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Zoe E. Teton, Daniel Blatt, Amr AlBakry, James Obayashi, Gulsah Ozturk, Vural Hamzaoglu, Philippe Magown, Nathan R. Selden, Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

OBJECTIVE

Despite rapid development and expansion of neuromodulation technologies, knowledge about device and/or therapy durability remains limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term rate of hardware and therapeutic failure of implanted devices for several neuromodulation therapies.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients’ device and therapy survival data (Kaplan-Meier survival analysis) for deep brain stimulation (DBS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) at a single institution (years 1994–2015).

RESULTS

During the study period, 450 patients underwent DBS, 383 VNS, and 128 SCS. For DBS, the 5- and 10-year initial device survival was 87% and 73%, respectively, and therapy survival was 96% and 91%, respectively. For VNS, the 5- and 10-year initial device survival was 90% and 70%, respectively, and therapy survival was 99% and 97%, respectively. For SCS, the 5- and 10-year initial device survival was 50% and 34%, respectively, and therapy survival was 74% and 56%, respectively. The average initial device survival for DBS, VNS, and SCS was 14 years, 14 years, and 8 years while mean therapy survival was 18 years, 18 years, and 12.5 years, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report, for the first time, comparative device and therapy survival rates out to 15 years for large cohorts of DBS, VNS, and SCS patients. Their results demonstrate higher device and therapy survival rates for DBS and VNS than for SCS. Hardware failures were more common among SCS patients, which may have played a role in the discontinuation of therapy. Higher therapy survival than device survival across all modalities indicates continued therapeutic benefit beyond initial device failures, which is important to emphasize when counseling patients.

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Henrik Giese, Benjamin Haenig, Anna Haenig, Andreas Unterberg and Klaus Zweckberger

OBJECTIVE

Craniopharyngiomas are rare and benign tumors of the sellar and/or parasellar region. Primary treatment involves resection followed by adjuvant radiotherapy. While the grade of resection was frequently analyzed following surgery, the neurological outcome and especially neuropsychological deficits and quality of life have been neglected for many decades. Therefore, the authors retrospectively analyzed their patient series and prospectively assessed neuropsychological outcome and quality of life following resection of craniopharyngiomas in adults.

METHODS

In total, 71 patients (39 men and 32 women) with a mean age of 49 years were enrolled in the retrospective analysis. In addition, 36 of the 71 patients were included in the prospective arm of the study and underwent neurological and neuropsychological testing as well as quality of life (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey; SF-36) assessment. Factors influencing outcome were identified and correlations calculated.

RESULTS

Resection was performed mostly using a pterional (41.6%, 47/113 surgical procedures) or bifrontal translamina terminalis (30.1%, 34/113 surgical procedures) approach. Following surgery, visual acuity was significantly improved (> 0.2 diopters) in 32.4% (23/71) of patients, or remained stable in 45.1% (32/71) of patients. During long-term follow up, 80.3% (57/71) of patients developed pituitary insufficiency, particularly involving the corticotropic and thyrotrophic axes. In total, 75% (27/36) of patients showed neuropsychological deviations in at least 1 test item. In particular, attentiveness, cognitive speed, and short-term memory were affected. Referring to the SF-36 score, quality of life was affected in both the mental and physical score in 19.4% (7/36) and 33.3% (12/36), respectively. The risk factors that were identified were a tumor volume larger than 9 cm3, tumor extension toward/into the third ventricle or the brainstem, and resection using a bifrontal translamina terminalis or left-sided approach.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated that resection of craniopharyngiomas is frequently associated with postoperative neuropsychological deficits and hence an impaired quality of life. In addition to tumor size and extension toward/into the third ventricle or the brainstem, selection of the surgical approach may play a crucial role in the patient’s neuropsychological outcome and quality of life.

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Tonje Haug Nordenmark, Tanja Karic, Cecilie Røe, Wilhelm Sorteberg and Angelika Sorteberg

OBJECTIVE

Although many patients recover to a good functional outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), residual symptoms are very common and may have a large impact on the patient’s daily life. The particular cluster of residual symptoms after aSAH has not previously been described in detail and there is no validated questionnaire that covers the typical problems reported after aSAH. Many of the symptoms are similar to post-concussion syndrome, which often is evaluated with the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ). In the present study, the authors therefore performed an exploratory use of the RPQ as a template to describe post-aSAH syndrome.

METHODS

The RPQ was administered to 128 patients in the chronic phase after aSAH along with a battery of quality-of-life questionnaires. The patients also underwent a medical examination besides cognitive and physical testing. Based on their RPQ scores, patients were dichotomized into a “syndrome” group or “recovery” group.

RESULTS

A post-aSAH syndrome was seen in 33% of the patients and their symptom burden on all RPQ subscales was significantly higher than that of patients who had recovered on all RPQ subscales. The symptom cluster consisted mainly of fatigue, cognitive problems, and emotional problems. Physical problems were less frequently reported. Patients with post-aSAH syndrome scored significantly worse on mobility and pain scores, as well as on quality-of-life questionnaires. They also had significantly poorer scores on neuropsychological tests of verbal learning, verbal short- and long-term memory, psychomotor speed, and executive functions. Whereas 36% of the patients in the recovery group were able to return to their premorbid occupational status, this was true for only 1 patient in the syndrome group.

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately one-third of aSAH patients develop a post-aSAH syndrome. These patients struggle with fatigue and cognitive and emotional problems. Patients with post-aSAH syndrome report more pain and reduced quality of life compared to patients without this cluster of residual symptoms and have larger cognitive deficits. In this sample, patients with post-aSAH syndrome were almost invariably excluded from return to work. The RPQ is a simple questionnaire covering the specter of residual symptoms after aSAH. Being able to acknowledge these patients’ complaints as a defined syndrome using the RPQ should help patients to accept and cope, thereby alleviating possible secondary distress produced.

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Andrew T. Hale, Amanda N. Stanton, Shilin Zhao, Faizal Haji, Stephen R. Gannon, Anastasia Arynchyna, John C. Wellons, Brandon G. Rocque and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

At failure of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with choroid plexus cauterization (CPC), the ETV ostomy may be found to be closed or open. Failure with a closed ostomy may indicate a population that could benefit from evolving techniques to keep the ostomy open and may be candidates for repeat ETV, whereas failure with an open ostomy may be due to persistently abnormal CSF dynamics. This study seeks to identify clinical and radiographic predictors of ostomy status at the time of ETV/CPC failure.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter, retrospective cohort study on all pediatric patients with hydrocephalus who failed initial ETV/CPC treatment between January 2013 and October 2016. Failure was defined as the need for repeat ETV or ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement. Clinical and radiographic data were collected, and ETV ostomy status was determined endoscopically at the subsequent hydrocephalus procedure. Statistical analysis included the Mann-Whitney U-test, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, t-test, and Pearson chi-square test where appropriate, as well as multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

Of 72 ETV/CPC failures, 28 patients (39%) had open-ostomy failure and 44 (61%) had closed-ostomy failure. Patients with open-ostomy failure were older (median 5.1 weeks corrected age for gestation [interquartile range (IQR) 0.9–15.9 weeks]) than patients with closed-ostomy failure (median 0.2 weeks [IQR −1.3 to 4.5 weeks]), a significant difference by univariate and multivariate regression. Etiologies of hydrocephalus included intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity (32%), myelomeningocele (29%), congenital communicating (11%), aqueductal stenosis (11%), cyst/tumor (4%), and other causes (12%). A wider baseline third ventricle was associated with open-ostomy failure (median 15.0 mm [IQR 10.3–18.5 mm]) compared to closed-ostomy failure (median 11.7 mm [IQR 8.9–16.5 mm], p = 0.048). Finally, at the time of failure, patients with closed-ostomy failure had enlargement of their ventricles (frontal and occipital horn ratio [FOHR], failure vs baseline, median 0.06 [IQR 0.00–0.11]), while patients with open-ostomy failure had no change in ventricle size (median 0.01 [IQR −0.04 to 0.05], p = 0.018). Previous CSF temporizing procedures, intraoperative bleeding, and time to failure were not associated with ostomy status at ETV/CPC failure.

CONCLUSIONS

Older corrected age for gestation, larger baseline third ventricle width, and no change in FOHR were associated with open-ostomy ETV/CPC failure. Future studies are warranted to further define and confirm features that may be predictive of ostomy status at the time of ETV/CPC failure.

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Joshua L. Golubovsky, Arbaz Momin, Nicolas R. Thompson and Michael P. Steinmetz

OBJECTIVE

Bertolotti syndrome is a rare spinal condition that causes low-back pain due to a lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LSTV), which is a pseudoarticulation between the fifth lumbar transverse process and the sacral ala. Bertolotti syndrome patients are rarely studied, particularly with regard to their quality of life. This study aimed to examine the quality of life and prior treatments in patients with Bertolotti syndrome at first presentation to the authors’ center in comparison with those with lumbosacral radiculopathy.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective cohort analysis of patients with Bertolotti syndrome and lumbosacral radiculopathy due to disc herniation seen at the authors’ institution’s spine center from 2005 through 2018. Diagnoses were confirmed with provider notes and imaging. Variables collected included demographics, diagnostic history, prior treatment, patient-reported quality of life metrics, and whether or not they underwent surgery at the authors’ institution. Propensity score matching by age and sex was used to match lumbosacral radiculopathy patients to Bertolotti syndrome patients. Group comparisons were made using t-tests, Fisher’s exact test, Mann-Whitney U-tests, Cox proportional hazards models, and linear regression models where variables found to be different at the univariate level were included as covariates.

RESULTS

The final cohort included 22 patients with Bertolotti syndrome who had patient-reported outcomes data available and 46 propensity score–matched patients who had confirmed radiculopathy due to disc herniation. The authors found that Bertolotti syndrome patients had significantly more prior epidural steroid injections (ESIs) and a longer time from symptom onset to their first visit. Univariate analysis showed that Bertolotti syndrome patients had significantly worse Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) mental health T-scores. Adjustment for prior ESIs and time from symptom onset revealed that Bertolotti syndrome patients also had significantly worse PROMIS physical health T-scores. Time to surgery and other quality of life metrics did not differ between groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with Bertolotti syndrome undergo significantly longer workup and more ESIs and have worse physical and mental health scores than age- and sex-matched patients with lumbosacral radiculopathy. However, both groups of patients had mild depression and clinically meaningful reduction in their quality of life according to all instruments. This study shows that Bertolotti syndrome patients have a condition that affects them potentially more significantly than those with lumbosacral radiculopathy, and increased attention should be paid to these patients to improve their workup, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Zachary Tan, Stewart McLachlin, Cari Whyne and Joel Finkelstein

OBJECTIVE

The cortical bone trajectory (CBT) technique for pedicle screw placement has gained popularity among spinal surgeons. It has been shown biomechanically to provide better fixation and improved pullout strength compared to a traditional pedicle screw trajectory. The CBT technique also allows for a less invasive approach for fusion and may have lower incidence of adjacent-level disease. A limitation of the current CBT technique is a lack of readily identifiable and reproducible visual landmarks to guide freehand CBT screw placement in comparison to the well-defined identifiable landmarks for traditional pedicle screw insertion. The goal of this study was to validate a safe and intuitive freehand technique for placement of CBT screws based on optimization of virtual CBT screw placement using anatomical landmarks in the lumbar spine. The authors hypothesized that virtual identification of anatomical landmarks on 3D models of the lumbar spine generated from CT scans would translate to a safe intraoperative freehand technique.

METHODS

Customized, open-source medical imaging and visualization software (3D Slicer) was used in this study to develop a workflow for virtual simulation of lumbar CBT screw insertion. First, in an ex vivo study, 20 anonymous CT image series of normal and degenerative lumbar spines and virtual screw insertion were conducted to place CBT screws bilaterally in the L1–5 vertebrae for each image volume. The optimal safe CBT trajectory was created by maximizing both the screw length and the cortical bone contact with the screw. Easily identifiable anatomical surface landmarks for the start point and trajectory that best allowed the reproducible idealized screw position were determined. An in vivo validation of the determined landmarks from the ex vivo study was then performed in 10 patients. Placement of virtual “test” cortical bone trajectory screws was simulated with the surgeon blinded to the real-time image-guided navigation, and the placement was evaluated. The surgeon then placed the definitive screw using image guidance.

RESULTS

From the ex vivo study, the optimized technique and landmarks were similar in the L1–4 vertebrae, whereas the L5 optimized technique was distinct. The in vivo validation yielded ideal, safe, and unsafe screws in 62%, 16%, and 22% of cases, respectively. A common reason for the nonidealized trajectories was the obscuration of patient anatomy secondary to severe degenerative changes.

CONCLUSIONS

CBT screws were placed ideally or safely 78% of the time in a virtual simulation model. A 22% rate of unsafe freehand trajectories suggests that the CBT technique requires use of image-guided navigation or x-ray guidance and that reliable freehand CBT screw insertion based on anatomical landmarks is not reliably feasible in the lumbar spine.

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Jason K. Chu, Abdullah H. Feroze, Kelly Collins, Lynn B. McGrath Jr., Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams and Samuel R. Browd

OBJECTIVE

Placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common and potentially life-saving neurosurgical procedure, but the economic aspect of EVD management and the relationship to medical expenditure remain poorly studied. Similarly, interinstitutional practice patterns vary significantly. Whereas some institutions require that patients with EVDs be monitored strictly within the intensive care unit (ICU), other institutions opt primarily for management of EVDs on the surgical floor. Therefore, an ICU burden for patients with EVDs may increase a patient’s costs of hospitalization. The objective of the current study was to examine the expense differences between the ICU and the general neurosurgical floor for EVD care.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data from 2 hospitals within a single, large academic institution—the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). Hospital charges were evaluated according to patients’ location at the time of EVD management: SCH ICU, SCH floor, or UWMC ICU. Daily hospital charges from day of EVD insertion to day of removal were included and screened for days that would best represent baseline expenses for EVD care. Independent-samples Kruskal-Wallis analysis was performed to compare daily charges for the 3 settings.

RESULTS

Data from a total of 261 hospital days for 23 patients were included in the analysis. Ten patients were cared for in the UWMC ICU and 13 in the SCH ICU and/or on the SCH neurosurgical floor. The median values for total daily hospital charges were $19,824.68 (interquartile range [IQR] $12,889.73–$38,494.81) for SCH ICU care, $8,620.88 (IQR $6,416.76–$11,851.36) for SCH floor care, and $10,002.13 (IQR $8,465.16–$12,123.03) for UWMC ICU care. At SCH, it was significantly more expensive to provide EVD care in the ICU than on the floor (p < 0.001), and the daily hospital charges for the UWMC ICU were significantly greater than for the SCH floor (p = 0.023). No adverse clinical event related to the presence of an EVD was identified in any of the settings.

CONCLUSIONS

ICU admission solely for EVD care is costly. If safe EVD care can be provided outside of the ICU, it would represent a potential area for significant cost savings. Identifying appropriate patients for EVD care on the floor is multifactorial and requires vigilance in balancing the expenses associated with ICU utilization and optimal patient care.

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David R. Howell, Morgan N. Potter, Michael W. Kirkwood, Pamela E. Wilson, Aaron J. Provance and Julie C. Wilson

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine which variables assessed during an initial clinical evaluation for concussion are independently associated with time until symptom resolution among pediatric patients.

METHODS

Data collected from a prospective clinical registry of pediatric patients with concussion were analyzed. The primary outcome variable was time from injury until symptom resolution. Predictor variables assessed within 10 days after injury included preinjury factors, Health and Behavior Inventory scores, headache severity, and balance, vestibular, and oculomotor test performances. The researchers used univariate Cox proportional models to identify potential predictors of symptom resolution time and constructed a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model in which total duration of concussion symptoms remained the outcome variable.

RESULTS

The sample consisted of 351 patients (33% female, mean age 14.6 ± 2.2 years, evaluated 5.6 ± 2.6 days after concussion). Univariate Cox proportional hazards models indicated that several variables were associated with a longer duration of symptoms, including headache severity (hazard ratio [HR] 0.90 [95% CI 0.85–0.96]), headache frequency (HR 0.83 [95% CI 0.71–0.96]), confusion (HR 0.79 [95% CI 0.69–0.92]), forgetfulness (HR 0.79 [95% CI 0.68–0.92]), attention difficulties (HR 0.83 [95% CI 0.72–0.96]), trouble remembering (HR 0.84 [95% CI 0.72–0.98]), getting tired often (HR 0.86 [95% CI 0.76–0.97]), getting tired easily (HR 0.86 [95% CI 0.76–0.98]), dizziness (HR 0.86 [95% CI 0.75–0.99]), and abnormal performance on the Romberg test (HR 0.59 [95% CI 0.40–0.85]). A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model indicated that an abnormal performance on the Romberg test was independently associated with a longer duration of symptoms (HR 0.65 [95% CI 0.44–0.98]; p = 0.038).

CONCLUSIONS

For children and adolescents evaluated within 10 days after receiving a concussion, abnormal performance on the Romberg test was independently associated with a longer duration of symptoms during recovery. In line with findings of other recent studies investigating predictors of symptom resolution, postural stability tests may provide useful prognostic information for sports medicine clinicians.

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Omer Doron, Tal Or, Limor Battino, Guy Rosenthal and Ofer Barnea

OBJECTIVE

Augmenting brain perfusion or reducing intracranial pressure (ICP) dose is the end target of many therapies in the neuro-critical care unit. Many present therapies rely on aggressive systemic interventions that may lead to untoward effects. Previous studies have used a cardiac-gated intracranial balloon pump (ICBP) to model hydrocephalus or to flatten the ICP waveform. The authors sought to sought to optimize ICBP activation parameters to improve cerebral physiological parameters in a swine model of raised ICP.

METHODS

The authors developed a cardiac-gated ICBP in which the volume, timing, and duty cycle (time relative to a single cardiac cycle) of balloon inflation could be altered. They studied the ICBP in a swine model of elevated ICP attained by continuous intracranial fluid infusion with continuous monitoring of systemic and cerebral physiological parameters, and defined two specific protocols of ICBP activation.

RESULTS

Eleven swine were studied, 3 of which were studied to define the optimal timing, volume, and duty cycle of balloon inflation. Eight swine were studied with two defined protocols at baseline and with ICP gradually raised to a mean of 30.5 mm Hg. ICBP activation caused a consistent modification of the ICP waveform. Two ICBP activation protocols were used. Balloon activation protocol A led to a consistent elevation in cerebral blood flow (8%–25% above baseline, p < 0.00001). Protocol B resulted in a modest reduction of ICP over time (8%–11%, p < 0.0001) at all ICP levels. Neither protocol significantly affected systemic physiological parameters.

CONCLUSIONS

The preliminary results indicate that optimized protocols of ICBP activation may have beneficial effects on cerebral physiological parameters, with minimal effect on systemic parameters. Further studies are warranted to explore whether ICBP protocols may be of clinical benefit in patients with brain injuries with increased ICP.

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Narihito Nagoshi, Osahiko Tsuji, Daisuke Nakashima, Ayano Takeuchi, Kaori Kameyama, Eijiro Okada, Nobuyuki Fujita, Mitsuru Yagi, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura and Kota Watanabe

OBJECTIVE

Intramedullary cavernous hemangioma (CH) is a rare vascular lesion that is mainly characterized by the sudden onset of hemorrhage in young, asymptomatic patients, who then experience serious neurological deterioration. Despite the severity of this condition, the therapeutic approach and timing of intervention for CH remain matters of debate. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical characteristics of CH patients before and after surgery and to identify prognostic indicators that affect neurological function in these patients.

METHODS

This single-center retrospective study included 66 patients who were treated for intramedullary CH. Among them, 57 underwent surgery and 9 patients received conservative treatment. The authors collected demographic, symptomology, imaging, neurological, and surgical data. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the prognostic indicators for neurological function.

RESULTS

When comparing patients with stable and unstable gait prior to surgery, patients with unstable gait had a higher frequency of hemorrhagic episodes (52.4% vs 19.4%, p = 0.010), as assessed by the modified McCormick Scale. The lesion was significantly smaller in patients who underwent conservative treatment compared with surgery (2.5 ± 1.5 mm vs 5.9 ± 4.1 mm, respectively; p = 0.024). Overall, the patients experienced significant neurological recovery after surgery, but a worse preoperative neurological status was identified as an indicator affecting surgical outcomes by multivariate analysis (OR 10.77, 95% CI 2.88–40.36, p < 0.001). In addition, a larger lesion size was significantly associated with poor functional recovery in patients who had an unstable gait prior to surgery (8.6 ± 4.5 mm vs 3.5 ± 1.6 mm, p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS

Once a hemorrhage occurs, surgical intervention should be considered to avoid recurrence of the bleeding and further neurological injury. In contrast, if the patients with larger lesion presented with worse preoperative functional status, surgical intervention could have a risk for aggravating the functional deficiencies by damaging the thinning cord parenchyma. Conservative treatment may be selected if the lesion is small, but regular neurological examination by MRI is needed for assessment of a change in lesion size and for detection of functional deterioration.