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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Thomas J. Wilson, Zarina S. Ali, Ryan P. Brennan, Kelly J. Bridges, Tannaz Guivatchian, Ghaith Habboub, Ajit A. Krishnaney, Giuseppe Lanzino, Kendall A. Snyder, Tracy M. Flanders, Khoi D. Than and Aditya S. Pandey

OBJECTIVE

Gastrostomy tube placement can temporarily seed the peritoneal cavity with bacteria and thus theoretically increases the risk of shunt infection when the two procedures are performed contemporaneously. The authors hypothesized that gastrostomy tube placement would not increase the risk of ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection. The object of this study was to test this hypothesis by utilizing a large patient cohort combined from multiple institutions.

METHODS

A retrospective study of all adult patients admitted to five institutions with a diagnosis of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage between January 2005 and January 2015 was performed. The primary outcome of interest was ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection. Variables, including gastrostomy tube placement, were tested for their association with this outcome. Standard statistical methods were utilized.

RESULTS

The overall cohort consisted of 432 patients, 47% of whom had undergone placement of a gastrostomy tube. The overall shunt infection rate was 9%. The only variable that predicted shunt infection was gastrostomy tube placement (p = 0.03, OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.07–4.08), which remained significant in the multivariate analysis (p = 0.04, OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.04–3.97). The greatest proportion of shunts that became infected had been placed more than 2 weeks (25%) and 1–2 weeks (18%) prior to gastrostomy tube placement, but the temporal relationship between shunt and gastrostomy was not a significant predictor of shunt infection.

CONCLUSIONS

Gastrostomy tube placement significantly increases the risk of ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection.

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Thomas J. Wilson, Kathleen E. McCoy, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Sergio L. Molina, Matthew D. Smyth and Stephen E. Sullivan

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper is to compare the accuracy of the freehand technique versus the use of intraoperative guidance (either ultrasound guidance or frameless stereotaxy) for placement of parietooccipital ventricular catheters and to determine factors associated with reduced proximal shunt failure.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study included all patients from 2 institutions who underwent a ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting procedure in which a new parietooccipital ventricular catheter was placed between January 2005 and December 2013. Data abstracted for each patient included age, sex, method of ventricular catheter placement, side of ventricular catheter placement, Evans ratio, and bifrontal ventricular span. Postoperative radiographic studies were reviewed for accuracy of ventricular catheter placement. Medical records were also reviewed for evidence of shunt failure requiring revision. Standard statistical methods were used for analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 257 patients were included in the study: 134 from the University of Michigan and 123 from Washington University in St. Louis. Accurate ventricular catheter placement was achieved in 81.2% of cases in which intraoperative guidance was used versus 67.3% when the freehand technique was used. Increasing age reduced the likelihood of accurate catheter placement (OR 0.983, 95% CI 0.971–0.995; p = 0.005), while the use of intraoperative guidance significantly increased the likelihood (OR 2.809, 95% CI 1.406–5.618; p = 0.016). During the study period, 108 patients (42.0%) experienced shunt failure, 79 patients (30.7%) had failure involving the proximal catheter, and 53 patients (20.6%) had distal failure (valve or distal catheter). Increasing age reduced the likelihood of being free from proximal shunt failure (OR 0.983, 95% CI 0.970–0.995; p = 0.008), while both the use of intraoperative guidance (OR 2.385, 95% CI 1.227–5.032; p = 0.011), and accurate ventricular catheter placement (OR 3.424, 95% CI 1.796–6.524; p = 0.009) increased the likelihood.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of intraoperative guidance during parietooccipital ventricular catheter placement as part of a CSF shunt system significantly increases the likelihood of accurate catheter placement and subsequently reduces the rate of proximal shunt failure.

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Kyle T. Johnson, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Richard C. E. Anderson, Thomas J. Wilson, Tejas Karnati, Mohannad Ibrahim, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

Our understanding of pediatric cervical spine development remains incomplete. The purpose of this analysis was to quantitatively define cervical spine growth in a population of children with normal CT scans.

METHODS

A total of 1458 children older than 1 year and younger than 18 years of age who had undergone a cervical spine CT scan at the authors' institution were identified. Subjects were separated by sex and age (in years) into 34 groups. Following this assignment, subjects within each group were randomly selected for inclusion until a target of 15 subjects in each group had been measured. Linear measurements were performed on the midsagittal image of the cervical spine. Twenty-three unique measurements were obtained for each subject.

RESULTS

Data showed that normal vertical growth of the pediatric cervical spine continues up to 18 years of age in boys and 14 years of age in girls. Approximately 75% of the vertical growth occurs throughout the subaxial spine and 25% occurs across the craniovertebral region. The C-2 body is the largest single-segment contributor to vertical growth, but the subaxial vertebral bodies and disc spaces also contribute. Overall vertical growth of the cervical spine throughout childhood is dependent on individual vertebral body growth as well as vertical growth of the disc spaces. The majority of spinal canal diameter growth occurs by 4 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' morphometric analyses establish parameters for normal pediatric cervical spine growth up to 18 years of age. These data should be considered when evaluating children for potential surgical intervention and provide a basis of comparison for studies investigating the effects of cervical spine instrumentation and fusion on subsequent growth.

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Michael J. Cools, Wajd N. Al-Holou, William R. Stetler Jr., Thomas J. Wilson, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim, Frank La Marca, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Filum terminale lipomas (FTLs) are being identified with increasing frequency due to the increasing utilization of MRI. Although an FTL may be associated with tethered cord syndrome (TCS), in many cases FTLs are diagnosed incidentally in patients without any symptoms of TCS. The natural history of FTLs is not well defined.

Methods

The authors searched the clinical and imaging records at a single institution over a 14-year interval to identify patients with FTLs. For patients with an FTL, the clinical records were reviewed for indication for imaging, presenting symptoms, perceived need for surgery, and clinical outcome. A natural history analysis was performed using all patients with more than 6 months of clinical follow-up.

Results

A total of 436 patients with FTL were identified. There were 217 males and 219 females. Of these patients, 282 (65%) were adults and 154 (35%) were children. Symptoms of TCS were present in 22 patients (5%). Fifty-two patients underwent surgery for FTL (12%). Sixty-four patients (15%) had a low-lying conus and 21 (5%) had a syrinx. The natural history analysis included 249 patients with a mean follow-up time of 3.5 years. In the follow-up period, only 1 patient developed new symptoms.

Conclusions

Filum terminale lipomas are a common incidental finding on spinal MRI, and most patients present without associated symptoms. The untreated natural history is generally benign for asymptomatic patients.

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Cormac O. Maher, Hugh J. L. Garton, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Jonathan D. Trobe, Karin M. Muraszko and Eric M. Jackson

Object

Arachnoid cysts may occasionally be associated with subdural hygromas. The management of these concurrent findings is controversial.

Methods

The authors reviewed their experience with arachnoid cysts and identified 8 patients with intracranial arachnoid cysts and an associated subdural hygroma. The medical records and images for these patients were also examined.

Results

In total, 8 patients presented with concurrent subdural hygroma and arachnoid cyst. Of these 8 patients, 6 presented with headaches and 4 had nausea and vomiting. Six patients had a history of trauma. One patient was treated surgically at the time of initial presentation, and 7 patients were managed without surgery. All patients experienced complete resolution of their presenting signs and symptoms.

Conclusions

Subdural hygroma may lead to symptomatic presentation for otherwise asymptomatic arachnoid cysts. The natural course of cyst-associated subdural hygromas, even when symptomatic, is generally benign, and symptom resolution can be expected in most cases. The authors suggest that symptomatic hygroma is not an absolute indication for surgical treatment and that expectant management can result in good outcomes in many cases.

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Michael J. Cools, Wajd N. Al-Holou, William R. Stetler Jr., Frank La Marca and Juan M. Valdivia-Valdivia

Sacral fractures are rare and seldom result in formation of a sacral pseudomeningocele. Treatment of these pseudomeningoceles usually consists of conservative management with flat bedrest or open operative management. The authors describe the case of a 55-year-old woman with an anterior sacral pseudomeningocele that was successfully treated using a lumbar drain for temporary continuous CSF drainage. The patient first presented to an outside institution several days after sacral trauma from an ice skating fall. Initial symptoms included throbbing headaches relieved by lying flat. Head and cervical spine CT demonstrated no abnormality. As symptoms worsened, she presented to another institution where MRI of the lumbar spine indicated sacral fracture with pseudomeningocele. The patient subsequently transferred to the authors' facility, where symptoms included headaches and occasional mild sacral pain. Given her headaches and the authors' concern for CSF leak, another head CT scan was performed. This revealed no subdural hematoma or other abnormality. A subsequent CT myelogram revealed an anterior sacral pseudomeningocele at S3–4 with an anterior irregular linear filling defect, likely representing torn dura. Treatment included placement of a lumbar drain (10 ml/hr) and flat bedrest. Resolution of the CSF leak occurred on postprocedure Day 9. At the 4-week follow-up visit, the patient had no clinical symptoms of CSF leak and no neurological complaints. To our knowledge, this is the first description of temporary continuous CSF drainage used to treat a posttraumatic sacral pseudomeningocele. This technique may reduce the need for potentially complicated surgical repair of sacral fractures associated with CSF leak in select patients.

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Sohum Desai, Dimple Patel and Kiran Desai

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Thomas J. Wilson, William R. Stetler Jr., Wajd N. Al-Holou and Stephen E. Sullivan

Object

The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of 3 methods of ventricular catheter placement during CSF shunt operations: the freehand technique using surface anatomy, ultrasonic guidance, and stereotactic neuronavigation.

Methods

This retrospective cohort study included all patients from a single institution who underwent a ventricular CSF shunting procedure in which a new ventricular catheter was placed between January 2005 and March 2010. Data abstracted for each patient included age, sex, diagnosis, method of ventricular catheter placement, site and side of ventricular catheter placement, Evans ratio, and bifrontal ventricular span. Postoperative radiographic studies were reviewed for accuracy of ventricular catheter placement. Medical records were also reviewed for evidence of shunt failure requiring revision through December 2011. Statistical analysis was then performed comparing the 3 methods of ventricular catheter placement and to determine risk factors for inaccurate placement.

Results

There were 249 patients included in the study; 170 ventricular catheters were freehand passed, 51 were placed using stereotactic neuronavigation, and 28 were placed under intraoperative ultrasonic guidance. There was a statistically significant difference between freehand catheters and stereotactic-guided catheters (p < 0.001), as well as between freehand catheters and ultrasound-guided catheters (p < 0.001). The only risk factor for inaccurate placement identified in this study was use of the freehand technique. The use of stereotactic neuronavigation and ultrasonic guidance reduced proximal shunt failure rates (p < 0.05) in comparison with a freehand technique.

Conclusions

Stereotactic- and ultrasound-guided ventricular catheter placements are significantly more accurate than freehand placement, and the use of these intraoperative guidance techniques reduced proximal shunt failure in this study.

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Thomas J. Wilson, William R. Stetler Jr., Wajd N. Al-Holou, Stephen E. Sullivan and Jeffrey J. Fletcher

Object

The authors conducted a study to review outcomes and management in patients in whom intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) develops during left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy.

Methods

This retrospective cohort study included all adult patients (18 years of age or older) at a single institution who underwent placement of an LVAD between January 1, 2003, and March 1, 2012. The authors conducted a detailed medical chart review, and data were abstracted to assess outcomes in patients in whom ICH developed compared to those in patients in whom ICH did not develop; to compare management of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulation with outcomes; to describe surgical management employed and outcomes achieved; to compare subtypes of ICH (intraparenchymal, subdural, and subarachnoid hemorrhage) and their outcomes; and to determine any predictors of outcome.

Results

During the study period, 330 LVADs were placed and 36 patients developed an ICH (traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage in 10, traumatic subdural hematoma in 8, spontaneous intraventricular hemorrhage in 1, and spontaneous intraparenchymal hemorrhage in 17). All patients were treated with aspirin and warfarin at the time of presentation. With suspension of these agents, no thromboembolic events or pump failures were seen and no delayed rehemorrhages occurred after resuming these medications. Intraparenchymal hemorrhages had the worst outcomes, with a 30-day mortality rate in 59% compared with a 30-day mortality rate of 0% in patients with traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhages and 13% in those with traumatic subdural hematomas. Five patients with intraparenchymal hemorrhages were managed with surgical intervention, 4 of whom died within 60 days. The only factor found to be predictive of outcome was initial Glasgow Coma Scale score. No patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score less than 11 survived beyond 30 days. Overall, the development of an ICH significantly reduced survival compared with the natural history of patients on LVAD therapy.

Conclusions

The authors' data suggest that withholding aspirin for 1 week and warfarin for 10 days is sufficient to reduce the risk of hemorrhage expansion or rehemorrhage while minimizing the risk of thromboembolic events and pump failure. Patients with intraparenchymal hemorrhage have poor outcomes, whereas patients with traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural hematoma have better outcomes.