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David S. Hersh, Rahul Kumar, Paul Klimo Jr., Markus Bookland, and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

Late failure is a well-documented complication of cerebrospinal fluid shunt placement and, less commonly, endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). However, standards regarding the frequency of clinical and radiological follow-up in these patients have not been defined. Here, the authors report on their survey of surgeons at sites for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) or its implementation/quality improvement arm (HCRNq) to provide a cross-sectional overview of practice patterns.

METHODS

A 24-question survey was developed using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) platform and was distributed to the 138 pediatric neurosurgeons across 39 centers who participate in the HCRN or HCRNq. Survey questions were organized into three sections: 1) Demographics (5 questions), 2) Shunt Surveillance (12 questions), and 3) ETV Surveillance (7 questions).

RESULTS

A total of 122 complete responses were obtained, for an overall response rate of 88%. The majority of respondents have been in practice for more than 10 years (58%) and exclusively treat pediatric patients (79%). Most respondents consider hydrocephalus to have stabilized 1 month (21%) or 3 months (39%) after shunt surgery, and once stability is achieved, 72% then ask patients to return for routine clinical follow-up annually. Overall, 83% recommend lifelong clinical follow-up after shunt placement. Additionally, 75% obtain routine imaging studies in asymptomatic patients, although the specific imaging modality and frequency of imaging vary. The management of an asymptomatic increase in ventricle size or an asymptomatic catheter fracture also varies widely. Many respondents believe that hydrocephalus takes longer to stabilize after ETV than after shunt placement, reporting that they consider hydrocephalus to have stabilized 3 (28%), 6 (33%), or 12 (28%) months after an ETV. Although 68% of respondents have patients return annually for routine clinical follow-up after an ETV, only 56% recommend lifelong follow-up. The proportion of respondents who perform lifelong follow-up increases with greater practice experience (p = 0.01). Overall, 67% of respondents obtain routine imaging studies in asymptomatic patients after an ETV, with “rapid” MRI the study of choice for most respondents.

CONCLUSIONS

While there is a general consensus among pediatric neurosurgeons across North America that hydrocephalus patients should have long-term follow-up after shunt placement, radiological surveillance is characterized by considerable variety, as is follow-up after an ETV. Future work should focus on evaluating whether any one of these surveillance protocols is associated with improved outcomes.

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David S. Hersh, Rahul Kumar, Paul Klimo Jr., Markus Bookland, and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

Late failure is a well-documented complication of cerebrospinal fluid shunt placement and, less commonly, endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). However, standards regarding the frequency of clinical and radiological follow-up in these patients have not been defined. Here, the authors report on their survey of surgeons at sites for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) or its implementation/quality improvement arm (HCRNq) to provide a cross-sectional overview of practice patterns.

METHODS

A 24-question survey was developed using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) platform and was distributed to the 138 pediatric neurosurgeons across 39 centers who participate in the HCRN or HCRNq. Survey questions were organized into three sections: 1) Demographics (5 questions), 2) Shunt Surveillance (12 questions), and 3) ETV Surveillance (7 questions).

RESULTS

A total of 122 complete responses were obtained, for an overall response rate of 88%. The majority of respondents have been in practice for more than 10 years (58%) and exclusively treat pediatric patients (79%). Most respondents consider hydrocephalus to have stabilized 1 month (21%) or 3 months (39%) after shunt surgery, and once stability is achieved, 72% then ask patients to return for routine clinical follow-up annually. Overall, 83% recommend lifelong clinical follow-up after shunt placement. Additionally, 75% obtain routine imaging studies in asymptomatic patients, although the specific imaging modality and frequency of imaging vary. The management of an asymptomatic increase in ventricle size or an asymptomatic catheter fracture also varies widely. Many respondents believe that hydrocephalus takes longer to stabilize after ETV than after shunt placement, reporting that they consider hydrocephalus to have stabilized 3 (28%), 6 (33%), or 12 (28%) months after an ETV. Although 68% of respondents have patients return annually for routine clinical follow-up after an ETV, only 56% recommend lifelong follow-up. The proportion of respondents who perform lifelong follow-up increases with greater practice experience (p = 0.01). Overall, 67% of respondents obtain routine imaging studies in asymptomatic patients after an ETV, with “rapid” MRI the study of choice for most respondents.

CONCLUSIONS

While there is a general consensus among pediatric neurosurgeons across North America that hydrocephalus patients should have long-term follow-up after shunt placement, radiological surveillance is characterized by considerable variety, as is follow-up after an ETV. Future work should focus on evaluating whether any one of these surveillance protocols is associated with improved outcomes.

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David S. Hersh, Rahul Kumar, Kenneth A. Moore, Luke G. F. Smith, Christopher L. Tinkle, Jason Chiang, Zoltan Patay, Amar Gajjar, Asim F. Choudhri, Jorge A. Lee-Diaz, Brandy Vaughn, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Biopsies of brainstem lesions are performed to establish a diagnosis in the setting of an atypical clinical or radiological presentation, or to facilitate molecular studies. A better understanding of the safety and diagnostic yield of brainstem biopsies would help guide appropriate patient selection.

METHODS

All patients who underwent biopsy of a brainstem lesion during the period from January 2011 to June 2019 were reviewed. Demographic, radiological, surgical, and outcome data were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients underwent 65 brainstem biopsies during the study period. Overall, the median age was 7.6 years (IQR 3.9–14.2 years). Twenty-two of the 65 biopsies (34%) were open, 42 (65%) were stereotactic, and 1 was endoscopic. In 3 cases (5%), a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed, and in 9 cases (14%), a posterior fossa decompression was performed during the same operative session as the biopsy. An intraoperative MRI (iMRI) was performed in 28 cases (43%). In 3 of these cases (11%), the biopsy was off target and additional samples were obtained during the same procedure. New neurological deficits were noted in 5 cases (8%), including sensory deficits, ophthalmoparesis/nystagmus, facial weakness, and hearing loss; these deficits persisted in 2 cases and were transient in 3 cases. A pseudomeningocele occurred in 1 patient; no patients developed a CSF leak or infection. In 8 cases (13%) an additional procedure was needed to obtain a diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Brainstem biopsies are safe and effective. Target selection and approach should be a collaborative effort. iMRI can be used to assess biopsy accuracy in real time, thereby allowing any adjustment if necessary.

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Sebastian P. Norrdahl, Tamekia L. Jones, Pooja Dave, David S. Hersh, Brandy Vaughn, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

In pediatric patients, the development of a postoperative pseudomeningocele after an elective craniotomy is not unusual. Most will resolve with time, but some may require intervention. In this study, the authors analyzed patients who required intervention for a postoperative pseudomeningocele following an elective craniotomy or craniectomy and identified factors associated with the need for intervention.

METHODS

An institutional operative database of elective craniotomies and craniectomies was queried to identify all surgeries associated with development of a postoperative pseudomeningocele from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2017. Demographic and surgical data were collected, as were details regarding postoperative events and interventions during either the initial admission or upon readmission. A bivariate analysis was performed to compare patients who underwent observation with those who required intervention.

RESULTS

Following 1648 elective craniotomies or craniectomies, 84 (5.1%) clinically significant pseudomeningoceles were identified in 82 unique patients. Of these, 58 (69%) of the pseudomeningoceles were diagnosed during the index admission (8 of which persisted and resulted in readmission), and 26 (31%) were diagnosed upon readmission. Forty-nine patients (59.8% of those with a pseudomeningocele) required one or more interventions, such as lumbar puncture(s), lumbar drain placement, wound exploration, or shunt placement or revision. Only race (p < 0.01) and duraplasty (p = 0.03, OR 3.0) were associated with the need for pseudomeningocele treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

Clinically relevant pseudomeningoceles developed in 5% of patients undergoing an elective craniotomy, with 60% of these pseudomeningoceles needing some form of intervention. The need for intervention was associated with race and whether a duraplasty was performed.

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David S. Hersh, Kenneth Moore, Vincent Nguyen, Lucas Elijovich, Asim F. Choudhri, Jorge A. Lee-Diaz, Raja B. Khan, Brandy Vaughn, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Stenoocclusive cerebral vasculopathy is an infrequent delayed complication of ionizing radiation. It has been well described with photon-based radiation therapy but less so following proton-beam radiotherapy. The authors report their recent institutional experience in evaluating and treating children with radiation-induced cerebral vasculopathy.

METHODS

Eligible patients were age 21 years or younger who had a history of cranial radiation and subsequently developed vascular narrowing detected by MR arteriography that was significant enough to warrant cerebral angiography, with or without ischemic symptoms. The study period was January 2011 to March 2019.

RESULTS

Thirty-one patients met the study inclusion criteria. Their median age was 12 years, and 18 (58%) were male. Proton-beam radiation therapy was used in 20 patients (64.5%) and photon-based radiation therapy was used in 11 patients (35.5%). Patients were most commonly referred for workup as a result of incidental findings on surveillance tumor imaging (n = 23; 74.2%). Proton-beam patients had a shorter median time from radiotherapy to catheter angiography (24.1 months [IQR 16.8–35.4 months]) than patients who underwent photon-based radiation therapy (48.2 months [IQR 26.6–61.1 months]; p = 0.04). Eighteen hemispheres were revascularized in 15 patients. One surgical patient suffered a contralateral hemispheric infarct 2 weeks after revascularization; no child treated medically (aspirin) has had a stroke to date. The median follow-up duration was 29.2 months (IQR 21.8–54.0 months) from the date of the first catheter angiogram to last clinic visit.

CONCLUSIONS

All children who receive cranial radiation therapy from any source, particularly if the parasellar region was involved and the child was young at the time of treatment, require close surveillance for the development of vasculopathy. A structured and detailed evaluation is necessary to determine optimal treatment.

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Sonia Ajmera, Ryan P. Lee, Andrew Schultz, David S. Hersh, Jacob Lepard, Raymond Xu, Hassan Saad, Olutomi Akinduro, Melissa Justo, Brittany D. Fraser, Mustafa Motiwala, Pooja Dave, Brian Jimenez, David A. Wallace, Olufemi Osikoya, Sebastian Norrdahl, Jennings H. Dooley, Nickalus R. Khan, Brandy N. Vaughn, Cormac O. Maher, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to analyze the publication output of postgraduate pediatric neurosurgery fellows for a 10-year period as well as identify 25 individual highly productive pediatric neurosurgeons. The correlation between academic productivity and the site of fellowship training was studied.

METHODS

Programs certified by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships that had 5 or more graduating fellows from 2006 to 2015 were included for analysis. Fellows were queried using Scopus for publications during those 10 years with citation data through 2017. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated, comparing program rankings of faculty against fellows using the revised Hirsch index (r-index; primary) and Hirsch index (h-index; secondary). A list of 25 highly accomplished individual academicians and their fellowship training locations was compiled.

RESULTS

Sixteen programs qualified with 152 fellows from 2006 to 2015; 136 of these surgeons published a total of 2009 articles with 23,735 citations. Most publications were pediatric-specific (66.7%) clinical articles (93.1%), with middle authorship (55%). Co-investigators were more likely from residency than fellowship. There was a clustering of the top 7 programs each having total publications of around 120 or greater, publications per fellow greater than 12, more than 1200 citations, and adjusted ir10 (revised 10-year institutional h-index) and ih10 (10-year institutional h-index) values of approximately 2 or higher. Correlating faculty and fellowship program rankings yielded correlation coefficients ranging from 0.53 to 0.80. Fifteen individuals (60%) in the top 25 (by r5 index) list completed their fellowship at 1 of these 7 institutions.

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 90% of fellowship-trained pediatric neurosurgeons have 1 or more publications, but the spectrum of output is broad. There is a strong correlation between where surgeons complete their fellowships and postgraduate publications.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Kenneth Moore, Jaafar Basma, David S. Hersh, Asim F. Choudhri, Brandy Vaughn, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

An ischemic stroke following an elective craniotomy in a child is perceived to be a rare event. However, to date there are few papers on this topic. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of stroke following elective intracranial surgery at a children’s hospital.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients who developed a perioperative stroke following an elective craniotomy from 2010 through 2017. Data were collected using an institutional database that contained demographic, medical, radiological, and outcome variables.

RESULTS

A total of 1591 elective craniotomies were performed at the authors’ institution during the study period. Of these, 28 (1.8%) were followed by a perioperative stroke. Radiographic diagnosis of the infarction occurred at a median of 1.7 days (range 0–9 days) from the time of surgery, and neurological deficits were apparent within 24 hours of surgery in 18 patients (62.5%). Infarcts tended to occur adjacent to tumor resection sites (86% of cases), and in a unilateral (89%), unifocal (93%), and supratentorial (93%) location. Overall, 11 (39.3%) strokes were due to a perforating artery, 10 (35.7%) were due to a large vessel, 4 (14.3%) were venous, and 3 (10.7%) were related to hypoperfusion or embolic causes. Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) was used in 11 of the 28 cases, and 6 (55%) infarcts were not detected, all of which were deep.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of stroke following an elective craniotomy is low, with nearly all cases (86%) occurring after tumor resection. Perforator infarcts were most common but may be missed on iMRI.