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## A comparison of treating physician versus independent core lab assessments of post–aneurysm treatment imaging outcomes: an analysis of prospectively collected data from a randomized trial

### OBJECTIVE

Aneurysm occlusion has been used as surrogate marker of aneurysm treatment efficacy. Aneurysm occlusion scales are used to evaluate the outcome of endovascular aneurysm treatment and to monitor recurrence. These scales, however, require subjective interpretation of imaging data, which can reduce the utility and reliability of these scales and the validity of clinical studies regarding aneurysm occlusion rates. Use of a core lab with independent blinded reviewers has been implemented to enhance the validity of occlusion rate assessments in clinical trials. The degree of agreement between core labs and treating physicians has not been well studied with prospectively collected data.

### METHODS

In this study, the authors analyzed data from the Hydrogel Endovascular Aneurysm Treatment (HEAT) trial to assess the interrater agreement between the treating physician and the blinded core lab. The HEAT trial included 600 patients across 46 sites with intracranial aneurysms treated with coiling. The treating site and the core lab independently reviewed immediate postoperative and follow-up imaging (3–12 and 18–24 months, respectively) using the Raymond-Roy occlusion classification (RROC) scale, Meyer scale, and recanalization survey. A post hoc analysis was performed to calculate interrater reliability using Cohen’s kappa. Further analysis was performed to assess whether degree of agreement varied on the basis of various factors, including scale used, timing of imaging, size of the aneurysm, imaging modality, location of the aneurysm, dome-to-neck ratio, and rupture status.

### RESULTS

Minimal interrater agreement was noted between the core lab reviewers and the treating physicians for assessing aneurysm occlusion using the RROC grading scale (k = 0.39, 95% CI 0.38–0.40) and Meyer scale (k = 0.23, 95% CI 0.14–0.38). The degree of agreement between groups was slightly better but still weak for assessing recanalization (k = 0.45, 95% CI 0.38–0.52). Factors that significantly improved degree of agreement were scales with fewer variables, greater time to follow-up, imaging modality (digital subtraction angiography), and wide-neck aneurysms.

### CONCLUSIONS

Assessment of aneurysm treatment outcome with commonly used aneurysm occlusion scales suffers from risk of poor interrater agreement. This supports the use of independent core labs for validation of outcome data to minimize reporting bias. Use of outcome tools with fewer point categories is likely to provide better interrater reliability. Therefore, the outcome assessment tools are ideal for clinical outcome assessment provided that they are sensitive enough to detect a clinically significant change.

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## Establishing ranked priorities for future hydrocephalus research

### OBJECTIVE

The aim of this initiative was to develop a ranked list of hydrocephalus research priorities as determined by the hydrocephalus patient community in conjunction with the healthcare and scientific community.

### METHODS

Using the validated methodology published by the James Lind Alliance (JLA), the Hydrocephalus Association (HA) administered two surveys and hosted a final prioritization workshop. Survey One solicited open-ended responses from the community. From these responses, a long list of priority statements was developed. This list was then consolidated into a short list of research priority statements, which, after a nonsystematic literature review, were verified as being research uncertainties. Survey Two asked the community members to select their top 10 priorities from the short list. The final prioritization leading to a final ranked top 20 list of hydrocephalus research priorities took place at a virtual workshop led by a team of trained facilitators, by means of an iterative process of consensus building.

### RESULTS

From Survey One, 3703 responses from 890 respondents were collected, leading to a long list of 146 priority statements. The consolidated short list contained 49 research priority statements, all of which were verified as uncertainties in hydrocephalus research. From an analysis of Survey Two responses, the top 21 research priority statements were determined. A consensus on these statements was reached at the virtual workshop, leading to a final ranked top 20 list of hydrocephalus research priorities, within which needs were apparent in several areas: development of noninvasive and/or one-time therapies, reduction of the burden of current treatments, improvement of the screening and diagnosis of hydrocephalus, improved quality of life, and improved access to care.

### CONCLUSIONS

By gathering extensive input from the hydrocephalus community and using an iterative process of consensus building, a ranked list of the top 20 hydrocephalus research priorities was developed. The HA will use this ranked list to guide future research programs and encourages the healthcare and scientific community to do the same.

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## Inpatient healthcare burden and variables influencing hydrocephalus-related admissions across the lifespan

### OBJECTIVE

The aims of this study were to quantify inpatient healthcare costs, describe patient demographics, and analyze variables influencing costs for pediatric and adult hydrocephalus shunt-related admissions in the US.

### METHODS

A cross-sectional study was performed using the 2019 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) and National Inpatient Sample (NIS), nationally representative weighted data sets of hospital discharges for pediatric and adult patients, respectively. International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification and Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) code filters for data extraction were queried for admission information. Age at admission was categorized into five groups (≤ 28 days, 29 days to < 1 year, 1–18 years, 19–64 years, and ≥ 65 years).

In 2019, there were 36,898 shunt-related hospital admissions accounting for 495,138 hospital days and a total cost of more than $2.06 billion. Initial shunt placements accounted for 53.5% of all admissions and nearly 60% of the total cost. The median cost per admission was$22,700 and the median length of stay was 5 days. Admissions for shunt infection requiring revision had the highest median cost at $71,300 (p < 0.001) and the longest median length of stay at 25 days (p < 0.001) compared with initial shunt placements. By age, admissions that occurred in the first 28 days of life cost almost 5 times more than the median,$110,500 versus $22,700, respectively, and resulted in hospital stays that were 8 times longer than the median, 41 versus 5 days, respectively. Individuals aged ≥ 65 years accounted for 28% of the total shunt-related admissions. Almost two-thirds (65.3%) of shunt-related admissions were classified as nonelective. The median cost of nonelective procedures was double that of elective admissions,$33,900 versus $15,100, respectively (p < 0.001), and resulted in almost 5 times longer hospital stays, 9 versus 2 days, respectively (p < 0.001). Shunt-related admissions were predominantly male across all age groups (54.7%–57.4% male) except the 19- to 64-year age group. In the 19- to 64-year age group, females accounted for 51.1% of admissions. Insurance status was largely age dependent. Of all admissions, 33.1% used private insurance, 32.9% Medicare, and 27.7% Medicaid. ### CONCLUSIONS This is the first study to quantify the patient demographics and cost of hydrocephalus shunt-related admissions across the entire age spectrum. Shunt-related admissions cost the US more than$2.06 billion dollars per year and represent only a fraction of the total cost of hydrocephalus care.

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## Intraoperative valence testing to adjudicate between ventral capsule/ventral striatum and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis target selection in deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder

### OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an accepted therapy for severe, treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (trOCD). The optimal DBS target location within the anterior limb of the internal capsule, particularly along the anterior-posterior axis, remains elusive. Empirical evidence from several studies in the past decade has suggested that the ideal target lies in the vicinity of the anterior commissure (AC), either just anterior to the AC, above the ventral striatum (VS), or just posterior to the AC, above the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Various methods have been utilized to optimize target selection for trOCD DBS. The authors describe their practice of planning trajectories to both the VS and BNST and adjudicating between them with awake intraoperative valence testing to individualize permanent target selection.

### METHODS

Eight patients with trOCD underwent awake DBS with trajectories planned for both VS and BNST targets bilaterally. The authors intraoperatively assessed the acute effects of stimulation on mood, energy, and anxiety and implanted the trajectory with the most reliable positive valence responses and least stimulation-induced side effects. The method of intraoperative target adjudication is described, and the OCD outcome at last follow-up is reported.

### RESULTS

The mean patient age at surgery was 41.25 ± 15.1 years, and the mean disease duration was 22.75 ± 10.2 years. The median preoperative Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) score was 39 (range 34–40). Two patients had previously undergone capsulotomy, with insufficient response. Seven (44%) of 16 leads were moved to the second target based on intraoperative stimulation findings, 4 of them to avoid strong negative valence effects. Three patients had an asymmetric implant (1 lead in each target). All 8 patients (100%) met full response criteria, and the mean Y-BOCS score reduction across the full cohort was 51.2% ± 12.8%.

### CONCLUSIONS

Planning and intraoperatively testing trajectories flanking the AC—superjacent to the VS anteriorly and to the BNST posteriorly—allowed identification of positive valence responses and acute adverse effects. Awake testing helped to select between possible trajectories and identify individually optimized targets in DBS for trOCD.

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## Leptomeningeal metastasis in patients with non–small cell lung cancer after stereotactic radiosurgery for brain metastasis

### OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is an effective treatment for brain metastases (BMs) in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, factors associated with the development of post-SRS leptomeningeal metastasis (LM) remain unclear. The authors analyzed the incidence and risk factors of LM development in patients with NSCLC and BMs after SRS and examined the survival outcomes and prognostic factors after LM development.

### METHODS

This retrospective study included patients with NSCLC treated with SRS for MRI-diagnosed BM from 2002 to 2021. The authors recorded various clinical and demographic data, including age, sex, tumor histology, molecular profile of tumors, extracranial disease status, previous craniotomy, Karnofsky Performance Status, systemic treatments, tumor volume, and number of BMs. The management and survival outcomes after LM diagnosis were also recorded.

### RESULTS

LM developed in 13.7% of patients with NSCLC and BMs after SRS treatment. Large initial tumor volume and more than 5 BM lesions, but not EGFR mutation status and post-SRS treatment, were associated with LM development after SRS. Multivariate analysis revealed that chemotherapy and targeted therapy after LM were associated with better survival in patients with LM after SRS.

### CONCLUSIONS

This study is the first to evaluate the risk factors for LM in a relatively large cohort of patients with NSCLC after SRS. In patients with BMs harboring risk factors for subsequent LM, such as initial tumor volume and number of metastatic lesions, aggressive therapies with high CNS penetrating ability should be considered.

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## Letter to the Editor. ANOCEF trial: GBMs in elderly patients

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## A novel scoring system concept for de novo spinal infection treatment, the Spinal Infection Treatment Evaluation Score (SITE Score): a proof-of-concept study

### OBJECTIVE

De novo infections of the spine are an increasing healthcare problem. The decision for nonsurgical or surgical treatment is often made case by case on the basis of physician experience, specialty, or practice affiliation rather than evidence-based medicine. To create a more systematic foundation for surgical assessments of de novo spinal infections, the authors applied a formal validation process toward developing a spinal infection scoring system using principles gained from other spine severity scoring systems like the Spine Instability Neoplastic Score, Thoracolumbar Injury Classification and Severity Score, and AO Spine classification of thoracolumbar injuries. They utilized an expert panel and literature reviews to develop a severity scale called the "Spinal Infection Treatment Evaluation Score" (SITE Score).

### METHODS

The authors conducted an evidence-based process of combining literature reviews, extracting key elements from previous scoring systems, and obtaining iterative expert panel input while following a formal Delphi process. The resulting basic SITE scoring system was tested on selected de novo spinal infection cases and serially refined by an international multidisciplinary expert panel. Intra- and interobserver reliabilities were calculated using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Fleiss’ and Cohen’s kappa, respectively. A receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed for cutoff value analysis. The predictive validity was assessed through cross-tabulation analysis.

### RESULTS

The conceptual SITE scoring system combines the key variables of neurological symptoms, infection location, radiological variables for instability and impingement of neural elements, pain, and patient comorbidities. Ten patients formed the first cohort of de novo spinal infections, which was used to validate the conceptual scoring system. A second cohort of 30 patients with de novo spinal infections, including the 10 patients from the first cohort, was utilized to validate the SITE Score. Mean scores of 6.73 ± 1.5 and 6.90 ± 3.61 were found in the first and second cohorts, respectively. The ICCs for the total score were 0.989 (95% CI 0.975–0.997, p < 0.01) in the first round of scoring system validation, 0.992 (95% CI 0.981–0.998, p < 0.01) in the second round, and 0.961 (95% CI 0.929–0.980, p < 0.01) in the third round. The mean intraobserver reliability was 0.851 ± 0.089 in the third validation round. The SITE Score yielded a sensitivity of 97.77% ± 3.87% and a specificity of 95.53% ± 3.87% in the last validation round for the panel treatment decision.

### CONCLUSIONS

The SITE scoring concept showed statistically meaningful reliability parameters. Hopefully, this effort will provide a foundation for a future evidence-based decision aid for treating de novo spinal infections. The SITE Score showed promising inter- and intraobserver reliability. It could serve as a helpful tool to guide physicians’ therapeutic decisions in managing de novo spinal infections and help in comparison studies to better understand disease severity and outcomes.

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## Stereoelectroencephalography followed by combined electrode removal and MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy or open resection: a single-center series in pediatric patients with medically refractory epilepsy

### OBJECTIVE

Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) and MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) have emerged as safe, effective, and less invasive alternatives to subdural grid placement and open resection, respectively, for the localization and treatment of medically refractory epilepsy (MRE) in children. Reported pediatric experience combining these complementary techniques is limited, with traditional workflows separating electrode removal and ablation/resection. The authors describe the largest reported series of pediatric epilepsy patients who underwent MRgLITT following SEEG contrasted with a cohort that underwent craniotomy following SEEG, combining ablation/resection with electrode explantation as standard practice.

### METHODS

The medical records of all patients with MRE who had undergone SEEG followed by MRgLITT or open resection/disconnection at Boston Children’s Hospital between November 2015 and December 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Primary outcome variables included surgical complication rates, length of hospital stay following treatment, and Engel classification at the last follow-up.

### RESULTS

Of 74 SEEG patients, 27 (median age 12.1 years, 63% female) underwent MRgLITT and 47 (median age 12.1 years, 49% female) underwent craniotomy. Seventy patients (95%) underwent SEEG followed by combined electrode removal and treatment. Eight MRgLITT cases (30%) and no open cases targeted the insula (p < 0.001). Complication rates did not differ, although trends toward more subdural/epidural hematomas, infarcts, and permanent unanticipated neurological deficits were evident following craniotomy, whereas a trend toward more temporary unanticipated neurological deficits was seen following MRgLITT. The median duration of hospitalization after treatment was 3 and 5 days for MRgLITT and open cases, respectively (p = 0.078). Seizure outcomes were similar between the cohorts, with 74% of MRgLITT and craniotomy patients attaining Engel class I or II outcomes (p = 0.386) at the last follow-up (median 1.1 and 1.9 years, respectively).

### CONCLUSIONS

MRgLITT and open resection following SEEG can both effectively treat MRE in pediatric patients and generally can be performed in a two-surgery workflow during a single hospitalization. In appropriately selected patients, MRgLITT tended to be associated with shorter hospitalizations and fewer complications following treatment and may be best suited for focal deep-seated targets associated with relatively challenging open surgical approaches.