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R. Michael Scott and Edward R. Smith

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Jeffrey L. Nadel, R. Michael Scott, Susan R. Durham, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to evaluate trends in pediatric neurosurgical fellowship training in North America.

METHODS

From a database maintained by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships (ACPNF), all graduates of ACPNF-accredited pediatric neurosurgery fellowships were identified, and an Internet search was conducted to determine sex, undergraduate and graduate degrees, location and dates of residency and fellowship training, current practice/employment environment, American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) or Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons certification status, American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery (ABPNS) certification status, and extent of current pediatric-focused practice. The graduates were further studied to determine whether they had completed a neurosurgical residency at a program with an affiliated ACPNF-accredited pediatric neurosurgery fellowship program, and their residency training programs were further classified by whether the program was ranked in the top 50 by NIH funding awards. Each fellowship graduate’s current practice was also ranked in a similar fashion.

RESULTS

There were 391 graduates of ACPNF-accredited pediatric neurosurgery fellowship programs from 1993 to 2018. The number of graduates per year has grown steadily over time, as has the percentage of women, now over 40% compared to zero in the first 3 years of fellowship accreditation in the mid-1990s. Approximately 71% of graduating fellows have a pediatric-focused practice, but only 63% went on to attain ABPNS certification. Of all graduates practicing in the United States, 68% practice in academic settings. Ninety-five percent of graduating fellows who were ABNS board eligible were ABNS certified.

CONCLUSIONS

A study of the graduates of accredited pediatric neurosurgical fellowships from 1993 to 2018 has revealed a growth in the number of graduates from ACPNF-accredited fellowship programs over time. A substantial portion of graduates will practice at least some adult neurosurgery and not go on to obtain ABPNS board certification.

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Coleman P. Riordan and R. Michael Scott

OBJECTIVE

In patients with syringomyelia and type I Chiari malformation (CM-I) who have required reoperation because of persistent, recurrent, or expanding syrinx, the senior author placed a stent from the fourth ventricle to the cervical subarachnoid space in hopes of promoting circulation of CSF out of the ventricle and away from the central canal of the spinal cord. This study was undertaken to determine the long-term success of this operative stratagem in eliminating the syrinx, as well as to document the complications that occurred following stent placement. The technique utilized for placement of fourth ventricle stents is presented.

METHODS

The surgical database of the senior author was reviewed to identify all patients who underwent stent placement at a reexploration of a suboccipital decompression for a CM-I conducted for a recurrent or ineffectively treated syringomyelia. The clinical and radiological data of these patients were analyzed to determine long-term efficacy and complications of the procedure.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients (average age 10.7 ± 5.2 years, range 2.6–20.1 years) were identified who met these inclusion criteria. They each presented with recurrent, residual, or expanding syringomyelia following a prior decompression for a CM-I. The reoperation with stent placement was complicated by late stent dislodgement and recurrence or persistence of the syrinx in 2 patients (14%) and by neurological deficit in 1 patient (7%). There was 1 perioperative CSF leak (7%). In 1 other patient (7%), the stent dislodged after surgery but required no further intervention, as the syrinx remained collapsed. Two patients (14%) required late reoperation for stent replacement when syrinxes recurred. At the most recent imaging follow-up, the stent was positioned appropriately in 12 patients (86%; average follow-up 6.9 years, range 0.5–18.1 years), and the recurrent or residual syrinx was eliminated or reduced in size by 75% or greater in 13 patients (93%).

CONCLUSIONS

The placement of a stent from the fourth ventricle to the cervical subarachnoid space was a highly effective treatment for patients with recurrent, residual, or expanding syringomyelia following an initial decompression of an associated CM-I. The sole neurological complication in this series was related to lysis of arachnoid scar rather than stent placement itself, but inability to maintain fixation of the stent in situ led to further surgery to replace the stent in 2 patients.

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Coleman P. Riordan, Darren B. Orbach, Edward R. Smith, and R. Michael Scott

OBJECTIVE

The most significant adverse outcome of intracranial hemorrhage from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is death. This study reviews a single-center experience with pediatric AVMs to quantify the incidence and characterize clinical and radiographic factors associated with sudden death from the hemorrhage of previously undiagnosed AVMs in children.

METHODS

A single-center database review of the period from 2006 to 2017 identified all patients with a first-time intracranial hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed AVM. Clinical and radiographic data were collected and compared between patients who survived to hospital discharge and those who died at presentation.

RESULTS

A total of 57 patients (average age 10.8 years, range 0.1–19 years) presented with first-time intracranial hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed AVM during the study period. Of this group, 7/57 (12%) patients (average age 11.5 years, range 6–16 years) suffered hemorrhages that led directly to their deaths. Compared to the cohort of patients who survived their hemorrhage, patients who died were 4 times more likely to have an AVM in the posterior fossa. No clear pattern of antecedent triggering activity (sports, trauma, etc.) was identified, and 3/7 (43%) experienced cardiac arrest in the prehospital setting. Surviving patients were ultimately treated with resection of the AVM in 42/50 (84%) of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Children who present with hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed intracranial AVM had a 12% chance of sudden death in our single-institution series of pediatric cerebrovascular cases. Clinical triggers of hemorrhage are unpredictable, but subsequent radiographic evidence of a posterior fossa AVM was present in 57% of fatal cases, and all fatal cases were in locations with high risk of potential herniation. These data support a proactive, aggressive approach toward definitive treatment of AVMs in children.

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Bradley A. Gross, Rose Du, Darren B. Orbach, R. Michael Scott, and Edward R. Smith

OBJECT

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) are a source of neurological morbidity from seizures and focal neurological deficits due to mass effect and hemorrhage. Although several natural history reports exist for adults with CMs, similar data for pediatric patients are limited.

METHODS

The authors reviewed hospital databases to identify children with CMs who had not been treated surgically and who had clinical and radiological follow-up. Annual hemorrhage rates were calculated in lesion-years, and risk factors were assessed using the Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS

In a cohort of 167 patients with 222 CMs, the mean patient age at the time of diagnosis was 10.1 years old (SD 6.0). Ninety patients (54%) were male. One hundred four patients (62%) presented with hemorrhage from at least 1 CM, 58 (35%) with seizures with or without CM hemorrhage, and 43 (26%) with incidental lesions. Twenty-five patients (15%) had multiple CMs, 17 (10%) had a family history of CMs, and 33 (20%) had radiologically apparent developmental venous anomalies (DVAs). The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 3.3%. Permanent neurological morbidity was 29% per hemorrhage, increasing to 45% for brainstem, thalamic, or basal ganglia CM and decreasing to 15% for supratentorial lobar or cerebellar lesions. The annual hemorrhage rate for incidental CMs was 0.5%; for hemorrhagic CMs, it was 11.3%, increasing to 18.2% within the first 3 years. Hemorrhage clustering within 3 years was statistically significant (HR 6.1, 95% CI 1.72–21.7, p = 0.005). On multivariate analysis, hemorrhagic presentation (HR 4.63, 95% CI 1.53–14.1, p = 0.007), brainstem location (HR 4.42, 95% CI 1.57–12.4, p = 0.005), and an associated radiologically apparent DVA (HR 2.91, 95% CI 1.04–8.09, p = 0.04) emerged as significant risk factors for hemorrhage, whereas age, sex, CM multiplicity, and CM family history did not.

CONCLUSIONS

Prior hemorrhage, brainstem location, and associated DVAs are significant risk factors for symptomatic hemorrhage in children with CMs. Hemorrhage clustering within the first 3 years of a bleed can occur, a potentially important factor in patient management and counseling.

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Ning Lin, Edward R. Smith, R. Michael Scott, and Darren B. Orbach

OBJECT

The safe treatment of children using catheter-based angiography and embolization poses unique challenges because of the technical factors regarding the size and fragility of access and target vessels, as well as unique pediatric cerebrovascular pathologies. The complication rates for neurointerventional procedures in children have not been established.

METHODS

The records of a consecutive cohort of pediatric patients who underwent neuroangiography and/or embolization between 2007 and 2013 were reviewed retrospectively to identify both intraprocedural and postprocedural complications. Demographic and clinical risk factors were analyzed with a multivariate logistic regression model.

RESULTS

The 697 consecutive procedures consisted of 429 diagnostic angiograms and 268 embolizations (mean age of patients 11.1 years; range 4 days to 18 years; 217 females). There were 130 intracranial, 122 extracranial, and 16 spinal embolizations. Pathologies included 28 intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), 12 spinal AVMs, 19 aneurysms, 29 vein of Galen malformations, 29 dural arteriovenous fistulas, 96 extracranial AVMs, 39 tumors, 3 strokes, and 13 others. Overall, 2 intraprocedural and 1 postprocedural complication (0.7%) occurred in the diagnostic group, all of which were nonneurological events. In the embolization group, 7 intraprocedural and 11 postprocedural complications (6.7%) were observed. Of these complications, 15 were nonneurological events (5.6%), 1 was a short-term neurological event (0.4%), and 2 were long-term neurological events (0.7%).

CONCLUSIONS

Neither the technical challenges posed by children’s access and target vessels nor the unique neuro-vascular pathologies seen in children need result in an elevated morbidity rate related to neuroangiography and embolization. At a dedicated high-volume center, the complication rates may be lower than those for comparable procedures performed in adults.

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Alfred P. See, Alexander E. Ropper, Daniel L. Underberg, Richard L. Robertson, R. Michael Scott, and Edward R. Smith

OBJECT

Moyamoya can cause cerebral ischemia and stroke in Down syndrome (DS) patients. In this study, the authors defined a surgically treated population of patients with DS and moyamoya and compared their clinical presentation, response to surgical treatment, and long-term prognosis with those of the general population of patients with moyamoya but without DS.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a consecutive operative series of moyamoya patients with DS treated at Boston Children’s Hospital from 1985 through 2012.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients, average age 9.7 years (range 1.8–29.3 years), underwent surgery for moyamoya in association with DS. The majority presented with ischemic symptoms (87% stroke, 42% transient ischemic attacks). Twenty-four patients (75%) had congenital heart disease. Nineteen patients (59%) had bilateral moyamoya on presentation, and 13 presented with unilateral disease, of which 2 progressed to surgery on the opposite side at a later date. Patients were followed for a median of 7.5 years (1–20.2 years) after surgery, with no patients lost to follow-up. Follow-up arteriography demonstrated Matsushima Grade A collaterals in 29 of 39 (74%) hemispheres, Grade B in 5 (13%), and Grade C in 5 (13%).

Complications included postoperative strokes in 2 patients, which occurred within 48 hours of surgery in both; one of these patients had arm weakness and the other confusion (both had recovered completely at follow-up). Seizures occurred in 5 patients perioperatively, including one who had a new seizure disorder related to hypocalcemia.

CONCLUSIONS

Moyamoya disease is a cause of stroke in patients with DS. Both the incidence of preoperative stroke (87% vs 67%) and the average age at diagnosis for children under age 21 (8.4 vs 6.5 years) were greater in patients with DS and moyamoya than in the general moyamoya surgical population, suggesting a possible delay in reaching a correct diagnosis of the cause of cerebral ischemia in the DS patient population. Pial synangiosis provided long-term protection from stroke in all patients treated.

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Bradley A. Gross, Armide Storey, Darren B. Orbach, R. Michael Scott, and Edward R. Smith

OBJECT

Outcomes of microsurgical treatment of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in children are infrequently reported across large cohorts.

METHODS

The authors undertook a retrospective review of departmental and hospital databases to obtain the medical data of all patients up to 18 years of age who were diagnosed with cerebral AVMs. Demographic and AVM angioarchitectural characteristics were analyzed, and for the patients who underwent surgery, the authors also analyzed the estimated intraoperative blood loss, postoperative angiographically confirmed obliteration rates, and neurological complications and outcomes classified according to the modified Rankin Scale (mRS).

RESULTS

Of 117 children with cerebral AVMs, 94 underwent microsurgical resection (80%). Twenty (21%) of these 94 patients underwent adjunctive preoperative embolization. The overall postoperative angiographically confirmed obliteration rate was 94%. As part of a new protocol, the last 50 patients in this series underwent immediate perioperative angiography, improving the subsequent obliteration rate from 86% to 100% (p = 0.01). No other factors, such as a hemorrhagic AVM, size of the AVM, location, drainage, or Spetzler-Martin grade, had a statistically significant impact on the obliteration rate. Perioperative neurological deficits occurred in 17% of the patients, but the vast majority of these (77%) were predictable visual field cuts. Arteriovenous malformations that were hemorrhagic or located in noneloquent regions were each associated with lower rates of postoperative neurological complications (p = 0.05 and 0.002, respectively). In total, 94% of the children had good functional outcomes (mRS Scores 0–2), and these outcomes were significantly influenced by the mRS score on presentation before surgery (p = 0.01). A review of 1- and 5-year follow-up data indicated an overall annual hemorrhage rate of 0.3% and a recurrence rate of 0.9%.

CONCLUSIONS

Microsurgical resection of AVMs in children is associated with high rates of angiographically confirmed obliteration and low rates of significant neurological complications. Implementation of a protocol using perioperative angiography in this series led to complete radiographically confirmed obliteration of all AVMs, with low annual repeat hemorrhage and recurrence rates.

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Albert H. Kim, Elizabeth A. Thompson, Lance S. Governale, Catalina Santa, Kevin Cahll, Mark W. Kieran, Susan N. Chi, Nicole J. Ullrich, R. Michael Scott, and Liliana C. Goumnerova

Object

Low-grade glial and glioneuronal brain tumors are frequently encountered in the pediatric population and can be effectively treated by resection. The authors aimed to use imaging to evaluate how often tumors recurred and to determine if recurrences were associated with any clinical symptoms, along with the financial costs of imaging, in patients with radiographically proven gross-total resection (GTR) at Boston Children's Hospital. These data were assessed to propose guidelines regarding postoperative surveillance.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective cohort analysis of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program database from 1993 to 2003 to identify patients with glial or glioneuronal tumors initially evaluated at Boston Children's Hospital. Among the 888 patients evaluated for any type of brain tumor during this period, 67 patients had WHO Grade I glial or glioneuronal lesions with radiographically proven GTR and available follow-up data. The frequency and timing of postoperative imaging was compared with the institutional protocol. Recurrence-free survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Financial costs of imaging were available from 2001 to 2009 and were averaged to extrapolate the postoperative surveillance costs.

Results

Among the 67 patients with GTR, 13 recurrences were detected radiographically with a mean time to recurrence of 32.4 months (range 2.9–128.5 months). The mean duration of follow-up after surgery was 6.6 years. The recurrence-free survival at 2 and 5 years after GTR for all low-grade glial and glioneuronal tumors was 0.90 (95% CI 0.82–0.97) and 0.82 (95% CI 0.73–0.92), respectively. No clinical symptoms were associated with any of the recurrences, and no deaths occurred. Under the institutional protocol of surveillance imaging, the estimated cost per recurrence at 5 years was $104,094 per patient. The proposed protocol would reduce the number of MR scans in the first 5 years from 10 to 5, providing a potential cost savings of $52,047 per recurrence.

Conclusions

Given the slow-growing, clinically asymptomatic nature of low-grade glial and glioneuronal tumors coupled with the financial and psychological costs of repeated imaging, the authors propose a postoperative surveillance MRI schedule that is less intensive than current institutional practice.