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Tyler J. Kenning, John C. Dalfino, John W. German, Doniel Drazin and Matthew A. Adamo

Object

The subdural evacuating port system (SEPS; Medtronic, Inc.) is a minimally invasive means of draining subacute or chronic subdural fluid collections. The purpose of this study was to examine a single institution's results with the SEPS.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was undertaken for all patients who underwent SEPS drainage of subdural collections. Demographic and radiographic characteristics were evaluated. Both pre- and post-SEPS CT studies were analyzed to determine the volume of subdural collection and midline shift. Hospital charts were reviewed for SEPS output, and periprocedural complications were noted. Results were classified as a success (S) or failure (F) based on the need for further subdural drainage procedures. Groups were then compared to identify factors predictive of success.

Results

Eighty-five subdural collections were treated in 74 patients (unilateral collections in 63 patients and bilateral in 11). Sixty-three collections (74%) were successfully drained. In a comparison of the success and failure groups, there were no statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in the mean age pre-SEPS, Glasgow Coma Scale score, presenting symptoms, underlying coagulopathy or use of anticoagulation/antiplatelet agents, laterality of SDH, pre-SEPS subdural volume or midline shift, or any of the measurements used to characterize SEPS placement. There were a greater number of male patients in the success group (45 [82%] of 55 patients vs 11 [58%] of 19 patients; p = 0.04). The only statistically significant (p < 0.05) factor predictive of success was the radiographic appearance of the subdural collection. More hypodense collections were successfully treated (32 [51%] of 63 collections vs 4 [18%] of 22 collections; p = 0.005), whereas mixed density collections were more likely to fail SEPS treatment (S: 11 [17%] of 63 collections vs F: 14 [64%] of 22 collections; p < 0.00001). In the success group, the percentage of the collection drained after SEPS was greater (S: 47.1 ± 32.8% vs F: 19.8 ± 28.2%; p = 0.001) and a larger output was drained (S: 190.7 ± 221.5 ml vs F: 60.2 ± 63.3 ml; p = 0.001). In the patients with available but delayed scans (≥ 30 days since SEPS placement), the residual subdural collection following successful SEPS evacuation was nearly identical to that remaining after open surgical evacuation in the failure group. In 2 cases (2.4% of total devices used), SEPS placement caused a new acute subdural component, necessitating emergency evacuation in 1 patient.

Conclusions

The SEPS is a safe and effective treatment option for draining subacute and chronic SDHs. The system can be used quickly with local anesthesia only, making it ideal in elderly or sick patients who might not tolerate the physiological stress of a craniotomy under general anesthesia. Computed tomography is useful in predicting which subdural collections are most amenable to SEPS drainage. Specifically, hypodense subdural collections drain more effectively through an SEPS than do mixed density collections. Although significant bleeding after SEPS insertion was uncommon, 1 patient in the series required urgent surgical hematoma evacuation due to iatrogenic injury.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin, Caitlin Smith and John B. Waldman

Object

Nonaccidental trauma has become a leading cause of death in infants and toddlers. Compared with children suffering from accidental trauma, many children with nonaccidental trauma present with injuries requiring neurosurgical management and operative interventions.

Methods

A retrospective review was performed concerning the clinical and radiological findings, need for neurosurgical intervention, and outcomes in infants and toddlers with head injuries who presented to Albany Medical Center between 1999 and 2007. The Fisher exact probability test and ORs were computed for Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores, hyperdense versus hypodense subdural collections, and discharge and follow-up King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI) scores.

Results

There were 218 patients, among whom 164 had sustained accidental trauma, and 54 had sustained nonaccidental trauma (NAT). The patients with accidental traumatic injuries were more likely to present with GCS scores of 13–15 (OR 6.95), and the patients with NATs with of GCS scores 9–12 (OR 6.83) and 3–8 (OR 2.99). Skull fractures were present in 57.2% of accidentally injured patients at presentation, and 15% had subdural collections. Skull fractures were present in 30% of nonaccidentally injured patients, and subdural collections in 52%. Patients with evidence of hypodense subdural collections were significantly more likely to be in the NAT group (OR 20.56). Patients with NAT injuries were also much more likely to require neurosurgical operative intervention. Patients with accidental trauma were more likely to have a KOSCHI score of 5 at discharge and follow-up (ORs 6.48 and 4.58), while patients with NAT had KOSCHI scores of 3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b at discharge (ORs 6.48, 5.47, 2.44, and 3.62, respectively), and 3b and 4a at follow-up.

Conclusions

Infant and toddler victims of NAT have significantly worse injuries and outcomes than those whose trauma was accidental. In the authors' experience, however, with aggressive intervention, many of these patients can make significant neurological improvements at subsequent follow-up visits.

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Akeel Merchant, Doniel Drazin, John Dalfino, Junichi Yamamoto and Alan S. Boulos

The authors report a case of restenosis in the bilateral internal carotid arteries (ICAs) following angioplasty for cerebral vasospasm. This 53-year-old woman suffering subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured posterior communicating artery aneurysm had severe vasospasm and underwent angioplasty of the left and right ICAs and middle cerebral arteries. Two months later, a follow-up CT angiogram revealed bilateral ICA stenoses.

Transluminal angioplasty leads to long-term connective tissue damage in the medial and adventitial layers from the disruption of the arrangement of collagen fibers due to stretching and tearing, resulting in loss of transmission of contractile forces. Furthermore, following endothelial cell denudation and stretching and rupture of internal elastic lamina from angioplasty, reendothelialization of the intimal layer composed of smooth muscle cells may also explain the contractile properties of restenosis. Other factors such as macrophage-induced inflammation and reactive oxygen species accumulation may also contribute to restenosis. This is the second reported case of restenosis following angioplasty to treat vasospasm, although restenosis is a known complication of angioplasty for treatment of atherosclerosis. In addition, this is the first case of restenosis in the bilateral ICAs following angioplasty for vasospasm. This report presents an illustrative case study and reviews the pathophysiology of angioplasty and restenosis.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin and John B. Waldman

Object

Infants with severe traumatic brain injury represent a therapeutic challenge. The internal absence of open space within the infant cranial vault makes volume increases poorly tolerated. This report presents 7 cases of decompressive craniectomy in infants with cerebral edema.

Methods

The authors reviewed the medical charts of infants with brain injuries who presented to Albany Medical Center Hospital between January 2004 and July 2007. Variables that were examined included patient age, physical examination results at admission, positive imaging findings, surgery performed, complications, requirement of permanent CSF diversion, and physical examination results at discharge and outpatient follow-up using the King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury. Seven infants met the inclusion criteria for the study. Six infants experienced nonaccidental trauma, and 1 had a large infarction of the middle cerebral artery territory secondary to a carotid dissection. At admission, all patients were minimally responsive, 4 had equal and minimally reactive pupils, 3 had anisocoria with the enlarged pupil on the same side as the brain lesion, and all had right-sided hemiparesis. Six patients received a left hemicraniectomy, whereas 1 received a left frontal craniectomy. In all cases, bone was cultured and stored at the bone bank.

Results

Postoperatively, 3 patients who developed draining CSF fistulas needed insertions of external ventricular drains, with incisions oversewn using nylon sutures and a liquid bonding agent. After prolonged CSF drainage and wound care, these patients all developed epidural and subdural empyemas necessitating surgical drainage and debridement. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was found in 2 patients and Enterococcus in the third. All patients developed hydrocephalus necessitating the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and all had bone replaced within 1–6 months from the time of the original operation. Two patients required reoperation due to bone resorption. At outpatient follow-up visits, all had scores of 3 or 4 on the King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury. Each patient was awake, interactive, and could sit, as well as either crawl or walk with assistance. All had persistent, improving right-sided hemiparesis and spasticity.

Conclusions

Despite poor initial examination results, infants with severe traumatic brain injury can safely undergo decompressive craniectomy with reasonable neurological recovery. Postoperative complications must be anticipated and treated appropriately. Due to the high rate of CSF fistulas encountered in this study, it appears reasonable to recommend both the suturing in of a dural augmentation graft and the placement of either a subdural drain or a ventriculostomy catheter to relieve pressure on the healing surgical incision. Also, one might want to consider using a T-shaped incision as opposed to the traditional reverse question mark-shaped incision because wound healing may be compromised due to the potential interruption of the circulation to the posterior and inferior limb with this latter incision.

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Matthew A. Adamo, Doniel Drazin and A. John Popp

Short-lasting, unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT) syndrome was first described in 1978 as one of the trigeminal autonomic cephalgias. In this paper the authors present a patient with a growth hormone–secreting pituitary adenoma who experienced resolution of SUNCT syndrome after transsphenoidal tumor resection.