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Jonathan N. Sellin, Jacob Cherian, James M. Barry, Sheila L. Ryan, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

It is common to evaluate children with suspected CSF shunt malfunctions using CT of the head or, more recently, “quick brain” MRI. However, the reliability of using ventricular behavior, as assessed on cranial imaging during previous presentations with shunt obstructions, is not well defined. The authors conducted a study to determine if CT or MRI of ventricular morphology added useful clinical information in the evaluation of shunt malfunctions.

Methods

A retrospective chart review of children operated on at Texas Children's Hospital from February 20, 2011, to June 18, 2013, for shunt obstruction was conducted. Inclusion criteria involved age 3 years or older in patients who had undergone two or more shunt revisions for intraoperatively confirmed obstructions. Patients with shunt infection but without shunt obstruction and patients with fourth ventricular shunt failure were excluded from the study. Preoperative CT or MRI results were dichotomized into two distinct categories, as determined by a radiologist's report: either dilation of the ventricular system in comparison with prior scans at points the shunt was deemed functional, or no dilation of the ventricular system in comparison such scans. Determination of the presence of shunt obstruction was assessed by findings documented by the surgeon in the operative report. Each case was then analyzed to see if the patient has a reliable pattern of ventricular dilation, or no dilation, at times of shunt obstruction.

Results

Forty-two patients (25 males and 17 females) were included in the study. There were a total of 117 patient encounters analyzed and an average of 2.79 encounters per patient. The mean age at shunt failure presentation was 10.8 years (range 3–23 years). In 4 encounters, patients presented with a CSF leak or pseudomeningocele. Twenty-seven patients (64%) consistently demonstrated dilation of the ventricular system during episodes of shunt obstruction. Four patients (10%) consistently demonstrated no dilation during episodes of shunt obstruction. Eleven patients (26%) demonstrated inconsistent changes in ventricular size at times of shunt obstruction. In those first patient encounters with shunt obstruction presenting with ventricular dilation, 92% (49 of 53) of subsequent encounters demonstrated ventricular dilation with shunt obstruction presentations.

Conclusions

Historical CT or MRI data regarding ventricular morphology patterns seen during prior examinations of shunt obstructions may inform a clinician's judgment of shunt obstruction on subsequent presentations, but they are not conclusive. In the present series, the authors found that changes in the morphology of a given patient's ventricular system when shunt obstruction occurs were often consistent and predictable, but not always. It remains imperative, however, that cranial images obtained to rule out shunt malfunction be compared with prior studies.

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Akash J. Patel, Ahilan Sivaganesan, Robert J. Bollo, Alison Brayton, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

Recent attempts to control health care costs focus on reducing or eliminating payments for complications, hospital-acquired conditions, and provider preventable conditions, with payment restrictions applied uniformly. A patient's preexisting comorbidities likely influence the perioperative complication incidence. This relationship has not previously been examined in pediatric neurosurgery.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective assessment of prospectively collected relevant patient comorbidities and morbidity and mortality events at a large pediatric neurosurgical unit over a 5-year period. The authors examined the impact of specific comorbidities and the cumulative effect of multiple comorbidities on complication incidence.

Results

A total of 1990 patients underwent 3195 procedures at the authors' institution during the 5-year study period. Overall, 396 complications were analyzed; 298 patients (15.0%) experienced at least one complication. One or more comorbidities were present in 45.9% of patients. Renal comorbidities were clearly associated with the increased incidence of complications (p = 0.02), and they were specifically associated with infection (p = 0.006). Neurological comorbidities had a borderline association with complications (p = 0.05), and they were specifically associated with death (p = 0.037). A patient's having more comorbidities did not correlate with an increased risk of a perioperative complication (p = 0.8275).

Conclusions

The complication incidence in pediatric neurosurgery is variable and may be influenced by the type of neurosurgical procedure and patient-related factors. While patient-related factors beyond the control of the provider can significantly impact complications and hospital-acquired conditions in pediatric neurosurgery, an increasing number of comorbidities do not correlate with an increased risk of complications per patient.

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Caroline Hadley, Loyola V. Gressot, Akash J. Patel, Lisa L. Wang, Ricardo J. Flores, William E. Whitehead, Thomas G. Luerssen, Andrew Jea and Robert J. Bollo

Cranial osteosarcoma is very rare in children, rendering the development of optimal treatment algorithms challenging. The authors present 3 cases of pediatric cranial osteosarcoma: a primary calvarial tumor, a cranial metastasis, and a primary osteosarcoma of the cranial base. A review of the literature demonstrates significant variation in the management of cranial osteosarcomas and the outcome for patients with these tumors. This series and literature review is presented to improve the understanding of pediatric cranial osteosarcoma and to reinforce the importance of maximal resection in optimizing outcome.

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Loyola V. Gressot, Carrie A. Mohila, Andrew Jea, Thomas G. Luerssen and Robert J. Bollo

Nonterminal myelocystocele is a rare type of spinal dysraphism characterized by a closed defect with an underlying CSF-filled cyst, either contiguous with the central spinal canal or attached to the spinal cord by a fibrovascular stalk. The authors report the unusual case of a neonate with a prenatal diagnosis of cervicothoracic nonterminal myelocystocele who underwent postnatal surgical untethering of the lesion. Pathological analysis of the excised lesion revealed neuroglial tissue with an ependymal lining associated with a mature teratoma. Three months after surgery, the patient has normal lower-extremity sensorimotor function and no evidence of bowel or bladder dysfunction. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with a nonterminal myelocystocele found to have an associated mature teratoma.

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Loyola V. Gressot, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Steven W. Hwang, Daniel H. Fulkerson, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

Cervical spondylolysis is a rare condition that results from a pars interarticularis defect. The C-6 level is the most frequently involved site in the cervical spine. Its clinical presentations range from incidental radiographic findings to neck pain and, rarely, neurological deficits. Although 150 patients with subaxial cervical spondylolysis have been reported, a mere 24 adult and pediatric patients with C-2 spondylolysis have been described. The long-term outcomes of very young children with bilateral C-2 spondylolysis are of great interest, yet only a few longitudinal studies exist.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 5 cases of bilateral C-2 spondylolysis at Texas Children's Hospital and Riley Children's Hospital; these were combined with 5 other cases in the literature, yielding a total of 10 patients. Data regarding the patients' age, sex, C2–3 angulation and displacement, associated spine anomalies, neurological deficits, treatment, and most recent follow-up were recorded.

Results

The patients' ages ranged from 3 to 36 months (mean 12.9 months). There were 6 boys and 4 girls. The C2–3 angulation, displacement, and width of pars defect were measured when available. The mean C2–3 angulation was 9.5° (range 1–34°), the mean C2–3 displacement was 4.78 mm (range 1.1–10.8 mm), and the mean width of the pars defect was 4.16 mm (range 0.9–7 mm). One patient developed myelopathy and spinal cord injury. All 10 of the patients were treated initially with conservative therapy: 3 with close observation alone, 1 with a rigid cervical collar, 4 with a Minerva jacket, 1 with a sternal-occipital-mandibular immobilizer, and 1 with a halo vest. Three patients ultimately underwent surgery for internal fixation due to progressive instability or development of neurological symptoms. All patients were neurologically intact at the last follow-up (mean 44.3 months, range 14–120 months).

Conclusions

Based on the literature and the authors' own experience, they conclude that most very young children with C-2 spondylolysis remain neurologically intact and maintain stability in long-term follow-up despite the bony defect. This defect is often an asymptomatic incidental finding and may be managed conservatively. More aggressive therapy including surgery is indicated for those patients with a neurological deficit from spinal cord compromise secondary to stenosis and local C-2 kyphosis, progressive deformity, or worsening C2–3 instability.