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Sandi Lam, I-Wen Pan, Andrew Jea and Thomas G. Luerssen

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Faris Shweikeh, David Foulad, Miriam Nuño, Doniel Drazin and Matthew A. Adamo

OBJECT

Craniosynostosis is often treated with neurosurgical intervention. The aim of this study was to report and analyze the clinical and socioeconomic characteristics of patients with craniosynostosis and to present current national trends.

METHODS

Using the Kids’ Inpatient Database for the years 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009, the authors identified patients with craniosynostosis using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis codes and their associated procedure codes. Clinical features, demographics, inpatient procedures, outcomes, and charges were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

Of the 3415 patients identified, 65.8% were White, 21.4% were Hispanic, and 3.2% were Black. More than 96% were treated at urban teaching hospitals and 54.2% in southern or western regions. White patients were younger (mean 6.1 months) as compared with Blacks (mean 10.9 months) and Hispanics (mean 9.1 months; p < 0.0001) at the time of surgery. A higher fraction of Whites had private insurance (70.3%) compared with nonwhites (34.0%–41.6%; p < 0.001). Approximately 12.2% were nonelective admissions, more so among Blacks (16.9%). Mean hospital length of stay (LOS) was 3.5 days with no significant differences among races. Following surgical treatment, 12.1% of patients developed complications, most commonly pulmonary/respiratory (4.8%), wound infection (4.4%), and hydrocephalus (1.4%). The mean overall hospital charges were significantly lower for Whites than nonwhites ($34,527 vs $44,890–$48,543, respectively; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of this national study suggest a higher prevalence of craniosynostosis in Hispanics. The higher predisposition among males was less evident in Hispanics and Blacks. There was a significant percentage of nonelective admissions, more commonly among Blacks. Additionally, Hispanics and Blacks were more likely to receive surgery at an older age, past the current recommendation of the optimum age for surgical intervention. These findings are likely associated with a lack of early detection. Although mean LOS and rate of complications did not significantly differ among different races, nonwhites had, on average, higher hospital charges of $10,000–$14,000. This discrepancy may be due to differences in type of insurance, craniosynostosis type, rates of comorbidities, and delay in treatment. Although there are several limitations to this analysis, the study reports on relevant disparities regarding a costly neurosurgical intervention, and ways to diminish these disparities should be further explored.

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Miriam Nuño, Lindsey Pelissier, Kunal Varshneya, Matthew A. Adamo and Doniel Drazin

OBJECT

Head trauma is the leading cause of death in abused children, particularly prior to the age of 2 years. An awareness of factors associated with this condition as well as with a higher risk of mortality is important to improve outcomes and prevent the occurrence of these events. The objective of this study was to evaluate outcomes and factors associated with poor outcomes in infants with diagnosed abusive head trauma (AHT). Patient characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and secondary conditions such as retinal bleeding, contusion, and fractures were considered.

METHODS

Data were obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. From the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) sample, the authors identified infants no older than 23 months who had been diagnosed with AHT in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009. All statistical analyses were conducted in SAS 9.2. Descriptive statistics were provided, and multivariate logistic regression models were applied to evaluate factors associated with mortality and nonroutine discharge.

RESULTS

A total of 5195 infants were analyzed in this study. Most infants (85.5%) had ages ranging between 0 and 11 months and were male (61.6%). Overall mortality was 10.8%, with a rate of 9.8% in the 0- to 11-month-old cohort and 16.5% in the 12- to 23-month-olds (p = 0.0003). The overall nonroutine discharge rate of 25.6% increased significantly from 23.3% to 39.0% with increasing age (0–11 vs 12–23 months of age, p < 0.0001). Assuming a multivariate model that adjusted for multiple confounders, the authors found that older infants (12–23 vs 0–11 months, OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.18–2.77) with a secondary diagnosis of retinal bleeding (OR 2.85, 95% CI 2.02–4.00) or shaken baby syndrome (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.48–2.94) had an increased risk of mortality; these factors were similarly associated with an increased odds of a nonroutine discharge. A higher income ($30,001–$35,000 vs $1–$24,999) was associated with a reduction in the odds of mortality (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.29–0.72). In the subset of cases (1695 [32.6%]) that specified the perpetrator involved in infant injury, the authors found that the father, stepfather, or boyfriend was most frequently reported (67.4%). A trend for a higher AHT incidence was documented in the early ages (peak at 2 months) compared with older ages.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite the higher incidence of AHT among infants during the earlier months of life, higher mortality was documented in the 12- to 23-month-olds. Retinal bleeding and shaken baby syndrome were secondary diagnoses associated with higher mortality and nonroutine discharge. Males (67.4%) were overwhelmingly documented as the perpetrators involved in the injury of these infants.

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Faris Shweikeh, Lutfi Al-Khouja, Miriam Nuño, J. Patrick Johnson, Doniel Drazin and Matthew A. Adamo

OBJECT

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is a common spinal abnormality. In this study, the authors analyzed demographics, complications, and outcomes in children and adolescents who underwent surgery for TCS.

METHODS

Using the national Kids' Inpatient Database (KID), the authors retrospectively identified patients with a primary diagnosis of TCS who were treated with spinal laminectomy and discharged in 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009. Descriptive analysis was provided for patient- and hospital-level characteristics. Mortality, complications, non-routine discharges, in-hospital length of stay (LOS), and total charges were documented for the entire cohort and age-specific cohorts (0–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20 years). Comparisons by complications and age groups were conducted.

RESULTS

A total of 7397 children and adolescents met the criteria in the 4 studied years. The mean age was 5.7 years; 55.3% of patients were younger than 5 years, 21.5% were 6–10 years, and 16.2% were 11–15 years. Most surgeries were performed in patients who were female (55.0%) and white (64.4%) and were performed at large (49.8%), teaching (94.2%), and urban (99.1%) children's (89.3%) hospitals. The trend showed an increase in prevalence from 2000 (19.9%) to 2009 (29.6%). Common comorbidities included anomalies in spinal curvature (16.7%), urinary or bladder dysfunction (14.3%), and spinal stenosis/spondylosis (1.4%). Non-routine discharges (3.3%) were significantly higher with advancing age, increasing from 2.2% in those younger than 5 years to 9.0% in those older than 15 years (p < 0.0001). There was a similar increasing trend for complications (6.8% to 13.9%, respectively, p < 0.0001) and average LOS (3.5 to 5.1 days, respectively, p < 0.0001). Hospital charges increased with age from an average of $28,521 in those younger than 5 years to $36,855 in those older than 15 years (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

There was a steady trend of increasing operative treatment for TCS over the more recent years. The nationwide analysis was also indicative of an existing disparity, based on age, in complications, outcomes, and charges following TCS surgical correction. Older children tended to have more complications, longer LOS, more non-routine discharges, and higher hospital costs. The results are highly supportive of surgery at a younger age for this condition. Future research should investigate this correlation, especially considering the efforts to control and reduce health care costs.

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Dueng-Yuan Hueng and Che-Hung Yen

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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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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.