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  • Journal of Neurosurgery x
  • By Author: Limbrick, David D. x
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Matthew D. Smyth, David D. Limbrick Jr., Jeffrey G. Ojemann, John Zempel, Shenandoah Robinson, Donncha F. O'Brien, Russell P. Saneto, Monisha Goyal, Richard E. Appleton, Francesco T. Mangano and Tae Sung Park

Object

The authors conducted a multiinstitutional, retrospective analysis to better define outcome and prognostic indicators for temporal lobe epilepsy surgery for suspected mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) in young children.

Methods

Data were collected for all children undergoing temporal resections at four epilepsy centers over approximately 10 years. Children with a histopathological diagnosis of neoplasm were excluded.

Forty-nine patients (28 boys and 21 girls) were included in the study. Their mean age at surgery was 9.1 years (range 1.25–13.9 years). The mean age at seizure onset was 3.2 years (range birth–10 years). Histopathological examination demonstrated MTS in 26 cases, gliosis in nine, dysplasia in five, gliosis with dysplasia in four, and nonspecific or normal findings in five. Forty-one anterior temporal lobectomies (nine tailored) and eight selective amygdalohippocampectomies were performed (28 left side, 21 right side). Twenty-nine children (59.2%) underwent invasive monitoring. Operative complications included extraaxial hematomas (two cases), cerebrospinal fluid leaks (two cases), and hydrocephalus (one case), each in children undergoing invasive monitoring. The mean duration of follow up was 26.4 months (range 5–74 months) overall and 23.9 months (range 6–74 months) for the Engel Class I subgroup. Outcomes at the most recent follow-up examination were categorized as Engel Class I–II in 31 (63.3%) of 49 children overall, 20 (76.9%) of 26 children with confirmed MTS, four (36.4%) of 11 children with gliosis, and four (57.1%) of seven children with dysplasia. All patients who underwent selective amygdalohippocampectomies had confirmed MTS and Engel Class I outcomes. Patients with more than one seizure type (p = 0.048) or moderate to severe developmental delay (p = 0.03) had significantly worse outcomes (Engel Class III or IV). Age at seizure onset, age at surgery, and duration of seizure disorder were not significantly related to outcome. There was a trend for bilateral or extratemporal findings on electroencephalography (EEG) (p = 0.157), high preoperative seizure frequency (p = 0.097), and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings inconsistent with MTS (p = 0.142) to be associated with worse outcome, although it did not reach statistical significance. In only 12 (46.1%) of the 26 patients with confirmed MTS was the condition prospectively diagnosed on preoperative MR imaging.

Conclusions

Younger children with temporal lobe epilepsy have satisfying surgical outcomes, particularly when MTS is present. Magnetic resonance imaging may not be as sensitive in detecting MTS in children as in older patients. Negative predictors identified include multiple seizure types and preoperative developmental delay. Multifocal or bilateral EEG findings, high preoperative seizure frequency, and MR imaging findings inconsistent with MTS also independently suggested worse outcome.

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David D. Limbrick Jr., Amir Behdad, Colin P. Derdeyn, Phillip L. Custer, Gregory J. Zipfel and Paul Santiago

Traumatic, nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is common after closed head injury and most often results from ruptured cortical microvessels. Here, the authors present the case of a 60-year-old woman who fell and struck her head, causing traumatic enucleation and avulsion of both the optic nerve and ophthalmic artery. The arterial avulsion caused a Fisher Grade 3 SAH. During her stay in the intensive care unit, hydrocephalus and vasospasm developed, clinical conditions commonly observed after aneurysmal SAH. Epileptiform activity also developed, although this may have been related to concurrent Pantoea agglomerans ventriculitis. It is reasonable to suggest that intracerebral arterial avulsion with profuse arterial bleeding may be more likely than traditional traumatic SAH to result in clinical events similar to that of aneurysmal SAH. Special consideration should be given to the acute care of patients with intracranial arterial avulsions (conservative management vs surgical exploration or endovascular treatment), as well as long-term follow-up for vascular or other neurosurgical complications.

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Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Gregory J. Zipfel and David D. Limbrick Jr.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Eric Milner, Chester K. Yarbrough, Kim Lipsey, Jay F. Piccirillo, Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECT

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is a common and often debilitating neurological disease. Efforts to improve treatment of CM-I are impeded by inconsistent and limited methods of evaluating clinical outcomes. To understand current approaches and lay a foundation for future research, the authors conducted a systematic review of the methods used in original published research articles to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Cochrane databases to identify publications between January 2003 and August 2013 that met the following criteria: 1) reported clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I; 2) were original research articles; 3) included at least 10 patients or, if a comparative study, at least 5 patients per group; and 4) were restricted to patients with CM-I.

RESULTS

Among the 74 papers meeting inclusion criteria, there was wide variation in the outcome methods used. However, all approaches were broadly grouped into 3 categories: 1) “gestalt” impression of overall symptomatic improvement (n = 45 papers); 2) postoperative change in specific signs or symptoms (n = 20); or 3) results of various standardized assessment scales (n = 22). Among standardized scales, 11 general function measures were used, compared with 6 disease-specific tools. Only 3 papers used scales validated in patients with CM-I. To facilitate a uniform comparison of these heterogeneous approaches, the authors appraised articles in multiple domains defined a priori as integral to reporting clinical outcomes in CM-I. Notably, only 7 articles incorporated patient-response instruments when reporting outcome, and only 22 articles explicitly assessed quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS

The methods used to evaluate clinical outcomes in CM-I are inconsistent and frequently not comparable, complicating efforts to analyze results across studies. Development, validation, and incorporation of a small number of disease-specific patient-based instruments will improve the quality of research and care of CM-I patients.

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Thomas L. Beaumont, David D. Limbrick Jr., Keith M. Rich, Franz J. Wippold II and Ralph G. Dacey Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Colloid cysts are rare, histologically benign lesions that may result in obstructive hydrocephalus and death. Understanding the natural history of colloid cysts has been challenging given their low incidence and the small number of cases in most reported series. This has complicated efforts to establish reliable prognostic factors and surgical indications, particularly for asymptomatic patients with incidental lesions. Risk factors for obstructive hydrocephalus in the setting of colloid cysts remain poorly defined, and there are no grading scales on which to develop standard management strategies.

METHODS

The authors performed a single-center retrospective review of all cases of colloid cysts of the third ventricle treated over nearly 2 decades at Washington University. Univariate analysis was used to identify clinical, imaging, and anatomical factors associated with 2 outcome variables: symptomatic clinical status and presentation with obstructive hydrocephalus. A risk-prediction model was defined using bootstrapped logistic regression. Predictive factors were then combined into a simple 5-point clinical scale referred to as the Colloid Cyst Risk Score (CCRS), and this was evaluated with receiver-operator characteristics.

RESULTS

The study included 163 colloid cysts, more than half of which were discovered incidentally. More than half of the incidental cysts (58%) were followed with surveillance neuroimaging (mean follow-up 5.1 years). Five patients with incidental cysts (8.8%) progressed and underwent resection. No patient with an incidental, asymptomatic colloid cyst experienced acute obstructive hydrocephalus or sudden neurological deterioration in the absence of antecedent trauma. Nearly half (46.2%) of symptomatic patients presented with hydrocephalus. Eight patients (12.3%) presented acutely, and there were 2 deaths due to obstructive hydrocephalus and herniation. The authors identified several factors that were strongly correlated with the 2 outcome variables and defined third ventricle risk zones where colloid cysts can cause obstructive hydrocephalus. No patient with a lesion outside these risk zones presented with obstructive hydrocephalus. The CCRS had significant predictive capacity for symptomatic clinical status (area under the curve [AUC] 0.917) and obstructive hydrocephalus (AUC 0.845). A CCRS ≥ 4 was significantly associated with obstructive hydrocephalus (p < 0.0001, RR 19.4).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with incidentally discovered colloid cysts can experience both lesion enlargement and symptom progression or less commonly, contraction and symptom regression. Incidental lesions rarely cause acute obstructive hydrocephalus or sudden neurological deterioration in the absence of antecedent trauma. Nearly one-half of patients with symptomatic colloid cysts present with obstructive hydrocephalus, which has an associated 3.1% risk of death. The CCRS is a simple 5-point clinical tool that can be used to identify symptomatic lesions and stratify the risk of obstructive hydrocephalus. External validation of the CCRS will be necessary before objective surgical indications can be established. Surgical intervention should be considered for all patients with CCRS ≥ 4, as they represent the high-risk subgroup.

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Hari S. Raman, David D. Limbrick Jr., Wilson Z. Ray, Dean W. Coble, Sophie Church, Ralph G. Dacey Jr. and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECTIVE

The challenging nature of neurosurgical residency necessitates that appropriate measures are taken by training programs to ensure that residents are properly progressing through their education. Residents who display a pattern of performance deficiencies must be identified and promptly addressed by faculty and program directors to ensure that resident training and patient care are not affected. While studies have been conducted to characterize these so-called “problem residents” in other specialties, no current data regarding the prevalence and management of such residents in neurosurgery exist. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and the outcome of problem residents in US neurosurgical residency programs and identify predictive risk factors that portend a resident’s departure from the program.

METHODS

An anonymous nationwide survey was sent to all 108 neurosurgical training programs in the US to assess a 20-year history of overall attrition as well as the management course of problem residents, including the specific deficiencies of the resident, management strategies used by faculty, and the eventual outcome of each resident’s training.

RESULTS

Responses were received from 36 centers covering a total of 1573 residents, with the programs providing a mean 17.4 years’ worth of data (95% CI 15.3–19.4 years). The mean prevalence of problem residents among training programs was 18.1% (95% CI 14.7%–21.6%). The most common deficiencies recognized by program directors were poor communication skills (59.9%), inefficiency in tasks (40.1%), and poor fund of medical knowledge (39.1%). The most common forms of program intervention were additional meetings to provide detailed feedback (93.9%), verbal warnings (78.7%), and formal written remediation plans (61.4%). Of the identified problem residents whose training status is known, 50% graduated or are on track to graduate, while the remaining 50% ultimately left their residency program for other endeavors. Of the 97 residents who departed their programs, 65% left voluntarily (most commonly for another specialty), and 35% were terminated (often ultimately training in another neurosurgery program). On multivariable logistic regression analysis, the following 3 factors were independently associated with departure of a problem resident from their residency program: dishonesty (OR 3.23, 95% CI 1.67–6.253), poor fund of medical knowledge (OR 2.54, 95% CI 1.47–4.40), and poor technical skill (OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.37–4.12).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ findings represent the first study to characterize the nature of problem residents within neurosurgery. Identification of predictive risk factors, such as dishonesty, poor medical knowledge, and/or technical skill, may enable program directors to preemptively act and address such deficiencies in residents before departure from the program occurs. As half of the problem residents departed their programs, there remains an unmet need for further research regarding effective remediation strategies.