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Han Yan, Nebras M. Warsi, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

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Brandon G. Rocque, Bradley E. Weprin, Jeffrey P. Blount, Betsy D. Hopson, James M. Drake, Mark G. Hamilton, Michael A. Williams, Patience H. White, Katie O. Orrico and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

The number of children with complex medical conditions surviving to adulthood is increasing. A planned transition to adult care systems is essential to the health maintenance of these patients. Guidance has been established for the general health care transition (HCT) from adolescence to adulthood. No formal assessment of the performance of pediatric neurosurgeons in HCT has been previously performed. No “best practice” for this process in pediatric neurosurgery currently exists. The authors pursued two goals in this paper: 1) define the current state of HCT in pediatric neurosurgery through a survey of the membership of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) on current methods of HCT, and 2) develop leadership-endorsed best-practice guidelines for HCT from pediatric to adult neurosurgical health care.

METHODS

Completion of the Current Assessment of Health Care Transition Activities survey was requested of 178 North American pediatric neurosurgeons by using a web-based questionnaire to capture HCT practices of the ASPN membership. The authors concurrently conducted a PubMed/MEDLINE–based literature review of HCT for young adults with special health care needs, surgical conditions, and/or neurological conditions for the period from 1990 to 2018. Selected articles were assembled and reviewed by subject matter experts and members of the ASPN Quality, Safety, and Advocacy Committee. Best-practice recommendations were developed and subjected to peer review by external expert groups.

RESULTS

Seventy-six responses to the survey (43%) were received, and 62 respondents (82%) answered all 12 questions. Scores of 1 (lowest possible score) were recorded by nearly 60% of respondents on transition policy, by almost 70% on transition tracking, by 85% on transition readiness, by at least 40% on transition planning as well as transfer of care, and by 53% on transition completion. Average responses on all core elements were < 2 on the established 4-point scale. Seven best-practice recommendations were developed and endorsed by the ASPN leadership.

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of pediatric neurosurgeons have transition practices that are poor, do not meet the needs of patients and families, and should be improved. A structured approach to transition, local engagement with adult neurosurgical providers, and national partnerships between pediatric and adult neurosurgery organizations are suggested to address current gaps in HCT for patients served by pediatric neurosurgeons.

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Benjamin Davidson, Nathan Schoen, Shaina Sedighim, Renée Haldenby, Blythe Dalziel, Sara Breitbart, Darcy Fehlings, Golda Milo-Manson, Unni G. Narayanan, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood physical disability. Historically, children with hypertonia who are nonambulatory (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level IV or V) were considered candidates for intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy to facilitate care and mitigate discomfort. Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) was often reserved for ambulant children to improve gait. Recently, case series have suggested SDR as an alternative to ITB in selected children functioning at GMFCS level IV/V. The objective for this study was to systematically review the evidence for ITB and SDR in GMFCS level IV or V children.

METHODS

Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched. Articles were screened using the following inclusion criteria: 1) peer-reviewed articles reporting outcomes after SDR or ITB; 2) outcomes reported using a quantifiable scale or standardized outcome measure; 3) patients were < 19 years old at the time of operation; 4) patients had a diagnosis of CP; 5) patients were GMFCS level IV/V or results were reported based on GMFCS status and included some GMFCS level IV/V patients; 6) article and/or abstract in English; and 7) primary indication for surgery was hypertonia. Included studies were assessed with the Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven studies met inclusion criteria. The most commonly reported outcomes were spasticity (on the Mean Ashworth Scale) and gross motor function (using the Gross Motor Function Measure), although other outcomes including frequency of orthopedic procedures and complications were also reported. There is evidence from case series that suggests that both ITB and SDR can lower spasticity and improve gross motor function in this nonambulatory population. Complication rates are decidedly higher after ITB due in part to the ongoing risk of device-related complications. The heterogeneity among study design, patient selection, outcome selection, and follow-up periods was extremely high, preventing meta-analysis. There are no comparative studies, and meaningful health-related quality of life outcomes such as care and comfort are lacking. This review is limited by the high risk of bias among included studies. Studies of SDR or ITB that did not clearly describe patients as being GMFCS level IV/V or nonambulatory were excluded.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a lack of evidence comparing the outcomes of ITB and SDR in the nonambulatory CP population. This could be overcome with standardized prospective studies using more robust methodology and relevant outcome measures.

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Vivek P. Bodani, Gerben E. Breimer, Faizal A. Haji, Thomas Looi and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic resection of third-ventricle colloid cysts is technically challenging due to the limited dexterity and visualization provided by neuroendoscopic instruments. Extensive training and experience are required to master the learning curve. To improve the education of neurosurgical trainees in this procedure, a synthetic surgical simulator was developed and its realism, procedural content, and utility as a training instrument were evaluated.

METHODS

The simulator was developed based on the neuroimaging (axial noncontrast CT and T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced MRI) of an 8-year-old patient with a colloid cyst and hydrocephalus. Image segmentation, computer-aided design, rapid prototyping (3D printing), and silicone molding techniques were used to produce models of the skull, brain, ventricles, and colloid cyst. The cyst was filled with a viscous fluid and secured to the roof of the third ventricle. The choroid plexus and intraventricular veins were also included. Twenty-four neurosurgical trainees performed a simulated colloid cyst resection using a 30° angled endoscope, neuroendoscopic instruments, and image guidance. Using a 19-item feedback survey (5-point Likert scales), participants evaluated the simulator across 5 domains: anatomy, instrument handling, procedural content, perceived realism, and confidence and comfort level.

RESULTS

Participants found the simulator’s anatomy to be highly realistic (mean 4.34 ± 0.63 [SD]) and appreciated the use of actual instruments (mean 4.38 ± 0.58). The procedural content was also rated highly (mean 4.28 ± 0.77); however, the perceived realism was rated slightly lower (mean 4.08 ± 0.63). Participants reported greater confidence in their ability to perform an endoscopic colloid cyst resection after using the simulator (mean 4.45 ± 0.68). Twenty-three participants (95.8%) indicated that they would use the simulator for additional training. Recommendations were made to develop complex case scenarios for experienced trainees (normal-sized ventricles, choroid plexus adherent to cyst wall, bleeding scenarios) and incorporate advanced instrumentation such as side-cutting aspiration devices.

CONCLUSIONS

A patient-specific synthetic surgical simulator for training residents and fellows in endoscopic colloid cyst resection was successfully developed. The simulator’s anatomy, instrument handling, and procedural content were found to be realistic. The simulator may serve as a valuable educational tool to learn the critical steps of endoscopic colloid cyst resection, develop a detailed understanding of intraventricular anatomy, and gain proficiency with bimanual neuroendoscopic techniques.

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Kyle W. Eastwood, Vivek P. Bodani, Faizal A. Haji, Thomas Looi, Hani E. Naguib and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Endoscope-assisted repair of craniosynostosis is a safe and efficacious alternative to open techniques. However, this procedure is challenging to learn, and there is significant variation in both its execution and outcomes. Surgical simulators may allow trainees to learn and practice this procedure prior to operating on an actual patient. The purpose of this study was to develop a realistic, relatively inexpensive simulator for endoscope-assisted repair of metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis and to evaluate the models’ fidelity and teaching content.

METHODS

Two separate, 3D-printed, plastic powder–based replica skulls exhibiting metopic (age 1 month) and sagittal (age 2 months) craniosynostosis were developed. These models were made into consumable skull “cartridges” that insert into a reusable base resembling an infant’s head. Each cartridge consists of a multilayer scalp (skin, subcutaneous fat, galea, and periosteum); cranial bones with accurate landmarks; and the dura mater. Data related to model construction, use, and cost were collected. Eleven novice surgeons (residents), 9 experienced surgeons (fellows), and 5 expert surgeons (attendings) performed a simulated metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis repair using a neuroendoscope, high-speed drill, rongeurs, lighted retractors, and suction/irrigation. All participants completed a 13-item questionnaire (using 5-point Likert scales) to rate the realism and utility of the models for teaching endoscope-assisted strip suturectomy.

RESULTS

The simulators are compact, robust, and relatively inexpensive. They can be rapidly reset for repeated use and contain a minimal amount of consumable material while providing a realistic simulation experience. More than 80% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the models’ anatomical features, including surface anatomy, subgaleal and subperiosteal tissue planes, anterior fontanelle, and epidural spaces, were realistic and contained appropriate detail. More than 90% of participants indicated that handling the endoscope and the instruments was realistic, and also that the steps required to perform the procedure were representative of the steps required in real life.

CONCLUSIONS

Both the metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis simulators were developed using low-cost methods and were successfully designed to be reusable. The simulators were found to realistically represent the surgical procedure and can be used to develop the technical skills required for performing an endoscope-assisted craniosynostosis repair.

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Han Yan, Taylor J. Abel, Naif M. Alotaibi, Melanie Anderson, Toba N. Niazi, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, John H. Phillips, Christopher R. Forrest, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

In this systematic review and meta-analysis the authors aimed to directly compare open surgical and endoscope-assisted techniques for the treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis, focusing on the outcomes of blood loss, transfusion rate, length of stay, operating time, complication rate, cost, and cosmetic outcome.

METHODS

A literature search was performed in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant articles were identified from 3 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL [Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials]) from their inception to August 2017. The quality of methodology and bias risk were assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies. Effect estimates between groups were calculated as standardized mean differences with 95% CIs. Random and fixed effects models were used to estimate the overall effect.

RESULTS

Of 316 screened records, 10 met the inclusion criteria, of which 3 were included in the meta-analysis. These studies reported on 303 patients treated endoscopically and 385 patients treated with open surgery. Endoscopic surgery was associated with lower estimated blood loss (p < 0.001), shorter length of stay (p < 0.001), and shorter operating time (p < 0.001). From the literature review of the 10 studies, transfusion rates for endoscopic procedures were consistently lower, with significant differences in 4 of 6 studies; the cost was lower, with differences ranging from $11,603 to $31,744 in 3 of 3 studies; and the cosmetic outcomes were equivocal (p > 0.05) in 3 of 3 studies. Finally, endoscopic techniques demonstrated complication rates similar to or lower than those of open surgery in 8 of 8 studies.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic procedures are associated with lower estimated blood loss, operating time, and days in hospital. Future long-term prospective registries may establish advantages with respect to complications and cost, with equivalent cosmetic outcomes. Larger studies evaluating patient- or parent-reported satisfaction and optimal timing of intervention as well as heterogeneity in outcomes are indicated.

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Han Yan, Taylor J. Abel, Naif M. Alotaibi, Melanie Anderson, Toba N. Niazi, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, John H. Phillips, Christopher R. Forrest, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Despite increasing adoption of endoscopic techniques for repair of nonsagittal single-suture craniosynostosis, the efficacy and safety of the procedure relative to established open approaches are unknown. In this systematic review the authors aimed to directly compare open surgical and endoscope-assisted techniques for the treatment of metopic, unilateral coronal, and lambdoid craniosynostosis, with an emphasis on quantitative reported outcomes.

METHODS

A literature search was performed in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant articles were identified from 3 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL [Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials]) from their inception to August 2017. The quality of methodology and bias risk were assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies.

RESULTS

Of 316 screened records, 7 studies were included in a qualitative synthesis of the evidence, of which none were eligible for meta-analysis. These reported on 111 unique patients with metopic, 65 with unilateral coronal, and 12 with lambdoid craniosynostosis. For all suture types, 100 (53%) children underwent endoscope-assisted craniosynostosis surgery and 32 (47%) patients underwent open repair. These studies all suggest that blood loss, transfusion rate, operating time, and length of hospital stay were superior for endoscopically treated children. Although potentially comparable or better cosmetic outcomes are reported, the paucity of evidence and considerable variability in outcomes preclude meaningful conclusions.

CONCLUSIONS

Limited data comparing open and endoscopic treatments for metopic, unilateral coronal, and lambdoid synostosis suggest a benefit for endoscopic techniques with respect to blood loss, transfusion, length of stay, and operating time. This report highlights shortcomings in evidence and gaps in knowledge regarding endoscopic repair of nonsagittal single-suture craniosynostosis, emphasizing the need for further matched-control studies.

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William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, John C. Wellons III, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, David D. Limbrick Jr., Samuel R. Browd, Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Tamara D. Simon, Richard Holubkov, Anna Illner, D. Douglas Cochrane, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, W. Jerry Oakes and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

Accurate placement of ventricular catheters may result in prolonged shunt survival, but the best target for the hole-bearing segment of the catheter has not been rigorously defined. The goal of the study was to define a target within the ventricle with the lowest risk of shunt failure.

METHODS

Five catheter placement variables (ventricular catheter tip location, ventricular catheter tip environment, relationship to choroid plexus, catheter tip holes within ventricle, and crosses midline) were defined, assessed for interobserver agreement, and evaluated for their effect on shunt survival in univariate and multivariate analyses. De-identified subjects from the Shunt Design Trial, the Endoscopic Shunt Insertion Trial, and a Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network study on ultrasound-guided catheter placement were combined (n = 858 subjects, all first-time shunt insertions, all patients < 18 years old). The first postoperative brain imaging study was used to determine ventricular catheter placement for each of the catheter placement variables.

RESULTS

Ventricular catheter tip location, environment, catheter tip holes within the ventricle, and crosses midline all achieved sufficient interobserver agreement (κ > 0.60). In the univariate survival analysis, however, only ventricular catheter tip location was useful in distinguishing a target within the ventricle with a survival advantage (frontal horn; log-rank, p = 0.0015). None of the other catheter placement variables yielded a significant survival advantage unless they were compared with catheter tips completely not in the ventricle. Cox regression analysis was performed, examining ventricular catheter tip location with age, etiology, surgeon, decade of surgery, and catheter entry site (anterior vs posterior). Only age (p < 0.001) and entry site (p = 0.005) were associated with shunt survival; ventricular catheter tip location was not (p = 0.37). Anterior entry site lowered the risk of shunt failure compared with posterior entry site by approximately one-third (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.51–0.83).

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis failed to identify an ideal target within the ventricle for the ventricular catheter tip. Unexpectedly, the choice of an anterior versus posterior catheter entry site was more important in determining shunt survival than the location of the ventricular catheter tip within the ventricle. Entry site may represent a modifiable risk factor for shunt failure, but, due to inherent limitations in study design and previous clinical research on entry site, a randomized controlled trial is necessary before treatment recommendations can be made.

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

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is now established as a viable treatment option for a subgroup of children with hydrocephalus. Here, the authors report prospective, multicenter results from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) to provide the most accurate determination of morbidity, complication incidence, and efficacy of ETV in children and to determine if intraoperative predictors of ETV success add substantially to preoperative predictors.

METHODS

All children undergoing a first ETV (without choroid plexus cauterization) at 1 of 7 HCRN centers up to June 2013 were included in the study and followed up for a minimum of 18 months. Data, including detailed intraoperative data, were prospectively collected as part of the HCRN's Core Data Project and included details of patient characteristics, ETV failure (need for repeat hydrocephalus surgery), and, in a subset of patients, postoperative complications up to the time of discharge.

RESULTS

Three hundred thirty-six eligible children underwent initial ETV, 18.8% of whom had undergone shunt placement prior to the ETV. The median age at ETV was 6.9 years (IQR 1.7–12.6), with 15.2% of the study cohort younger than 12 months of age. The most common etiologies were aqueductal stenosis (24.8%) and midbrain or tectal lesions (21.2%). Visible forniceal injury (16.6%) was more common than previously reported, whereas severe bleeding (1.8%), thalamic contusion (1.8%), venous injury (1.5%), hypothalamic contusion (1.5%), and major arterial injury (0.3%) were rare. The most common postoperative complications were CSF leak (4.4%), hyponatremia (3.9%), and pseudomeningocele (3.9%). New neurological deficit occurred in 1.5% cases, with 0.5% being permanent.

One hundred forty-one patients had documented failure of their ETV requiring repeat hydrocephalus surgery during follow-up, 117 of them during the first 6 months postprocedure. Kaplan-Meier rates of 30-day, 90-day, 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year failure-free survival were 73.7%, 66.7%, 64.8%, 61.7%, and 57.8%, respectively. According to multivariate modeling, the preoperative ETV Success Score (ETVSS) was associated with ETV success (p < 0.001), as was the intraoperative ability to visualize a “naked” basilar artery (p = 0.023).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' documented experience represents the most detailed account of ETV results in North America and provides the most accurate picture to date of ETV success and complications, based on contemporaneously collected prospective data. Serious complications with ETV are low. In addition to the ETVSS, visualization of a naked basilar artery is predictive of ETV success.

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

OBJECT

In a previous report by the same research group (Kestle et al., 2011), compliance with an 11-step protocol was shown to reduce CSF shunt infection at Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) centers (from 8.7% to 5.7%). Antibiotic-impregnated catheters (AICs) were not part of the protocol but were used off protocol by some surgeons. The authors therefore began using a new protocol that included AICs in an effort to reduce the infection rate further.

METHODS

The new protocol was implemented at HCRN centers on January 1, 2012, for all shunt procedures (excluding external ventricular drains [EVDs], ventricular reservoirs, and subgaleal shunts). Procedures performed up to September 30, 2013, were included (21 months). Compliance with the protocol and outcome events up to March 30, 2014, were recorded. The definition of infection was unchanged from the authors' previous report.

RESULTS

A total of 1935 procedures were performed on 1670 patients at 8 HCRN centers. The overall infection rate was 6.0% (95% CI 5.1%–7.2%). Procedure-specific infection rates varied (insertion 5.0%, revision 5.4%, insertion after EVD 8.3%, and insertion after treatment of infection 12.6%). Full compliance with the protocol occurred in 77% of procedures. The infection rate was 5.0% after compliant procedures and 8.7% after noncompliant procedures (p = 0.005). The infection rate when using this new protocol (6.0%, 95% CI 5.1%–7.2%) was similar to the infection rate observed using the authors' old protocol (5.7%, 95% CI 4.6%–7.0%).

CONCLUSIONS

CSF shunt procedures performed in compliance with a new infection prevention protocol at HCRN centers had a lower infection rate than noncompliant procedures. Implementation of the new protocol (including AICs) was associated with a 6.0% infection rate, similar to the infection rate of 5.7% from the authors' previously reported protocol. Based on the current data, the role of AICs compared with other infection prevention measures is unclear.