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Gerben E. Breimer, Vivek Bodani, Thomas Looi and James M. Drake

OBJECT

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is an effective but technically demanding procedure with significant risk. Current simulators, including human cadavers, animal models, and virtual reality systems, are expensive, relatively inaccessible, and can lack realistic sensory feedback. The purpose of this study was to construct a realistic, low-cost, reusable brain simulator for ETV and evaluate its fidelity.

METHODS

A brain silicone replica mimicking normal mechanical properties of a 4-month-old child with hydrocephalus was constructed, encased in the replicated skull, and immersed in water. Realistic intraventricular landmarks included the choroid plexus, veins, mammillary bodies, infundibular recess, and basilar artery. The thinned-out third ventricle floor, which dissects appropriately, is quickly replaceable. Standard neuroendoscopic equipment including irrigation is used. Bleeding scenarios are also incorporated. A total of 16 neurosurgical trainees (Postgraduate Years 1–6) and 9 pediatric and adult neurosurgeons tested the simulator. All participants filled out questionnaires (5-point Likert-type items) to rate the simulator for face and content validity.

RESULTS

The simulator is portable, robust, and sets up in minutes. More than 95% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the simulator's anatomical features, tissue properties, and bleeding scenarios were a realistic representation of that seen during an ETV. Participants stated that the simulator helped develop the required hand-eye coordination and camera skills, and the training exercise was valuable.

CONCLUSIONS

A low-cost, reusable, silicone-based ETV simulator realistically represents the surgical procedure to trainees and neurosurgeons. It can help them develop the technical and cognitive skills for ETV including dealing with complications.

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Gregory W. Albert, George M. Ibrahim, Hiroshi Otsubo, Ayako Ochi, Cristina Y. Go, O. Carter Snead III, James M. Drake and James T. Rutka

Object

Resective surgery is increasingly used in the management of pediatric epilepsy. Frequently, invasive monitoring with subdural electrodes is required to adequately map the epileptogenic focus. The risks of invasive monitoring include the need for 2 operations, infection, and CSF leak. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and outcomes of resective epilepsy surgery guided by magnetoencephalography (MEG) in children who would have otherwise been candidates for electrode implantation.

Methods

The authors reviewed the records of patients undergoing resective epilepsy surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children between 2001 and 2010. They identified cases in which resections were based on MEG data and no intracranial recordings were performed. Each patient's chart was reviewed for presentation, MRI findings, MEG findings, surgical procedure, pathology, and surgical outcome.

Results

Sixteen patients qualified for the study. All patients had localized spike clusters on MEG and most had abnormal findings on MRI. Resection was carried out in each case based on the MEG data linked to neuronavigation and supplemented with intraoperative neuromonitoring. Overall, 62.5% of patients were seizure free following surgery, and 20% of patients experienced an improvement in seizures without attaining seizure freedom. In 2 cases, additional surgery was performed subsequently with intracranial monitoring in attempts to obtain seizure control.

Conclusions

MEG is a viable alternative to invasive monitoring with intracranial electrodes for planning of resective surgery in carefully selected pediatric patients with localization-related epilepsy. Good candidates for this approach include patients who have a well-delineated, localized spike cluster on MEG that is concordant with findings of other preoperative evaluations and patients with prior brain pathologies that make the implantation of subdural and depth electrodes somewhat problematic.

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, David D. Limbrick, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III and William E. Whitehead

Object

The use of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) has been advocated as an alternative to CSF shunting in infants with hydrocephalus. There are limited reports of this procedure in the North American population, however. The authors provide a retrospective review of the experience with combined ETV + CPC within the North American Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods

All children (< 2 years old) who underwent an ETV + CPC at one of 7 HCRN centers before November 2012 were included. Data were collected retrospectively through review of hospital records and the HCRN registry. Comparisons were made to a contemporaneous cohort of 758 children who received their first shunt at < 2 years of age within the HCRN.

Results

Thirty-six patients with ETV + CPC were included (13 with previous shunt). The etiologies of hydrocephalus were as follows: intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity (9 patients), aqueductal stenosis (8), myelomeningocele (4), and other (15). There were no major intraoperative or early postoperative complications. There were 2 postoperative CSF infections. There were 2 deaths unrelated to hydrocephalus and 1 death from seizure. In 18 patients ETV + CPC failed at a median time of 30 days after surgery (range 4–484 days). The actuarial 3-, 6-, and 12-month success for ETV + CPC was 58%, 52%, and 52%. Time to treatment failure was slightly worse for the 36 patients with ETV + CPC compared with the 758 infants treated with shunts (p = 0.012). Near-complete CPC (≥ 90%) was achieved in 11 cases (31%) overall, but in 50% (10 of 20 cases) in 2012 versus 6% (1 of 16 cases) before 2012 (p = 0.009). Failure was higher in children with < 90% CPC (HR 4.39, 95% CI 0.999–19.2, p = 0.0501).

Conclusions

The early North American multicenter experience with ETV + CPC in infants demonstrates that the procedure has reasonable safety in selected cases. The degree of CPC achieved might be associated with a surgeon's learning curve and appears to affect success, suggesting that surgeon training might improve results.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Samuel Browd, David Limbrick, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, Tamara D. Simon, Chevis N. Shannon, Richard Holubkov, W. Jerry Oakes, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Shunt survival may improve when ventricular catheters are placed into the frontal horn or trigone of the lateral ventricle. However, techniques for accurate catheter placement have not been developed. The authors recently reported a prospective study designed to test the accuracy of catheter placement with the assistance of intraoperative ultrasound, but the results were poor (accurate placement in 59%). A major reason for the poor accurate placement rate was catheter movement that occurred between the time of the intraoperative ultrasound image and the first postoperative scan (33% of cases). The control group of non–ultrasound using surgeons also had a low rate of accurate placement (accurate placement in 49%). The authors conducted an exploratory post hoc analysis of patients in their ultrasound study to identify factors associated with either catheter movement or poor catheter placement so that improved surgical techniques for catheter insertion could be developed.

Methods

The authors investigated the following risk factors for catheter movement and poor catheter placement: age, ventricular size, cortical mantle thickness, surgeon experience, surgeon experience with ultrasound prior to trial, shunt entry site, shunt hardware at entry site, ventricular catheter length, and use of an ultrasound probe guide for catheter insertion. Univariate analysis followed by multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine which factors were independent risk factors for either catheter movement or inaccurate catheter location.

Results

In the univariate analyses, only age < 6 months was associated with catheter movement (p = 0.021); cortical mantle thickness < 1 cm was near-significant (p = 0.066). In a multivariate model, age remained significant after adjusting for cortical mantle thickness (OR 8.35, exact 95% CI 1.20–infinity). Univariate analyses of factors associated with inaccurate catheter placement showed that age < 6 months (p = 0.001) and a posterior shunt entry site (p = 0.021) were both associated with poor catheter placement. In a multivariate model, both age < 6 months and a posterior shunt entry site were independent risk factors for poor catheter placement (OR 4.54, 95% CI 1.80–11.42, and OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.14–5.89, respectively).

Conclusions

Catheter movement and inaccurate catheter placement are both more likely to occur in young patients (< 6 months). Inaccurate catheter placement is also more likely to occur in cases involving a posterior shunt entry site than those involving an anterior shunt entry site. Future clinical studies aimed at improving shunt placement techniques must consider the effects of young age and choice of entry site on catheter location.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, John C. Wellons III, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Richard Holubkov, Anna Illner, W. Jerry Oakes, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Cerebrospinal fluid shunt ventricular catheters inserted into the frontal horn or trigone are associated with prolonged shunt survival. Developing surgical techniques for accurate catheter insertion could, therefore, be beneficial to patients. This study was conducted to determine if the rate of accurate catheter location with intraoperative ultrasound guidance could exceed 80%.

Methods

The authors conducted a prospective, multicenter study of children (< 18 years) requiring first-time treatment for hydrocephalus with a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Using intraoperative ultrasound, surgeons were required to target the frontal horn or trigone for catheter tip placement. An intraoperative ultrasound image was obtained at the time of catheter insertion. Ventricular catheter location, the primary outcome measure, was determined from the first postoperative image. A control group of patients treated by nonultrasound surgeons (conventional surgeons) were enrolled using the same study criteria. Conventional shunt surgeons also agreed to target the frontal horn or trigone for all catheter insertions. Patients were triaged to participating surgeons based on call schedules at each center. A pediatric neuroradiologist blinded to method of insertion, center, and surgeon determined ventricular catheter tip location.

Results

Eleven surgeons enrolled as ultrasound surgeons and 6 as conventional surgeons. Between February 2009 and February 2010, 121 patients were enrolled at 4 Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network centers. Experienced ultrasound surgeons (> 15 cases prior to study) operated on 67 patients; conventional surgeons operated on 52 patients. Experienced ultrasound surgeons achieved accurate catheter location in 39 (59%) of 66 patients, 95% CI (46%–71%). Intraoperative ultrasound images were compared with postoperative scans. In 32.7% of cases, the catheter tip moved from an accurate location on the intraoperative ultrasound image to an inaccurate location on the postoperative study. This was the most significant factor affecting accuracy. In comparison, conventional surgeons achieved accurate location in 24 (49.0%) of 49 cases (95% CI [34%–64%]). The shunt survival rate at 1 year was 70.8% in the experienced ultrasound group and 66.9% in the conventional group (p = 0.66). Ultrasound surgeons had more catheters surrounded by CSF (30.8% vs 6.1%, p = 0.0012) and away from the choroid plexus (72.3% vs 58.3%, p = 0.12), and fewer catheters in the brain (3% vs 22.4%, p = 0.0011) and crossing the midline (4.5% vs 34.7%, p < 0.001), but they had a higher proportion of postoperative pseudomeningocele (10.1% vs 3.8%, p = 0.30), wound dehiscence (5.8% vs 0%, p = 0.13), CSF leak (10.1% vs 1.9%, p = 0.14), and shunt infection (11.6% vs 5.8%, p = 0.35).

Conclusions

Ultrasound-guided shunt insertion as performed in this study was unable to consistently place catheters into the frontal horn or trigone. The technique is safe and achieves outcomes similar to other conventional shunt insertion techniques. Further efforts to improve accurate catheter location should focus on prevention of catheter migration that occurs between intraoperative placement and postoperative imaging. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01007786 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Jerry Butler, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, David D. Limbrick, Tamara D. Simon, Mandeep S. Tamber, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN), which comprises 7 pediatric neurosurgical centers in North America, provides a unique multicenter assessment of the current outcomes of CSF shunting in nonselected patients. The authors present the initial results for this cohort and compare them with results from prospective multicenter trials performed in the 1990s.

Methods

Analysis was restricted to patients with newly diagnosed hydrocephalus undergoing shunting for the first time. Detailed perioperative data from 2008 through 2012 for all HCRN centers were prospectively collected and centrally stored by trained research coordinators. Historical control data were obtained from the Shunt Design Trial (1993–1995) and the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial (1996–1999). The primary outcome was time to first shunt failure, which was determined by using Cox regression survival analysis.

Results

Mean age of the 1184 patients in the HCRN cohort was older than mean age of the 720 patients in the historical cohort (2.51 years vs 1.60 years, p < 0.0001). The distribution of etiologies differed (p < 0.0001, chi-square test); more tumors and fewer myelomeningoceles caused the hydrocephalus in the HCRN cohort patients. The hazard ratio for first shunt failure significantly favored the HCRN cohort, even after the model was adjusted for the prognostic effects of age and etiology (adjusted HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.96).

Conclusions

Current outcomes of shunting in general pediatric neurosurgery practice have improved over those from the 1990s, although the reasons remain unclear.

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Ibrahim H. Al-Ahmed, Mohamed Boughamoura, Peter Dirks, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James T. Rutka and James M. Drake

Object

Neurenteric cysts (NCs) are endothelium-lined structures of presumed endodermal origin. There have been few pediatric series of intracranial NCs reported previously. The authors present their experience in the management of these lesions.

Methods

A retrospective chart review of all cases of NCs identified between 1977 and 2007 was carried out. Demographics, details of clinical presentation, surgical therapy, and outcome data were extracted.

Results

Eleven cases were identified, involving 6 girls and 5 boys. The patients' average age was 4.6 years (range 1 day–14 years). Limb weakness was the most common presenting symptom. The location of the cysts was cervical in 2 cases, cervicothoracic in 4 cases, and thoracic in 3 cases. One cyst was anterior to the pons with extension to the left cerebellopontine angle and 1 cyst was at the craniocervical junction. Five patients had an apparently complete initial excision, with 1 recurrence. Four patients were initially treated with incomplete excision and/or cyst drainage, usually into an Ommaya reservoir. A neonate with a large cervicothoracic cyst died of multiple congenital anomalies without any intervention. All other patients were alive at last follow-up. One patient with a radiologically identified presumed cyst, which remained stable, was simply followed up. Several patients required multiple procedures and 1 patient developed hydrocephalus after aseptic meningitis and was treated with CSF shunting.

Conclusions

Neurenteric cysts are rare in the pediatric population. Total resection, if possible, provides the best long-term outcome. Incomplete excision may lead to multiple procedures, including cyst drainage, but can lead to long-term stability.

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James M. Drake, Ash Singhal, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Gabrielle DeVeber, D. Douglas Cochrane and The Canadian Pediatric Neurosurgery Study Group

Object

Monitoring and recording of complications in pediatric neurosurgery are important for quality assurance and in particular for improving outcomes. Lack of accurate or mutually agreed upon definitions hampers this process and makes comparisons between centers, which is an important method to improve outcomes, difficult. Therefore, the Canadian Pediatric Neurosurgery Study Group created definitions of complications in pediatric neurosurgery with consensus among 13 Canadian pediatric neurosurgical centers.

Methods

Definitions of complications were extracted from randomized trials, prospective data collection studies, and the medical literature. The definitions were presented at an annual meeting and were subsequently recirculated for anonymous comment and revision, assembled by a third party, and re-presented to the group for consensus.

Results

Widely used definitions of shunt failure were extracted from previous randomized trials and prospective studies. Definitions for wound infections were extracted from the definitions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Postoperative neurological deficits were based on the Pediatric Stroke Outcome Measure. Other definitions were created and modified by consensus. These definitions are now currently in use across the Canadian Pediatric Neurosurgery Study Group centers in Morbidity and Mortality data collection and for subsequent comparison studies.

Conclusions

Coming up with consensus definitions of complications in pediatric neurosurgery is a first step in improving the quality of outcomes. It is a dynamic process, and further refinements are anticipated. Center to center comparison will hopefully allow significant variations in outcomes to be identified and acted upon.

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George M. Ibrahim, Benjamin W. Barry, Aria Fallah, O. Carter Snead III, James M. Drake, James T. Rutka and Mark Bernstein

Epilepsy is a common childhood condition associated with a considerable medical and psychosocial burden. Children in whom medical treatment fails to reduce seizure burden represent an especially vulnerable patient population because prolonged, uncontrolled seizures are associated with poor developmental and neurocognitive outcomes. Surgical treatment in the form of cortical resection, functional disconnection, or neuromodulation may alleviate or significantly reduce the disease burden for a subset of these patients. However, there remains a dichotomy between the perceived benefits of surgery and the implementation of surgical strategies in the management of medically intractable epilepsy. The current paper presents an analysis of the bioethical implications of existing inequities in access to pediatric epilepsy surgery that result from inconsistent referral practices and discrepant evaluation techniques. The authors provide a basic bioethical framework composed of 5 primary expectations to inform public, institutional, and personal policies toward the provision of epilepsy surgery to afflicted children.