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Brooke Sadler, Alex Skidmore, Jordan Gewirtz, Richard C. E. Anderson, Gabe Haller, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Christine Averill, Lissa C. Baird, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin S. Bierbrauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, Andrew H. Jea, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, Timothy B. Mapstone, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael Muhlbauer, W. Jerry Oakes, Greg Olavarria, Brent R. O’Neill, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Jodi Smith, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Gerald F. Tuite, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, David D. Limbrick Jr., and Jennifer M. Strahle

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is common in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I)–associated syringomyelia. While it is known that treatment with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) may reduce the progression of scoliosis, it is unknown if decompression with duraplasty is superior to extradural decompression.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of 1257 pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for patients with scoliosis who underwent PFD with or without duraplasty.

RESULTS

In total, 422 patients who underwent PFD had a clinical diagnosis of scoliosis. Of these patients, 346 underwent duraplasty, 51 received extradural decompression alone, and 25 were excluded because no data were available on the type of PFD. The mean clinical follow-up was 2.6 years. Overall, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of fusion or proportion of patients with curve progression between those with and those without a duraplasty. However, after controlling for age, sex, preoperative curve magnitude, syrinx length, syrinx width, and holocord syrinx, extradural decompression was associated with curve progression > 10°, but not increased occurrence of fusion. Older age at PFD and larger preoperative curve magnitude were independently associated with subsequent occurrence of fusion. Greater syrinx reduction after PFD of either type was associated with decreased occurrence of fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis undergoing PFD, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of surgical correction of scoliosis between those receiving a duraplasty and those with an extradural decompression. However, after controlling for preoperative factors including age, syrinx characteristics, and curve magnitude, patients treated with duraplasty were less likely to have curve progression than patients treated with extradural decompression. Further study is needed to evaluate the role of duraplasty in curve stabilization after PFD.

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Brooke Sadler, Alex Skidmore, Jordan Gewirtz, Richard C. E. Anderson, Gabe Haller, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Christine Averill, Lissa C. Baird, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin S. Bierbrauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, Andrew H. Jea, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, Timothy B. Mapstone, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael Muhlbauer, W. Jerry Oakes, Greg Olavarria, Brent R. O’Neill, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Jodi Smith, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Gerald F. Tuite, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, David D. Limbrick Jr., and Jennifer M. Strahle

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is common in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I)–associated syringomyelia. While it is known that treatment with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) may reduce the progression of scoliosis, it is unknown if decompression with duraplasty is superior to extradural decompression.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of 1257 pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for patients with scoliosis who underwent PFD with or without duraplasty.

RESULTS

In total, 422 patients who underwent PFD had a clinical diagnosis of scoliosis. Of these patients, 346 underwent duraplasty, 51 received extradural decompression alone, and 25 were excluded because no data were available on the type of PFD. The mean clinical follow-up was 2.6 years. Overall, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of fusion or proportion of patients with curve progression between those with and those without a duraplasty. However, after controlling for age, sex, preoperative curve magnitude, syrinx length, syrinx width, and holocord syrinx, extradural decompression was associated with curve progression > 10°, but not increased occurrence of fusion. Older age at PFD and larger preoperative curve magnitude were independently associated with subsequent occurrence of fusion. Greater syrinx reduction after PFD of either type was associated with decreased occurrence of fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis undergoing PFD, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of surgical correction of scoliosis between those receiving a duraplasty and those with an extradural decompression. However, after controlling for preoperative factors including age, syrinx characteristics, and curve magnitude, patients treated with duraplasty were less likely to have curve progression than patients treated with extradural decompression. Further study is needed to evaluate the role of duraplasty in curve stabilization after PFD.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, Chevis N. Shannon, Ron W. Reeder, Samuel Browd, James Drake, Jason S. Hauptman, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick Jr., Patrick J. McDonald, Robert Naftel, Ian F. Pollack, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, William E. Whitehead, John R. W. Kestle, John C. Wellons III, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN)

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus may be seen in patients with multisuture craniosynostosis and, less commonly, single-suture craniosynostosis. The optimal treatment for hydrocephalus in this population is unknown. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the success rate of ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) treatment and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) both with and without choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) in patients with craniosynostosis.

METHODS

Utilizing the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) Core Data Project (Registry), the authors identified all patients who underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. Descriptive statistics, demographics, and surgical outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS

In total, 42 patients underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. The median gestational age at birth was 39.0 weeks (IQR 38.0, 40.0); 55% were female and 60% were White. The median age at first craniosynostosis surgery was 0.6 years (IQR 0.3, 1.7), and at the first permanent hydrocephalus surgery it was 1.2 years (IQR 0.5, 2.5). Thirty-three patients (79%) had multiple different sutures fused, and 9 had a single suture: 3 unicoronal (7%), 3 sagittal (7%), 2 lambdoidal (5%), and 1 unknown (2%). Syndromes were identified in 38 patients (90%), with Crouzon syndrome being the most common (n = 16, 42%). Ten patients (28%) received permanent hydrocephalus surgery before the first craniosynostosis surgery. Twenty-eight patients (67%) underwent VPS treatment, with the remaining 14 (33%) undergoing ETV with or without CPC (ETV ± CPC). Within 12 months after initial hydrocephalus intervention, 14 patients (34%) required revision (8 VPS and 6 ETV ± CPC). At the most recent follow-up, 21 patients (50%) required a revision. The revision rate decreased as age increased. The overall infection rate was 5% (VPS 7%, 0% ETV ± CPC).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest prospective study reported on children with craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus in children with craniosynostosis most commonly occurs in syndromic patients and multisuture fusion. It is treated at varying ages; however, most patients undergo surgery for craniosynostosis prior to hydrocephalus treatment. While VPS treatment is performed more frequently, VPS and ETV are both reasonable options, with decreasing revision rates with increasing age, for the treatment of hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis.

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Rebecca A. Reynolds, Makayla Dixon, Stephen Gannon, CCRP, Shilin Zhao, Christopher M. Bonfield, Robert P. Naftel, John C. Wellons III, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Parent or guardian involvement is implicit in the care of pediatric patients with hydrocephalus. Some parents and guardians are more engaged than others. The relationship between socioeconomic status (SES), the level of parental concern about their child’s hydrocephalus management and future, and overall health status has not been clearly delineated. In this study, the authors sought to clarify this connection using hydrocephalus patient-reported health outcomes.

METHODS

This cross-sectional study included children with surgically managed hydrocephalus whose parent or guardian completed the validated Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire (HOQ) and Hydrocephalus Concern Questionnaire for parents (HCQ-P) on a return visit to the pediatric neurosurgery clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center between 2016 and 2018. Patients were excluded if the questionnaires were not completed in full. The calculated Overall Health Score (OHS) was used to represent the child’s global physical, emotional, cognitive, and social health. The HCQ-P was used to assess parental concern about their child. Type of insurance was a proxy for SES.

RESULTS

The HOQ and HCQ-P were administered and completed in full by 170 patient families. In the cohort, 91% of patients (n = 155) had shunt-treated hydrocephalus, and the remaining patients had undergone endoscopic third ventriculostomy. The mean (± SD) patient age was 12 ± 4 years. Half of the patients were male (n = 90, 53%), and most were Caucasian (n = 134, 79%). One in four patients lived in single-parent homes or with a designated guardian (n = 45, 26%). Public insurance and self-pay accounted for 38% of patients (n = 64), while the remaining 62% had private or military insurance. In general, parents with higher concern about their child’s medical condition indicated that their son or daughter had a higher OHS (χ2 = 17.07, p < 0.001). Patients in families with a lower SES did not have different OHSs from those with a higher SES (χ2 = 3.53, p = 0.06). However, parents with a lower SES were more worried about management of their child’s hydrocephalus and their child’s future success (χ2 = 11.49, p < 0.001). In general, parents were not preoccupied with one particular aspect of their child’s hydrocephalus management.

CONCLUSIONS

More engaged parents, regardless of their family’s SES, reported a better OHS for their child. Parents with public or self-paid insurance were more likely to report higher concern about their child’s hydrocephalus and future, but this was not associated with a difference in their child’s current health status.

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Silky Chotai, Emily W. Chan, Travis R. Ladner, Andrew T. Hale, Stephen R. Gannon, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Robert P. Naftel, and John C. Wellons

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine the timeline of syrinx regression and to identify factors mitigating syrinx resolution in pediatric patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD).

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of records from pediatric patients (< 18 years old) undergoing PFD for the treatment of CM-I/syringomyelia (SM) between 1998 and 2015. Patient demographic, clinical, radiological, and surgical variables were collected and analyzed. Radiological information was reviewed at 4 time points: 1) pre-PFD, 2) within 6 months post-PFD, 3) within 12 months post-PFD, and 4) at maximum available follow-up. Syrinx regression was defined as ≥ 50% decrease in the maximal anteroposterior syrinx diameter (MSD). The time to syrinx regression was determined using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Multivariate analysis was conducted using a Cox proportional hazards model to determine the association between preoperative, clinical, and surgery-related factors and syrinx regression.

RESULTS

The authors identified 85 patients with CM-I/SM who underwent PFD. Within 3 months post-PFD, the mean MSD regressed from 8.1 ± 3.4 mm (preoperatively) to 5.6 ± 2.9 mm within 3 months post-PFD. Seventy patients (82.4%) achieved ≥ 50% regression in MSD. The median time to ≥ 50% regression in MSD was 8 months (95% CI 4.2–11.8 months). Using a risk-adjusted multivariable Cox proportional hazards model, the patients who underwent tonsil coagulation (n = 20) had a higher likelihood of achieving ≥ 50% syrinx regression in a shorter time (HR 2.86, 95% CI 1.2–6.9; p = 0.02). Thirty-six (75%) of 45 patients had improvement in headache at 2.9 months (IQR 1.5–4.4 months).

CONCLUSIONS

The maximum reduction in syrinx size can be expected within 3 months after PFD for patients with CM-I and a syrinx; however, the syringes continue to regress over time. Tonsil coagulation was associated with early syrinx regression in this cohort. However, the role of surgical maneuvers such as tonsil coagulation and arachnoid veil identification and sectioning in the overall role of CM-I surgery remains unclear.

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Andrew T. Hale, P. David Adelson, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Brent O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, Tae Sung Park, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Chevis N. Shannon, David D. Limbrick Jr., and for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

METHODS

Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

RESULTS

The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16–0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34–1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12–0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02–2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31–3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67–5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.

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Jonathan Dallas, Evan Mercer, Rebecca A. Reynolds, John C. Wellons III, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Isolated, nondisplaced skull fractures (ISFs) are a common result of pediatric head trauma. They rarely require surgical intervention; however, many patients with these injuries are still admitted to the hospital for observation. This retrospective study investigates predictors of vomiting and ondansetron use following pediatric ISFs and the role that these factors play in the need for admission and emergency department (ED) revisits.

METHODS

The authors identified pediatric patients (< 18 years old) with a linear ISF who had presented to the ED of a single tertiary care center between 2008 and 2018. Patients with intracranial hemorrhage, significant fracture displacement, or other traumatic injuries were excluded. Outcomes included vomiting, ondansetron use, admission, and revisit following ED discharge. Both univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine significant predictors of each outcome (p < 0.05).

RESULTS

Overall, 518 patients were included in this study. The median patient age was 9.98 months, and a majority of the patients (59%) were male. The most common fracture locations were parietal (n = 293 [57%]) and occipital (n = 144 [28%]). Among the entire patient cohort, 124 patients (24%) had documented vomiting, and 64 of these patients (52%) received ondansetron. In a multivariable analysis, one of the most significant predictors of vomiting was occipital fracture location (OR 4.05, p < 0.001). In turn, and as expected, both vomiting (OR 14.42, p < 0.001) and occipital fracture location (OR 2.66, p = 0.017) were associated with increased rates of ondansetron use. A total of 229 patients (44%) were admitted to the hospital, with vomiting as the most common indication for admission (n = 59 [26%]). Moreover, 4.1% of the patients had ED revisits following initial discharge, and the most common reason was vomiting (11/21 [52%]). However, in the multivariable analysis, ondansetron use at initial presentation (and not vomiting) was the sole predictor of revisit following initial ED discharge (OR 5.05, p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, older patients and those with occipital fractures were more likely to present with vomiting and to be treated with ondansetron. Additionally, ondansetron use at initial presentation was found to be a significant predictor of revisits following ED discharge. Ondansetron could be masking recurrent vomiting in ED patients, and this should be considered when deciding which patients to observe further or discharge.

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Jaims Lim, Alan R. Tang, Campbell Liles, Alexander A. Hysong, Andrew T. Hale, Christopher M. Bonfield, Robert P. Naftel, John C. Wellons III, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Many studies have aimed to determine the most clinically effective surgical intervention for hydrocephalus. However, the costs associated with each treatment option are poorly understood. In this study, the authors conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, calculating the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS), endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), and ETV with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) in an effort to better understand the clinical effectiveness and costs associated with treating hydrocephalus.

METHODS

The study cohort includes patients under the age of 18 who were initially treated for hydrocephalus between January 2012 and January 2015 at the authors’ institution. Overall treatment costs were calculated using patient-level hospitalization costs and professional fees reimbursable to the hospital and directly related to the initial and follow-up (postoperative day 1 to 12 months) treatment of hydrocephalus. TreeAge Pro was used to conduct the cost-effectiveness analyses.

RESULTS

A total of 147 patients were identified. Based on the initial intervention for hydrocephalus, their cases were classified as follows: 113 VPS, 14 ETV, and 20 ETV/CPC. During the initial intervention, VPS patients required a longer length of stay at 5.6 days, compared to ETV/CPC (3.35 days) and ETV (2.36 days) patients. Failure rates for all treatment options ranged from 29% to 45%, leading to recurrent hydrocephalus and additional surgical intervention between postoperative day 1 and 12 months. Cost-effectiveness analyses found ETV to be less costly and more clinically effective, with an ICER of $94,797 compared to VPS ($130,839) and ETV/CPC ($126,394). However, when stratified by etiology, VPS was found to be more clinically effective and cost-effective in both the myelomeningocele and posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus patient groups with an incremental cost per clinical unit of effectiveness (success or failure of intervention) of $76,620 compared to ETV and ETV/CPC. However, when assessing cases categorized as “other etiologies,” ETV was found to be more cost-effective per clinical unit, with an ICER of $60,061 compared to ETV/CPC ($93,350) and VPS ($142,135).

CONCLUSIONS

This study is one of the first attempts at quantifying the patient-level hospitalization costs associated with surgical management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients treated in the United States. The results indicate that the conversation regarding CSF diversion techniques must be patient-specific and consider etiology as well as any previous surgical intervention. Again, these findings are short-run observations, and a long-term follow-up study should be conducted to assess the cost of treating hydrocephalus over the lifetime of a patient.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, Rachel Pellegrino, Jillian Berkman, Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, and John C. Wellons III

OBJECTIVE

Both the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery (AANS/CNS Pediatric Section) and the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) annual meetings provide a platform for pediatric neurosurgeons to present, discuss, and disseminate current academic research. An ultimate goal of these meetings is to publish presented results in peer-reviewed journals. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the publication rates of oral presentations from the 2009, 2010, and 2011 AANS/CNS Pediatric Section and ISPN annual meetings in peer-reviewed journals.

METHODS

All oral presentations from the 2009, 2010, and 2011 AANS/CNS Pediatric Section and ISPN annual meetings were reviewed. Abstracts were obtained from the AANS/CNS Pediatric Section and ISPN conference proceedings, which are available online. Author and title information were used to search PubMed to identify those abstracts that had progressed to publication in peer-reviewed journals. The title of the journal, year of the publication, and authors’ country of origin were also recorded.

RESULTS

Overall, 60.6% of the presented oral abstracts from the AANS/CNS Pediatric Section meetings progressed to publication in peer-reviewed journals, as compared with 40.6% of the ISPN presented abstracts (p = 0.0001). The journals in which the AANS/CNS Pediatric Section abstract-based publications most commonly appeared were Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (52%), Child’s Nervous System (11%), and Journal of Neurosurgery (8%). The ISPN abstracts most often appeared in the journals Child’s Nervous System (29%), Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (14%), and Neurosurgery (9%). Overall, more than 90% of the abstract-based articles were published within 4 years after presentation of the abstracts on which they were based.

CONCLUSIONS

Oral abstract presentations at two annual pediatric neurosurgery meetings have publication rates in peer-reviewed journal comparable to those for oral abstracts at other national and international neurosurgery meetings. The vast majority of abstract-based papers are published within 4 years of the meeting at which the abstract was presented; however, the AANS/CNS Pediatric Section abstracts are published at a significantly higher rate than ISPN abstracts, which could indicate the different meeting sizes, research goals, and resources of US authors compared with those of authors from other countries.

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Silky Chotai, Bradley S. Guidry, Emily W. Chan, Katherine D. Sborov, Stephen Gannon, Chevis Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, John C. Wellons III, and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

Readmission and return to operating room after surgery are increasingly being used as a proxy for quality of care. Nearly 60% of these readmissions are unplanned, which translates into billions of dollars in health care costs. The authors set out to analyze the incidence of readmission at their center, to define causes of unplanned readmission, and to determine the preoperative and surgical variables associated with readmissions following pediatric neurosurgery.

METHODS

A total of 536 children who underwent operations for neurosurgical diagnoses between 2012 and 2015 and who were later readmitted were included in the final analysis. Unplanned readmissions were defined to have occurred as a result of complications within 90 days after index surgery. Patient records were retrospectively reviewed to determine the primary diagnosis, surgery indication, and cause of readmission and return to operating room. The cost for index hospitalization, readmission episode, and total cost were derived based on the charges obtained from administrative data. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted.

RESULTS

Of 536 patients readmitted in total, 17.9% (n = 96) were readmitted within 90 days. Of the overall readmissions, 11.9% (n = 64) were readmitted within 30 days, and 5.97% (n = 32) were readmitted between 31 and 90 days. The median duration between discharge and readmission was 20 days (first quartile [Q1]: 9 days, third quartile [Q3]: 36 days). The most common reason for readmission was shunt related (8.2%, n = 44), followed by wound infection (4.7%, n = 25). In the risk-adjusted multivariable logistic regression model for total 90-day readmission, patients with the following characteristics: younger age (p = 0.001, OR 0.886, 95% CI 0.824–0.952); “other” (nonwhite, nonblack) race (p = 0.024, OR 5.49, 95% CI 1.246–24.2); and those born preterm (p = 0.032, OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–4.12) had higher odds of being readmitted within 90 days after discharge. The total median cost for patients undergoing surgery in this study cohort was $11,520 (Q1: $7103, Q3: $19,264). For the patients who were readmitted, the median cost for a readmission episode was $8981 (Q1: $5051, Q3: $18,713).

CONCLUSIONS

Unplanned 90-day readmissions in pediatric neurosurgery are primarily due to CSF-related complications. Patients with the following characteristics: young age at presentation; “other” race; and children born preterm have a higher likelihood of being readmitted within 90 days after surgery. The median cost was > $8000, which suggests that the readmission episode can be as expensive as the index hospitalization. Clearly, readmission reduction has the potential for significant cost savings in pediatric neurosurgery. Future efforts, such as targeted education related to complication signs, should be considered in the attempt to reduce unplanned events. Given the single-center, retrospective study design, the results of this study are primarily applicable to this population and cannot necessarily be generalized to other institutions without further study.