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Tethered cord syndrome: a review of the literature from embryology to adult presentation

Dean A. Hertzler II, John J. DePowell, Charles B. Stevenson, and Francesco T. Mangano

Tethered cord syndrome (TCS) is a clinical condition of various origins that arises from tension on the spinal cord. Radiographic findings may include the conus medullaris in a lower than normal position, fatty infiltration of the filum terminale, lipomyelomeningocele, myelomeningocele, myelocystocele, meningocele, split cord malformations, dermal sinus, anorectal malformations, and intraspinal tumors. The clinical constellation of signs and symptoms associated with TCS may include dermatologic, urological, gastrointestinal, neurological, and orthopedic findings. The current review focuses on TCS by age group of the more common causes of the condition, including myelomeningocele, lipomyelomeningocele, as well as the adult presentation of occult TCS. Pertinent review of the neuroembryology and normal anatomical position of the conus medullaris is included.

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Utility of the material community deprivation index as a metric to identify at-risk children for severe traumatic brain injury

Amber L. Gaulden, Stephen Trinidad, Suzanne Moody, Meera Kotagal, Francesco T. Mangano, and Smruti K. Patel

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality with lasting effects including neurological deficits and psychological comorbidities. Recent studies have shown that social determinants of health are key factors that impact clinical outcomes in other pediatric traumatic injuries, suggesting that these health disparities may have a significant impact on patients sustaining TBI as well. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively review a cohort of pediatric patients diagnosed with TBI and elucidate the relationships among socioeconomic deprivation, patient-specific demographics, and morbidity and mortality.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of pediatric patients (≤ 18 years of age) treated for TBI at a level I pediatric trauma center between 2016 and 2020. Patients with concussion-related injuries without intracranial findings and those with nonaccidental trauma were excluded from the study. In addition to evaluating basic patient demographics, the authors geocoded patient addresses to allow identification of the patient’s home census tract using the material community deprivation index (MCDI). The MCDI is a unique composite index score created by the combination of six census variables and ranges from 0 to 1 in severity.

RESULTS

Of the 513 patients included in this study, 71 (13.8%) were diagnosed with severe TBI, 28 (5.5%) with moderate TBI, and 414 (80.7%) with mild TBI. Patients in quartile 4 (MCDI ≥ 0.45) were at a significantly higher risk of having a severe TBI than patients in quartile 1 (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.1–4.71; p = 0.02). Black patients were more likely to have a firearm-related TBI (OR 3.74, 95% CI 2.01–8.7; p = 0.018) than non-Black patients. Patients who lived in a neighborhood with a lower MCDI were significantly more likely to be discharged home than those who lived in an area with a higher MCDI (OR 2.78, 95% CI 7.90–32.93; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated that inequities continue to exist within the pediatric TBI population and that the MCDI is a valuable tool to identify at-risk subpopulations. More specifically, patients who lived in a neighborhood with a higher MCDI were at higher risk of sustaining a severe TBI. By partnering with communities, families, and policymakers, healthcare providers could serve as advocates for these patients and work to minimize the social disparities that continue to exist.

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Comparison of outcomes after stereoelectroencephalography and subdural grid monitoring in pediatric tuberous sclerosis complex

Thomas Larrew, Jesse Skoch, S. Katie Z. Ihnen, Ravindra Arya, Katherine D. Holland, Jeffrey R. Tenney, Paul S. Horn, James L. Leach, Darcy A. Krueger, Hansel M. Greiner, and Francesco T. Mangano

OBJECTIVE

Patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) epilepsy present with unique clinical challenges such as early seizure onset and high rates of intractability and multifocality. Although there are numerous studies about the safety and efficacy of stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG), this topic has not been studied in TSC patients who have distinct epilepsy profiles. The authors investigated subdural grid (SDG) and SEEG monitoring to determine whether these procedures lead to similar seizure and safety outcomes and to identify features unique to this pediatric population.

METHODS

TSC patients who underwent SDG or SEEG placement and a second epilepsy surgery during the period from 2007 to 2021 were included in this single-center retrospective cohort analysis. Various patient, hospitalization, and epilepsy characteristics were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 50 TSC patients were included in this study: 30 were included in the SDG cohort and 20 in the SEEG cohort. Baseline weekly seizure count did not significantly differ between the 2 groups (p = 0.412). The SEEG group had a greater mean baseline number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (3.0 vs 2.0, p = 0.003), higher rate of previous surgical interventions (25% vs 0%, p = 0.007), and larger proportion of patients who underwent bilateral monitoring (50% vs 13.3%, p = 0.005). Despite this, there was no significant difference in seizure freedom between the SDG and SEEG cohorts. The mean reduction in seizure count was 84.9% and 47.8% of patients were seizure free at last follow-up (mean 79.4 months). SEEG trended toward being a safer procedure than SDG monitoring, with a shorter mean ICU stay (0.7 days vs 3.9 days, p < 0.001), lower blood transfusion rate (0% vs 13.3%, p = 0.140), and lower surgical complication rate (0% vs 10%, p = 0.265).

CONCLUSIONS

In the comparison of the SDG and SEEG cohorts, the SEEG group included patients who appeared to receive more aggressive management and have a higher rate of multifocality, more prior surgical interventions, more AEDs at baseline, and a higher rate of bilateral invasive monitoring. Despite this, the SEEG cohort had similar seizure outcomes and a trend toward increased safety. Based on these findings, SEEG appears to allow for monitoring of a wider breadth of TSC patients given its minimally invasive nature and its relative simplicity for monitoring numerous regions of the brain.