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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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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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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.

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Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Hugh J. L. Garton, Darryl Lau, David Altshuler, Douglas J. Quint, Patricia L. Robertson, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the major proangiogenic factor in many solid tumors. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) is expressed in abundance in pediatric patients with medulloblastoma and is associated with tumor metastasis, poor prognosis, and proliferation. Gadolinium enhancement on MRI has been suggested to have prognostic significance for some tumors. The association of VEGF/VEGFR and Gd enhancement in medulloblastoma has never been closely examined. The authors therefore sought to evaluate whether Gd-enhancing medulloblastomas have higher levels of VEGFR and CD31. Outcomes and survival in patients with enhancing and nonenhancing tumors were also compared.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of patients with enhancing, nonenhancing, and partially enhancing medulloblastomas was performed. Primary end points included risk stratification, extent of resection, and perioperative complications. A cohort of 3 enhancing and 3 nonenhancing tumors was selected for VEGFR and CD31 analysis as well as microvessel density measurements.

Results

Fifty-eight patients were analyzed, and 20.7% of the medulloblastomas in these patients were nonenhancing. Enhancing medulloblastomas exhibited strong VEGFR1/2 and CD31 expression relative to nonenhancing tumors. There was no significant difference in perioperative complications or patient survival between the 2 groups.

Conclusions

These results suggest that in patients with medulloblastoma the presence of enhancement on MRI may correlate with increased vascularity and angiogenesis, but does not correlate with worse patient prognosis in the short or long term.

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Michael J. Cools, Wajd N. Al-Holou, William R. Stetler Jr., Thomas J. Wilson, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim, Frank La Marca, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Filum terminale lipomas (FTLs) are being identified with increasing frequency due to the increasing utilization of MRI. Although an FTL may be associated with tethered cord syndrome (TCS), in many cases FTLs are diagnosed incidentally in patients without any symptoms of TCS. The natural history of FTLs is not well defined.

Methods

The authors searched the clinical and imaging records at a single institution over a 14-year interval to identify patients with FTLs. For patients with an FTL, the clinical records were reviewed for indication for imaging, presenting symptoms, perceived need for surgery, and clinical outcome. A natural history analysis was performed using all patients with more than 6 months of clinical follow-up.

Results

A total of 436 patients with FTL were identified. There were 217 males and 219 females. Of these patients, 282 (65%) were adults and 154 (35%) were children. Symptoms of TCS were present in 22 patients (5%). Fifty-two patients underwent surgery for FTL (12%). Sixty-four patients (15%) had a low-lying conus and 21 (5%) had a syrinx. The natural history analysis included 249 patients with a mean follow-up time of 3.5 years. In the follow-up period, only 1 patient developed new symptoms.

Conclusions

Filum terminale lipomas are a common incidental finding on spinal MRI, and most patients present without associated symptoms. The untreated natural history is generally benign for asymptomatic patients.