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Frederick A. Boop, Berkeley Bate, Asim F. Choudhri, Brian Burkholder and Paul Klimo Jr.

The development of high-quality intraoperative MRI (iMRI) capability has offered a major advance in the care of patients with complex intracranial disease. To date, this technology has been limited by the need for pin fixation of the calvaria. The authors report their preliminary experience with an MRI-compatible horseshoe headrest that allows for the following: 1) iMRI in patients too young for pin fixation; 2) iMRI in patients with large calvarial defects; 3) the ability to move the head during iMRI surgery; and 4) the use of neuronavigation in such cases. The authors report 2 cases of infants in whom the Visius Surgical Theatre horseshoe headrest (IMRIS Inc.) was used. Image quality was equivalent to that of pin fixation. The infants suffered no skin issues. The use of neuronavigation with the system remained accurate and could be updated with the new iMRI information. The Visius horseshoe headrest offers a technical advance in iMRI technology for infants, for patients with cranial defects or prior craniotomies in whom pin fixation may not be safe, or for patients in whom the need to move the head during surgery is required. The image quality of the system remains excellent, and the ability to merge new images to the neuronavigation system is helpful.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Garrett T. Venable, Frederick A. Boop and Thomas E. Merchant

OBJECT

In this paper the authors present their experience treating children with recurrent craniopharyngioma who were initially managed with surgery followed by conformal radiation therapy (CRT).

METHODS

A departmental oncology information system was queried to identify all children (< 18 years old) who received CRT for a craniopharyngioma between 1998 and 2010 (inclusive) and specifically those who experienced tumor progression. For each patient, the authors recorded the type of recurrence (solid, cystic, or both), the time interval to first progression and each subsequent progression, the associated treatment complications, and disease status at last follow-up evaluation.

RESULTS

Among the 97 patients that met criteria for entry into this study, 18 (18.6%) experienced tumor progression (9 cystic, 3 solid, 6 cystic and solid). The median time to first recurrence was 4.62 years (range 1.81–9.11 years). The subgroup included 6 female and 12 male patients with a median age of 7.54 years (range 3.61–13.83 years). Ten patients experienced first progression within 5 years of CRT. The 5- and 10-year treatment-free survival rates for the entire cohort were 89.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 80.5%–93.9%) and 76.2% (95% CI 64%–85%), respectively. Seven patients had a single episode of progression and 11 had more than 1. The time interval between each subsequent progression was progressively shorter. The 18 patients underwent 38 procedures. The median follow-up duration for this group was 9.32 years (range 4.04–19.0 years). Three patients died, including 1 from perioperative complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Craniopharyngioma progression after prior irradiation is exceedingly difficult to treat and local control is challenging despite repeated surgical procedures. Given our results, gross-total resection may need to be the surgical goal at the time of first recurrence, if possible. Decompressing new cyst formation alone has a low rate of long-term success.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Garrett T. Venable, Nickalus R. Khan, Douglas R. Taylor, Brandon A. Shepherd, Clinton J. Thompson and Nathan R. Selden

Object

The application of bibliometric techniques to academic neurosurgery has been the focus of several recent publications. The authors provide here a detailed analysis of all active pediatric neurosurgeons in North America and their respective departments.

Methods

Using Scopus and Google Scholar, a bibliometric profile for every known active pediatric neurosurgeon in North America was created using the following citation metrics: h-, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices and the m-quotient. Various subgroups were compared. Departmental productivity from 2008 through 2013 was measured, and departments were ranked on the basis of cumulative h- and e-indices and the total number of publications and citations. Lorenz curves were created, and Gini coefficients were calculated for all departments with 4 or more members.

Results

Three hundred twelve pediatric neurosurgeons (260 male, 52 female) were included for analysis. For the entire group, the median h-index, m-quotient, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices, and the corrected g- and e-indices were 10, 0.59, 7, 18, 17, 1.14, and 1.01, respectively; the range for each index varied widely. Academic pediatric neurosurgeons associated with fellowship programs (compared with unassociated neurosurgeons), academic practitioners (compared with private practitioners), and men (compared with women) had superior measurements. There was no significant difference between American and Canadian pediatric neurosurgeons. The mean Gini coefficient for publications was 0.45 (range 0.18–0.70) and for citations was 0.53 (range 0.25–0.80).

Conclusions

This study represents the most exhaustive evaluation of academic productivity for pediatric neurosurgeons in North America to date. These results should serve as benchmarks for future studies.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Clinton J. Thompson, Michael DeCuypere, Jonathan M. Angotti, Erick Kalobwe, Michael S. Muhlbauer, Francis X. Camillo and Paul Klimo Jr.

Object

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a serious and costly complication of spinal surgery. There have been several conflicting reports on the use of intrawound vancomycin powder in decreasing SSI in spine surgery. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: “Does intrawound vancomycin powder reduce the rate of SSIs in spine surgery?”

Methods

A comprehensive search of multiple electronic databases and bibliographies was conducted to identify clinical studies that evaluated the rates of SSI with and without the use of intrawound vancomycin powder in spine surgery. Independent reviewers extracted data and graded the quality of each paper that met inclusion criteria. A random effects meta-analysis was then performed.

Results

The search identified 9 retrospective cohort studies (Level III evidence) and 1 randomized controlled trial (Level II evidence). There were 2574 cases and 106 infections in the control group (4.1%) and 2518 cases and 33 infections (1.3%) in the treatment group, yielding a pooled absolute risk reduction and relative risk reduction of 2.8% and 68%, respectively. The meta-analysis revealed the use of vancomycin powder to be protective in preventing SSI (relative risk = 0.34, 95% confidence interval 0.17–0.66, p = 0.021). The number needed to treat to prevent 1 SSI was 36. A subgroup analysis found that patients who had implants had a reduced risk of SSI with vancomycin powder (p = 0.023), compared with those who had noninstrumented spinal operations (p = 0.226).

Conclusions

This meta-analysis suggests that the use of vancomycin powder may be protective against SSI in open spinal surgery; however, the exact population in which it should be used is not clear. This benefit may be most appreciated in higher-risk populations or in facilities with a high baseline rate of infection.

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Ann Marie Flannery, Catherine A. Mazzola, Paul Klimo Jr., Ann-Christine Duhaime, Lissa C. Baird, Mandeep S. Tamber, David D. Limbrick Jr., Dimitrios C. Nikas, Joanna Kemp, Alexander F. Post, Kurtis I. Auguste, Asim F. Choudhri, Laura S. Mitchell and Debby Buffa

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David D. Limbrick Jr., Lissa C. Baird, Paul Klimo Jr., Jay Riva-Cambrin and Ann Marie Flannery

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to examine the existing literature comparing CSF shunts and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus and to make evidence-based recommendations regarding the selection of surgical technique for this condition.

Methods

Both the US National Library of Medicine and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words specifically chosen to identify published articles detailing the use of CSF shunts and ETV for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Articles meeting specific criteria that had been determined a priori were examined, and data were abstracted and compiled in evidentiary tables. These data were then analyzed by the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines Task Force to consider treatment recommendations based on the evidence.

Results

Of the 122 articles identified using optimized search parameters, 52 were recalled for full-text review. One additional article, originally not retrieved in the search, was also reviewed. Fourteen articles met all study criteria and contained comparative data on CSF shunts and ETV. In total, 6 articles (1 Class II and 5 Class III) were accepted for inclusion in the evidentiary table; 8 articles were excluded for various reasons. The tabulated evidence supported the evaluation of CSF shunts versus ETV.

Conclusions

Cerebrospinal fluid shunts and ETV demonstrated equivalent outcomes in the clinical etiologies studied.

Recommendation: Both CSF shunts and ETV are options in the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Strength of Recommendation: Level II, moderate clinical certainty.

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Lissa C. Baird, Catherine A. Mazzola, Kurtis I. Auguste, Paul Klimo Jr. and Ann Marie Flannery

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to examine the existing literature to compare differing shunt components used to treat hydrocephalus in children, find whether there is a superior shunt design for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus, and make evidence-based recommendations for the selection of shunt implants when placing shunts.

Methods

Both the US National Library of Medicine PubMed/MEDLINE database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words chosen to identify publications comparing the use of shunt implant components. Abstracts of these publications were reviewed, after which studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected. An evidentiary table was compiled summarizing the selected articles and quality of evidence. These data were then analyzed by the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines Task Force to consider evidence-based treatment recommendations.

Results

Two hundred sixty-nine articles were identified using the search parameters, and 43 articles were recalled for full-text review. Of these, 22 papers met the study criteria for a comparison of shunt components and were included in the evidentiary table. The included studies consisted of 1 Class I study, 11 Class II studies, and 10 Class III studies. The remaining 21 articles were excluded.

Conclusions

An analysis of the evidence did not demonstrate a clear advantage for any specific shunt component, mechanism, or valve design over another.

Recommendation: There is insufficient evidence to demonstrate an advantage for one shunt hardware design over another in the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Current designs described in the evidentiary tables are all treatment options. Strength of Recommendation: Level I, high degree of clinical certainty.

Recommendation: There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of a programmable valve versus a nonprogrammable valve. Programmable and nonprogrammable valves are both options for the treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus. Strength of Recommendation: Level II, moderate degree of clinical certainty.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Mark Van Poppel, Clinton J. Thompson, Lissa C. Baird, Ann-Christine Duhaime and Ann Marie Flannery

Object

The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was twofold: to answer the question “What is the evidence for the effectiveness of prophylactic intravenous antibiotics for infection prevention in shunt surgery?” and to make treatment recommendations based on the available evidence.

Methods

The US National Library of Medicine PubMed/MEDLINE database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to prophylactic antibiotic use in children undergoing a shunt operation. Abstracts were reviewed to identify which studies met the inclusion criteria. An evidentiary table was assembled summarizing the studies and the quality of evidence (Classes I-III). A meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model to calculate a cumulative estimate of treatment effect using risk ratio (RR). Heterogeneity was assessed using chi-square and I2 statistics. A sensitivity analysis was also conducted. Based on the quality of the literature and the result of the meta-analysis, a recommendation was rendered (Level I, II, or III).

Results

Nine studies (4 Class I, 3 Class II, and 2 Class III) met our inclusion criteria. Of 7 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 3 were downgraded from Class I to Class II because of significant quality issues, and all RCTs were potentially underpowered. In only 2 Class in retrospective cohort studies were preoperative antibiotic agents found to be protective against shunt infection. When data from the individual studies were pooled together, the infection rate in the prophylactic antibiotics group was 5.9% compared with 10.7% in the control group. Using a random-effects model, the cumulative RR was 0.55 (95% CI 0.38–0.81), indicating a protective benefit of prophylactic preoperative intravenous antibiotics. A sensitivity analysis of RCTs only (n = 7) also demonstrated a statistical benefit, but an analysis of higher-quality RCTs only (n = 4) did not.

Conclusions

Within the limits of this systematic review and meta-analysis, administration of preoperative antibiotic agents for shunt surgery in children was found to lower the infection risk (quality of evidence: Class II; strength of recommendation, Level II).

Recommendation

The use of preoperative antibiotic agents can be recommended to prevent shunt infection in patients with hydrocephalus. It was only by combining the results of the various underpowered studies (meta-analysis) that the use of preoperative antibiotics for shunt surgery in children was shown to lower the risk of shunt infection. Strength of Recommendation: Level II, moderate degree of clinical certainty.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Clinton J. Thompson, Lissa C. Baird and Ann Marie Flannery

Object

The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to answer the following question: Are antibiotic-impregnated shunts (AISs) superior to standard shunts (SSs) at reducing the risk of shunt infection in pediatric patients with hydrocephalus?

Methods

Both the US National Library of Medicine PubMed/MEDLINE database and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to AIS use in children. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected. An evidentiary table was assembled summarizing the studies and the quality of their evidence (Classes I–III). A meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model to calculate a cumulative estimate of treatment effect using risk ratio (RR). Heterogeneity was assessed using the chi-square and I2 statistics. Based on the quality of the literature and the result of the meta-analysis, a recommendation was rendered (Level I, II, or III).

Results

Six studies, all Class III, met our inclusion criteria. All but one study focused on a retrospective cohort and all but one were conducted at a single institution. Four of the studies failed to demonstrate a lowered infection rate with the use of an AIS. However, when the data from individual studies were pooled together, the infection rate in the AIS group was 5.5% compared with 8.6% in the SS group. Using a random-effects model, the cumulative RR was 0.51 (95% CI 0.29–0.89, p < 0.001), indicating that a shunt infection was 1.96 times more likely in patients who received an SS.

Conclusions

We recommend AIS tubing because of the associated lower risk of shunt infection compared to the use of conventional silicone hardware (quality of evidence: Class III; strength of recommendation: Level III).

Recommendation: Antibiotic-impregnated shunt (AIS) tubing may be associated with a lower risk of shunt infection compared with conventional silicone hardware and thus is an option for children who require placement of a shunt. Strength of Recommendation: Level III, unclear degree of clinical certainty.