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Franz E. Babl, Mark D. Lyttle, Natalie Phillips, Amit Kochar, Sarah Dalton, John A. Cheek, Jeremy Furyk, Jocelyn Neutze, Silvia Bressan, Amanda Williams, Stephen J. C. Hearps, MBiostat, Ed Oakley, Gavin A. Davis, Stuart R. Dalziel, and Meredith L. Borland

OBJECTIVE

Current clinical decision rules (CDRs) guiding the use of CT scanning in pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) assessment generally exclude children with ventricular shunts (VSs). There is limited evidence as to the risk of abnormalities found on CT scans or clinically important TBI (ciTBI) in this population. The authors sought to determine the frequency of these outcomes and the presence of CDR predictor variables in children with VSs.

METHODS

The authors undertook a planned secondary analysis on children with VSs included in a prospective external validation of 3 CDRs for TBI in children presenting to 10 emergency departments in Australia and New Zealand. They analyzed differences in presenting features, management and acute outcomes (TBI on CT and ciTBI) between groups with and without VSs, and assessed the presence of CDR predictors in children with a VS.

RESULTS

A total of 35 of 20,137 children (0.2%) with TBI had a VS; only 2 had a Glasgow Coma Scale score < 15. Overall, 49% of patients with a VS underwent CT scanning compared with 10% of those without a VS. One patient had a finding of TBI on CT scanning, with positive predictor variables on CDRs. This patient had a ciTBI. No patient required neurosurgery. For children with and without a VS, the frequency of ciTBI was 2.9% (95% CI 0.1%–14.9%) compared with 1.4% (95% CI 1.2%–1.6%) (difference 1.5% [95% CI −4.0% to 7.0%]), and TBI on CT 2.9% (95% CI 0.1%–14.9%) compared with 2.0% (95% CI 1.8%–2.2%) (difference 0.9%, 95% CI −4.6% to 6.4%).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ data provide further support that the risk of TBI is similar for children with and without a VS.

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Jeff Ehresman, Zach Pennington, James Feghali, Andrew Schilling, Andrew Hersh, Bethany Hung, Daniel Lubelski, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

More than 8000 patients are treated annually for vertebral column tumors, of whom roughly two-thirds will be discharged to an inpatient facility (nonroutine discharge). Nonroutine discharge is associated with increased care costs as well as delays in discharge and poorer patient outcomes. In this study, the authors sought to develop a prediction model of nonroutine discharge in the population of vertebral column tumor patients.

METHODS

Patients treated for primary or metastatic vertebral column tumors at a single comprehensive cancer center were identified for inclusion. Data were gathered regarding surgical procedure, patient demographics, insurance status, and medical comorbidities. Frailty was assessed using the modified 5-item Frailty Index (mFI-5) and medical complexity was assessed using the modified Charlson Comorbidity Index (mCCI). Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of nonroutine discharge, and multivariable linear regression was used to identify predictors of prolonged length of stay (LOS). The discharge model was internally validated using 1000 bootstrapped samples.

RESULTS

The authors identified 350 patients (mean age 57.0 ± 13.6 years, 53.1% male, and 67.1% treated for metastatic vs primary disease). Significant predictors of prolonged LOS included higher mCCI score (β = 0.74; p = 0.026), higher serum absolute neutrophil count (β = 0.35; p = 0.001), lower hematocrit (β = −0.34; p = 0.001), use of a staged operation (β = 4.99; p < 0.001), occurrence of postoperative pulmonary embolism (β = 3.93; p = 0.004), and surgical site infection (β = 9.93; p < 0.001). Significant predictors of nonroutine discharge included emergency admission (OR 3.09; p = 0.001), higher mFI-5 score (OR 1.90; p = 0.001), lower serum albumin level (OR 0.43 per g/dL; p < 0.001), and operations with multiple stages (OR 4.10; p < 0.001). The resulting statistical model was deployed as a web-based calculator (https://jhuspine4.shinyapps.io/Nonroutine_Discharge_Tumor/).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that nonroutine discharge of patients with surgically treated vertebral column tumors was predicted by emergency admission, increased frailty, lower serum albumin level, and staged surgical procedures. The resulting web-based calculator tool may be useful clinically to aid in discharge planning for spinal oncology patients by preoperatively identifying patients likely to require placement in an inpatient facility postoperatively.

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Roxanna M. Garcia, Taemin Oh, Tyler S. Cole, Benjamin K. Hendricks, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Proximity of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) to tracts and cranial nerve nuclei make it costly to transgress normal tissue in accessing the lesion or disrupting normal tissue adjacent to the lesion in the separation plane. This interplay between tissue sensitivity and extreme eloquence makes it difficult to avoid leaving a remnant on occasion. Recurrences require operative intervention, which may increase morbidity, lengthen recovery, and add to overall costs. An approximately 20-year experience with patients with recurrent BSCM lesions following primary microsurgical resection was reviewed.

METHODS

A prospectively maintained database of 802 patients who underwent microsurgical resection of cerebral cavernous malformations during 1997–2018 was queried to identify 213 patients with BSCMs. A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients with recurrent BSCM after primary resection who required a second surgery.

RESULTS

Fourteen of 213 patients (6.6%) underwent repeat resection for recurrent BSCM. Thirty-four hemorrhagic events were observed among these 14 patients over 576 patient-years (recurrent hemorrhage rate, 5.9% per year; median discrete hemorrhagic events, 2; median time to rehemorrhage, 897 days). BSCM occurred in the pons in 10 cases, midbrain in 2 cases, and medulla in 2 cases. A blind spot in the operative corridor was the most common cause of residual BSCM (9 patients). All recurrent BSCMs were removed completely, although 2 patients each required 2 operations to treat recurrence. Twelve patients had unchanged or improved modified Rankin Scale scores at last clinical evaluation compared with admission, and 2 patients had worse scores. Recurrence was more common among patients who were operated on in the first versus the second half of the series (8.5% vs 4.7%).

CONCLUSIONS

The 6.6% rate of BSCM recurrence requiring reoperation reflects the fine lines between complete resection and recurrence and between safe and harmful surgery. The detection of remnants is difficult postoperatively and remains so even at 6 months when the resection bed has healed. The 5.9% annual hemorrhage risk associated with recurrent BSCM in this experience is consistent with that reported for unoperated BSCMs. The right-angle method helps to anticipate blind spots and meticulously inspect the resection cavity for residual BSCM during surgery. A low percentage of recurrent BSCM (5%–10%) ensures ongoing effort toward an acceptable balance of safety and completeness.

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Mitchell W. Couldwell, Samuel Cheshier, Philipp Taussky, Vance Mortimer, and William T. Couldwell

Moyamoya is an uncommon disease that presents with stenoocclusion of the major vasculature at the base of the brain and associated collateral vessel formation. Many pediatric patients with moyamoya present with transient ischemic attacks or complete occlusions. The authors report the case of a 9-year-old girl who presented with posterior fossa hemorrhage and was treated with an emergency suboccipital craniotomy for evacuation. After emergency surgery, an angiogram was performed, and the patient was diagnosed with moyamoya disease. Six months later, the patient was treated for moyamoya using direct and indirect revascularization; after surgery there was excellent vascularization in both regions of the bypass and no further progression of moyamoya changes. This case illustrates a rare example of intracerebral hemorrhage associated with moyamoya changes in the posterior vascularization in a pediatric patient and subsequent use of direct and indirect revascularization to reduce the risk of future hemorrhage and moyamoya progression.

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João Ferreira de Melo Neto, Eduardo E. Pelinca da Costa, Nilson Pinheiro Junior, André L. Batista, Georges Rodesch, Serge Bracard, and Antônio G. Oliveira

OBJECTIVE

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are abnormal, acquired arteriovenous connections within the dural leaflets. Their associated symptoms may be mild or severe and are related to the patient’s venous anatomy. With the hypothesis that the patient’s venous anatomy determines the development of symptoms, the authors aimed to identify which venous anatomy elements are important in the development of major symptoms in patients with a DAVF.

METHODS

A multicenter study was performed based on the retrospective analysis of cerebral angiographies with systematic assessment of brain drainage pathways (including fistula drainage) in patients over 18 years of age with a single DAVF. The patients were divided into two groups: those with minor (group 1, n = 112) and those with major (group 2, n = 89) symptoms. Group 2 was subdivided into two groups: patients with hemorrhage (group 2a, n = 47) and patients with severe nonhemorrhagic symptoms (group 2b, n = 42).

RESULTS

The prevalence of stenosis in DAVF venous drainage and the identification of tiny anastomoses between venous territories were significantly higher in group 2 (32.6% and 19.1%, respectively) compared with group 1 (2.68% and 5.36%, respectively). Stenosis of DAVF venous drainage was significantly more frequent in group 2a than in group 2b (51.1% vs 11.9%, p < 0.001). Group 2b patients had increased prevalence of shared use of the cerebral main drainage pathway (85.0% vs 53.2%, p = 0.002), the absence of an alternative route (45.0% vs 17.0%, p = 0.004), and the presence of contrast stagnation (62.5% vs 29.8%, p = 0.002) compared with group 2a patients. In patients with high-grade fistulas, the group with major symptoms had increased prevalence of a single draining direction (31.3% vs 8.33%, p = 0.003), stenosis in the draining vein (35.0% vs 6.25%, p = 0.000), the absence of an alternative pathway for brain drainage (31.3% vs 12.5%, p = 0.017), and the presence of contrast stagnation (48.8% vs 22.9%, p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS

Major symptoms were observed when normal brain tissue venous drainage was impaired by competition with DAVF (predominance in group 2b) or when DAVF venous drainage had anatomical characteristics that hindered drainage, with consequent venous hypertension on the venous side of the DAVF (predominance in group 2a). The same findings were observed when comparing two groups of patients with high-grade lesions: those with major versus those with minor symptoms.

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Omaditya Khanna, Lohit Velagapudi, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Michael B. Avery, Nohra Chalouhi, Richard F. Schmidt, Kalyan Sajja, M. Reid Gooch, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Robert H. Rosenwasser, and Pascal M. Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors aimed to investigate procedural and clinical outcomes between radial and femoral artery access in patients undergoing thrombectomy for acute stroke.

METHODS

The authors conducted a single-institution retrospective analysis of 104 patients who underwent mechanical thrombectomy, 52 via transradial access and 52 via traditional transfemoral access. They analyzed various procedural and clinical metrics between the two patient cohorts.

RESULTS

There was no difference between patient demographics or presenting symptoms of stroke severity between patients treated via transradial or transfemoral access. The mean procedural time was similar between the two treatment cohorts: 60.35 ± 36.81 minutes for the transradial group versus 65.50 ± 29.92 minutes for the transfemoral group (p = 0.451). The mean total fluoroscopy time for the procedure was similar between the two patient cohorts (20.31 ± 11.68 for radial vs 18.49 ± 11.78 minutes for femoral, p = 0.898). The majority of patients underwent thrombolysis in cerebral infarction score 2b/3 revascularization, regardless of access site (92.3% for radial vs 94.2% for femoral, p = 0.696). There was no significant difference in the incidence of access site or periprocedural complications between the transradial and transfemoral cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Acute stroke intervention performed via transradial access is feasible and effective, with no significant difference in procedural and clinical outcomes compared with traditional transfemoral access. Larger studies are required to further validate the efficacy and limitations of transradial access for neurointerventional procedures.

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Uma V. Mahajan, Harsh Wadhwa, Parastou Fatemi, Samantha Xu, Judy Shan, Deborah L. Benzil, and Corinna C. Zygourakis

OBJECTIVE

Publications are key for advancement within academia. Although women are underrepresented in academic neurosurgery, the rates of women entering residency, achieving board certification, and publishing papers are increasing. The goal of this study was to assess the current status of women in academic neurosurgery publications. Specifically, this study sought to 1) survey female authorship rates in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS [not including JNS: Spine or JNS: Pediatrics]) and Neurosurgery from 2010 to 2019; 2) analyze whether double-blind peer review (started in Neurosurgery in 2011) altered female authorship rates relative to single-blind review (JNS); and 3) evaluate how female authorship rates compared with the number of women entering neurosurgery residency and obtaining neurosurgery board certification.

METHODS

Genders of the first and last authors for JNS and Neurosurgery articles from 2010 to 2019 were obtained. Data were also gathered on the number and percentage of women entering neurosurgery residency and women obtaining American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS) certification between 2010 and 2019.

RESULTS

Women accounted for 13.4% (n = 570) of first authors and 6.8% (n = 240) of last authors in JNS and Neurosurgery publications. No difference in rates of women publishing existed between the two journals (first authors: 13.0% JNS vs 13.9% Neurosurgery, p = 0.29; last authors: 7.3% JNS vs 6.0% Neurosurgery, p = 0.25). No difference existed between women first or last authors in Neurosurgery before and after initiation of double-blind review (p = 0.066). Significant concordance existed between the gender of first and last authors: in publications with a woman last author, the odds of the first author being a woman was increased by twofold (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.43–3.13], p = 0.0001). Women represented a lower proportion of authors of invited papers (8.6% of first authors and 3.1% of last authors were women) compared with noninvited papers (14.1% of first authors and 7.4% of last authors were women) (first authors: OR 0.576 [95% CI 0.410–0.794], p = 0.0004; last authors: OR 0.407 [95% CI 0.198–0.751], p = 0.001). The proportion of women US last authors (7.4%) mirrors the percentage of board-certified women neurosurgeons (5.4% in 2010 and 6.8% in 2019), while the percentage of women US first authors (14.3%) is less than that for women entering neurosurgical residency (11.2% in 2009 and 23.6% in 2018).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first report of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The authors found that single- versus double-blind peer review did not impact female authorship rates at two top neurosurgical journals.

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Patrick J. Karas, Robert Y. North, Visish M. Srinivasan, Nathan R. Lindquist, K. Kelly Gallagher, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Daniel Yoshor, and Peter Kan

The classic presentation of a carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF) is unilateral painful proptosis, chemosis, and vision loss. Just as the goal of treatment for a dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) is obliteration of the entire fistulous connection and the proximal draining vein, the modern treatment of CCF is endovascular occlusion of the cavernous sinus via a transvenous or transarterial route. Here, the authors present the case of a woman with a paracavernous dAVF mimicking the clinical and radiographic presentation of a CCF. Without any endovascular route available to access the fistulous connection and venous drainage, the authors devised a novel direct hybrid approach by performing an endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal direct puncture and Onyx embolization of the fistula.

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J. Harley Astin, Christopher G. Wilkerson, Andrew T. Dailey, Benjamin J. Ellis, and Douglas L. Brockmeyer

OBJECTIVE

Instability of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) is a well-known finding in patients with Down syndrome (DS); however, the relative contributions of bony morphology versus ligamentous laxity responsible for abnormal CCJ motion are unknown. Using finite element modeling, the authors of this study attempted to quantify those relative differences.

METHODS

Two CCJ finite element models were created for age-matched pediatric patients, a patient with DS and a control without DS. Soft tissues and ligamentous structures were added based on bony landmarks from the CT scans. Ligament stiffness values were assigned using published adult ligament stiffness properties. Range of motion (ROM) testing determined that model behavior most closely matched pediatric cadaveric data when ligament stiffness values were scaled down to 25% of those found in adults. These values, along with those assigned to the other soft-tissue materials, were identical for each model to ensure that the only variable between the two was the bone morphology. The finite element models were then subjected to three types of simulations to assess ROM, anterior-posterior (AP) translation displacement, and axial tension.

RESULTS

The DS model exhibited more laxity than the normal model at all levels for all of the cardinal ROMs and AP translation. For the CCJ, the flexion-extension, lateral bending, axial rotation, and AP translation values predicted by the DS model were 40.7%, 52.1%, 26.1%, and 39.8% higher, respectively, than those for the normal model. When simulating axial tension, the soft-tissue structural stiffness values predicted by the DS and normal models were nearly identical.

CONCLUSIONS

The increased laxity exhibited by the DS model in the cardinal ROMs and AP translation, along with the nearly identical soft-tissue structural stiffness values exhibited in axial tension, calls into question the previously held notion that ligamentous laxity is the sole explanation for craniocervical instability in DS.

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Dominic Amara, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Shane Burch, Vedat Deviren, Christopher P. Ames, Bobby Tay, Sigurd H. Berven, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Radiculopathy from the fractional curve, usually from L3 to S1, can create severe disability. However, treatment methods of the curve vary. The authors evaluated the effect of adding more levels of interbody fusion during treatment of the fractional curve.

METHODS

A single-institution retrospective review of adult patients treated for scoliosis between 2006 and 2016 was performed. Inclusion criteria were as follows: fractional curves from L3 to S1 > 10°, ipsilateral radicular symptoms concordant on the fractional curve concavity side, patients who underwent at least 1 interbody fusion at the level of the fractional curve, and a minimum 1-year follow-up. Primary outcomes included changes in fractional curve correction, lumbar lordosis change, pelvic incidence − lumbar lordosis mismatch change, scoliosis major curve correction, and rates of revision surgery and postoperative complications. Secondary analysis compared the same outcomes among patients undergoing posterior, anterior, and lateral approaches for their interbody fusion.

RESULTS

A total of 78 patients were included. There were no significant differences in age, sex, BMI, prior surgery, fractional curve degree, pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence, pelvic incidence − lumbar lordosis mismatch, sagittal vertical axis, coronal balance, scoliotic curve magnitude, proportion of patients undergoing an osteotomy, or average number of levels fused among the groups. The mean follow-up was 35.8 months (range 12–150 months). Patients undergoing more levels of interbody fusion had more fractional curve correction (7.4° vs 12.3° vs 12.1° for 1, 2, and 3 levels; p = 0.009); greater increase in lumbar lordosis (−1.8° vs 6.2° vs 13.7°, p = 0.003); and more scoliosis major curve correction (13.0° vs 13.7° vs 24.4°, p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences among the groups with regard to postoperative complications (overall rate 47.4%, p = 0.85) or need for revision surgery (overall rate 30.7%, p = 0.25). In the secondary analysis, patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) had a greater increase in lumbar lordosis (9.1° vs −0.87° for ALIF vs transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [TLIF], p = 0.028), but also higher revision surgery rates unrelated to adjacent-segment pathology (25% vs 4.3%, p = 0.046). Higher ALIF revision surgery rates were driven by rod fracture in the majority (55%) of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

More levels of interbody fusion resulted in increased lordosis, scoliosis curve correction, and fractional curve correction. However, additional levels of interbody fusion up to 3 levels did not result in more postoperative complications or morbidity. ALIF resulted in a greater lumbar lordosis increase than TLIF, but ALIF had higher revision surgery rates.