano, Daniel McQuaide, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is typically defined on imaging by a cerebellar tonsil position ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum. Low cerebellar tonsil position is a frequent incidental finding on brain or cervical spine imaging, even in asymptomatic individuals. Nonspecific symptoms (e.g., headache and neck pain) are common in those with low tonsil position as well as in those with normal tonsil position, leading to uncertainty regarding appropriate management for many patients with low tonsil position and nonspecific symptoms. Because cerebellar tonsil position is not strictly correlated with the presence of typical CM-I symptoms, the authors sought to determine if other 2D morphometric or 3D volumetric measurements on MRI could distinguish between patients with asymptomatic and symptomatic CM-I.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed records of 102 pediatric patients whose records were in the University of Michigan clinical CM-I database. All patients in this database had cerebellar tonsil position ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum. Fifty-one symptomatic and 51 asymptomatic patients were matched for age at diagnosis, sex, tonsil position, and tonsil morphology. National Institutes of Health ImageJ software was used to obtain six 2D anatomical MRI measurements, and a semiautomated segmentation tool was used to obtain four 3D volumetric measurements of the posterior fossa and CSF subvolumes on MRI.

RESULTS

No significant differences were observed between patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic CM-I related to tentorium length (50.3 vs 51.0 mm; p = 0.537), supraoccipital length (39.4 vs 42.6 mm; p = 0.055), clivus-tentorium distance (52.0 vs 52.1 mm; p = 0.964), clivus-torcula distance (81.5 vs 83.3 mm; p = 0.257), total posterior fossa volume (PFV; 183.4 vs 190.6 ml; p = 0.250), caudal PFV (152.5 vs 159.8 ml; p = 0.256), fourth ventricle volume to caudal PFV ratio (0.0140 vs 0.0136; p = 0.649), or CSF volume to caudal PFV ratio (0.071 vs 0.061; p = 0.138).

CONCLUSIONS

No clinically useful 2D or 3D measurements were identified that could reliably distinguish pediatric patients with symptoms attributable to CM-I from those with asymptomatic CM-I.

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D. Andrew Wilkinson, Kyle Johnson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this analysis was to define temporal and geographic trends in the surgical treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in a large, privately insured health care network.

METHODS

The authors examined de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured health care network of over 58 million beneficiaries throughout the United States for the period between 2001 and 2014 for all patients undergoing surgical treatment of CM-I. Using a combination of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, the authors identified CM-I and associated diagnoses and procedures over a 14-year period, highlighting temporal and geographic trends in the performance of CM-I decompression (CMD) surgery as well as commonly associated procedures.

RESULTS

There were 2434 surgical procedures performed for CMD among the beneficiaries during the 14-year interval; 34% were performed in patients younger than 20 years of age. The rate of CMD increased 51% from the first half to the second half of the study period among younger patients (p < 0.001) and increased 28% among adult patients between 20 and 65 years of age (p < 0.001). A large sex difference was noted among adult patients; 78% of adult patients undergoing CMD were female compared with only 53% of the children. Pediatric patients undergoing CMD were more likely to be white with a higher household net worth. Regional variability was identified among rates of CMD as well. The average annual rate of surgery ranged from 0.8 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the Pacific census division to 2.0 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the East South Central census division.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of a large nationwide health care network showed recently increasing rates of CMD in children and adults over the past 14 years.

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Jacob R. Joseph, Brandon W. Smith, and Hugh J. L. Garton

Blunt prenatal trauma is known to have consequences to the developing brain, and can result in subdural hematoma (SDH) or epidural hematoma (EDH). The authors present a case of blunt prenatal trauma resulting in a fetal SDH, intraparenchymal hematoma, and intraventricular hemorrhage, and perform a systematic review of the literature. This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Relevant studies (up to April 2016) that reported on cases of fetal SDH or EDH after blunt prenatal trauma were identified from the PubMed database. The primary outcome was fetal mortality, and the secondary outcome was neurological outcome. Fourteen studies were included in the analysis, comprising a total of 14 patients including the present case. The average gestational age at discovery of hemorrhage was 30.1 weeks. Nine mothers were in a motor vehicle collision and 3 were assaulted; the mechanism of injury for 2 mothers was not defined. Twelve patients had SDH, 1 had EDH, and 1 had conflicting reports. Three patients had intrauterine fetal demise, and 3 died in the neonatal period after birth. Three patients had persistent neurological deficit, and 5 were neurologically intact. Fetal SDH or EDH after blunt trauma to the mother trauma is rare and is associated with mortality. However, a significant number of patients can have good neurological outcomes.

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Kyle T. Johnson, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Richard C. E. Anderson, Thomas J. Wilson, Tejas Karnati, Mohannad Ibrahim, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

Our understanding of pediatric cervical spine development remains incomplete. The purpose of this analysis was to quantitatively define cervical spine growth in a population of children with normal CT scans.

METHODS

A total of 1458 children older than 1 year and younger than 18 years of age who had undergone a cervical spine CT scan at the authors' institution were identified. Subjects were separated by sex and age (in years) into 34 groups. Following this assignment, subjects within each group were randomly selected for inclusion until a target of 15 subjects in each group had been measured. Linear measurements were performed on the midsagittal image of the cervical spine. Twenty-three unique measurements were obtained for each subject.

RESULTS

Data showed that normal vertical growth of the pediatric cervical spine continues up to 18 years of age in boys and 14 years of age in girls. Approximately 75% of the vertical growth occurs throughout the subaxial spine and 25% occurs across the craniovertebral region. The C-2 body is the largest single-segment contributor to vertical growth, but the subaxial vertebral bodies and disc spaces also contribute. Overall vertical growth of the cervical spine throughout childhood is dependent on individual vertebral body growth as well as vertical growth of the disc spaces. The majority of spinal canal diameter growth occurs by 4 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' morphometric analyses establish parameters for normal pediatric cervical spine growth up to 18 years of age. These data should be considered when evaluating children for potential surgical intervention and provide a basis of comparison for studies investigating the effects of cervical spine instrumentation and fusion on subsequent growth.

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Jennifer Strahle, Béla J. Selzer, Ndi Geh, Dushyanth Srinivasan, MaryKathryn Strahle, Meleine Martinez-Sosa, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

There is currently no consensus on the safety of sports participation for patients with an intracranial arachnoid cyst (AC). The authors' goal was to define the risk of sports participation for children with this imaging finding.

METHODS

A survey was prospectively administered to 185 patients with ACs during a 46-month period at a single institution. Cyst size and location, treatment, sports participation, and any injuries were recorded. Eighty patients completed at least 1 subsequent survey following their initial entry into the registry, and these patients were included in a prospective registry with a mean prospective follow-up interval of 15.9 ± 8.8 months.

RESULTS

A total 112 patients with ACs participated in 261 sports for a cumulative duration of 4410 months or 1470 seasons. Of these, 94 patients participated in 190 contact sports for a cumulative duration of 2818 months or 939 seasons. There were no serious or catastrophic neurological injuries. Two patients presented with symptomatic subdural hygromas following minor sports injuries. In the prospective cohort, there were no neurological injuries

CONCLUSIONS

Permanent or catastrophic neurological injuries are very unusual in AC patients who participate in athletic activities. In most cases, sports participation by these patients is safe.

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Jennifer Strahle, Ndi Geh, Béla J. Selzer, Regina Bower, Mai Himedan, MaryKathryn Strahle, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

There is currently no consensus on the safety of sports participation for patients with Chiari I malformation (CM-I). The authors' goal was to define the risk of sports participation for children with the imaging finding of CM-I.

METHODS

A prospective survey was administered to 503 CM-I patients at 2 sites over a 46-month period. Data were gathered on imaging characteristics, treatment, sports participation, and any sport-related injuries. Additionally, 81 patients completed at least 1 subsequent survey following their initial entry into the registry and were included in a prospective group, with a mean prospective follow-up period of 11 months.

RESULTS

Of the 503 CM-I patients, 328 participated in sports for a cumulative duration of 4641 seasons; 205 of these patients participated in contact sports. There were no serious or catastrophic neurological injuries. One patient had temporary extremity paresthesias that resolved within hours, and this was not definitely considered to be related to the CM-I. In the prospective cohort, there were no permanent neurological injuries.

CONCLUSIONS

No permanent or catastrophic neurological injuries were observed in CM-I patients participating in athletic activities. The authors believe that the risk of such injuries is low and that, in most cases, sports participation by children with CM-I is safe.

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Zhe Guan, Todd Hollon, J. Nicole Bentley, and Hugh J. L. Garton

Epidermoid cysts (ECs) are uncommon pediatric tumors that often occur in the cerebellopontine angle. Although cyst rupture is a recognized complication, the radiographic evolution of an EC following rupture and the resultant parenchymal brainstem edema have not been reported. The authors present the case of a 13-year-old female with a newly diagnosed cerebellopontine angle EC who presented with worsening headaches, photophobia, and emesis. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated significant pericystic brainstem edema and mass effect with effacement of the fourth ventricle. Refractory symptoms prompted repeat imaging, revealing cyst enlargement and dense rim enhancement. Resection of the EC resolved both her symptoms and the brainstem edema. This case documents the radiographic evolution of EC rupture and subsequent clinical course.

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Jennifer Strahle, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, Brandon W. Smith, Jordan Starr, Joseph R. Kapurch II,, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

Syrinx size and location within the spinal cord may differ based on etiology or associated conditions of the brain and spine. These differences have not been clearly defined.

METHODS

All patients with a syrinx were identified from 14,118 patients undergoing brain or cervical spine imaging at a single institution over an 11-year interval. Syrinx width, length, and location in the spinal cord were recorded. Patients were grouped according to associated brain and spine conditions including Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I), secondary CM (2°CM), Chiari malformation Type 0 (CM-0), tethered cord, other closed dysraphism, and spinal tumors. Syringes not associated with any known brain or spinal cord condition were considered idiopathic. Syrinx characteristics were compared between groups.

RESULTS

A total of 271 patients with a syrinx were identified. The most common associated condition was CM-I (occurring in 117 patients [43.2%]), followed by spinal dysraphism (20 [7.4%]), tumor (15 [5.5%]), and tethered cord (13 [4.8%]). Eighty-three patients (30.6%) did not have any associated condition of the brain or spinal cord and their syringes were considered idiopathic. Syringes in patients with CM-I were wide (7.8 ± 3.9 mm) compared with idiopathic syringes (3.9 ± 1.0, p < 0.0001) and those associated with tethered cord (4.2 ± 0.9, p < 0.01). When considering CM-I–associated and idiopathic syringes, the authors found that CM-I–associated syringes were more likely to have their cranial extent in the cervical spine (88%), compared with idiopathic syringes (43%; p < 0.0001). The combination of syrinx width greater than 5 mm and cranial extent in the cervical spine had 99% specificity (95% CI 0.92–0.99) for CM-I–associated syrinx.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx morphology differs according to syrinx etiology. The combination of width greater than 5 mm and cranial extent in the cervical spine is highly specific for CM-I–associated syringes. This may have relevance when determining the clinical significance of syringes in patients with low cerebellar tonsil position.

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Jennifer Strahle, Brandon W. Smith, Melaine Martinez, J. Rajiv Bapuraj, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is often found in patients with scoliosis. Most previous reports of CM-I and scoliosis have focused on patients with CM-I and a spinal syrinx. The relationship between CM-I and scoliosis in the absence of a syrinx has never been defined clearly. The authors sought to determine if there is an independent association between CM-I and scoliosis when controlling for syrinx status.

METHODS

The medical records of 14,118 consecutive patients aged ≤ 18 years who underwent brain or cervical spine MRI at a single institution in an 11-year span were reviewed to identify patients with CM-I, scoliosis, and/or syrinx. The relationship between CM-I and scoliosis was analyzed by using multivariate regression analysis and controlling for age, sex, CM-I status, and syrinx status.

RESULTS

In this cohort, 509 patients had CM-I, 1740 patients had scoliosis, and 243 patients had a spinal syrinx. The presence of CM-I, the presence of syrinx, older age, and female sex were each significantly associated with scoliosis in the univariate analysis. In the multivariate regression analysis, older age (OR 1.02 [95% CI 1.01–1.03]; p < 0.0001), female sex (OR 1.71 [95% CI 1.54–1.90]; p < 0.0001), and syrinx (OR 9.08 [95% CI 6.82–12.10]; p < 0.0001) were each independently associated with scoliosis. CM-I was not independently associated with scoliosis when controlling for these other variables (OR 0.99 [95% CI 0.79–1.29]; p = 0.9).

CONCLUSIONS

A syrinx was independently associated with scoliosis in a large pediatric population undergoing MRI. CM-I was not independently associated with scoliosis when controlling for age, sex, and syrinx status. Because CM-I is not independently associated with scoliosis, scoliosis should not necessarily be considered a symptom of low cerebellar tonsil position in patients without a syrinx.