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Michael M. McDowell, Christopher P. Kellner, Sunjay M. Barton, Charles B. Mikell, Eric S. Sussman, Simon G. Heuts and E. Sander Connolly

In this report, the authors sought to summarize existing literature to provide an overview of the currently available techniques and to critically assess the evidence for or against their application in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) for management, prognostication, and research. Functional imaging in ICH represents a potential major step forward in the ability of physicians to assess patients suffering from this devastating illness due to the advantages over standing imaging modalities focused on general tissue structure alone, but its use is highly controversial due to the relative paucity of literature and the lack of consolidation of the predominantly small data sets that are currently in existence. Current data support that diffusion tensor imaging and tractography, diffusion-perfusion weighted MRI techniques, and functional MRI all possess major potential in the areas of highlighting motor deficits, motor recovery, and network reorganization. Novel clinical studies designed to objectively assess the value of each of these modalities on a wider scale in conjunction with other methods of investigation and management will allow for their rapid incorporation into standard practice.

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Zachary L. Hickman, Michael M. McDowell, Sunjay M. Barton, Eric S. Sussman, Eli Grunstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

The endoscopic transnasal approach to the rostral pediatric spine and craniovertebral junction is a relatively new technique that provides an alternative to the traditional transoral approach to the anterior pediatric spine. In this case series, the authors provide 2 additional examples of patients undergoing endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomies for ventral decompression of the spinal cord. Both patients would have required transection of the palate to undergo an effective transoral operation, which can be a cause of significant morbidity. In one case, transnasal decompression was initially incomplete, and decompression was successfully achieved via a second endoscopic transnasal operation. Both cases resulted in significant neurological recovery and stable long-term spinal alignment. The transnasal approach benefits from entering into the posterior pharynx at an angle that often reduces the length of postoperative intubation and may speed a patient's return to oral intake. Higher reoperation rates are a concern for many endoscopic approaches, but there are insufficient data to conclude if this is the case for this procedure. Further experience with this technique will provide a better understanding of the indications for which it is most effective. Transcervical and transoral endoscopic approaches have also been reported and provide additional options for pediatric anterior cervical spine surgery.

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Eric S. Sussman, Christopher P. Kellner, Eric Nelson, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Rachel A. Bruce, Zong Zhuang and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Ventriculostomy—the placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD)—is a common procedure performed in patients with acute neurological injury. Although generally considered a low-risk intervention, recent studies have cited higher rates of hemorrhagic complications than those previously reported. The authors sought to determine the rate of postventriculostomy hemorrhage in a cohort of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and to identify predictors of hemorrhagic complications of EVD placement.

Methods

Patients with ICH who underwent EVD placement and had both pre- and postprocedural imaging available for analysis were included in this study. Relevant data were prospectively collected for each patient who satisfied inclusion criteria. Variables with a p < 0.20 on univariate analyses were included in a stepwise logistic regression model to identify predictors of postventriculostomy hemorrhage.

Results

Sixty-nine patients were eligible for this analysis. Postventriculostomy hemorrhage occurred in 31.9% of patients. Among all patients with intraparenchymal hemorrhage, the mean hemorrhage volume was 0.66 ± 1.06 cm3. Stratified according to ventricular catheter diameter, patients treated with smaller-diameter catheters had a significantly greater mean hemorrhage volume than patients treated with larger-diameter catheters (0.84 ± 1.2 cm3 vs 0.14 ± 0.12 cm3, p = 0.049). Postventriculostomy hemorrhage was clinically significant in only 1 patient (1.4%). Overall, postventriculostomy hemorrhage was not associated with functional outcome or mortality at either discharge or 90 days. In the multivariate model, an age > 75 years was the only independent predictor of EVD-associated hemorrhage.

Conclusions

Advanced age is predictive of EVD-related hemorrhage in patients with ICH. While postventriculostomy hemorrhage is common, it appears to be of minor clinical significance in the majority of patients.

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Benjamin C. Kennedy, Kathleen M. Kelly, Michelle Q. Phan, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Richard C. E. Anderson and Neil A. Feldstein

OBJECT

Symptomatic pediatric Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is most often treated with posterior fossa decompression (PFD), but controversy exists over whether the dura needs to be opened during PFD. While dural opening as a part of PFD has been suggested to result in a higher rate of resolution of CM symptoms, it has also been shown to lead to more frequent complications. In this paper, the authors present the largest reported series of outcomes after PFD without dural opening surgery, as well as identify risk factors for recurrence.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of 156 consecutive pediatric patients in whom the senior authors performed PFD without dural opening from 2003 to 2013. Patient demographics, clinical symptoms and signs, radiographic findings, intraoperative ultrasound results, and neuromonitoring findings were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to determine risk factors for recurrence of symptoms and the need for reoperation.

RESULTS

Over 90% of patients had a good clinical outcome, with improvement or resolution of their symptoms at last follow-up (mean 32 months). There were no major complications. The mean length of hospital stay was 2.0 days. In a multivariate regression model, partial C-2 laminectomy was an independent risk factor associated with reoperation (p = 0.037). Motor weakness on presentation was also associated with reoperation but only with trend-level significance (p = 0.075). No patient with < 8 mm of tonsillar herniation required reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS

The vast majority (> 90%) of children with symptomatic CM-I will have improvement or resolution of symptoms after a PFD without dural opening. A non–dural opening approach avoids major complications. While no patient with tonsillar herniation < 8 mm required reoperation, children with tonsillar herniation at or below C-2 have a higher risk for failure when this approach is used.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Michael M. McDowell, Ronald L. Hamilton, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Increased survival time after diagnosis of neoplastic disease has resulted in a gradual increase in spine tumor incidence. Radiosurgery is frequently a viable alternative to operative management in a population with severe medical comorbidities. The authors sought to assess the histopathological consequences of radiosurgery in the subset of patients progressing to operative intervention.

METHODS

Eighteen patients who underwent radiosurgery for spine tumors between 2008 and 2014 subsequently progressed to surgical treatment. A histopathological examination of these cases was performed. Indications for surgery included symptomatic compression fractures, radiographic instability, and symptoms of cord or cauda equina compression. Biopsy samples were obtained from the tumor within the radiosurgical zone in all cases and were permanently fixated. Viable tumor samples were stained for Ki 67.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients had metastatic lesions and 3 patients had neurofibromas. The mean patient age was 57 years. The operative indication was symptomatic compression in 10 cases (67%). The most frequent metastatic lesions were breast cancer (4 cases), renal cell carcinoma (3), prostate cancer (2), and endometrial cancer (2). In 9 (60%) of the 15 metastatic cases, histological examination of the lesions showed minimal evidence of inflammation. Viable tumor at the margins of the radiosurgery was seen in 9 (60%) of the metastatic cases. Necrosis in the tumor bed was frequent, as was fibrotic bone marrow. Vascular ectasia was seen in 2 of 15 metastatic cases, but sclerosis with ectasia was frequent. No evidence of malignant conversion was seen in the periphery of the lesions in the 3 neurofibroma cases. In 1 case of neurofibroma, the lesion demonstrated some small areas of remnant tumor in the radiosurgical target zone.

CONCLUSIONS

This case series demonstrates important histopathological characteristics of spinal lesions treated by SRS. Regions with the highest exposure to radiation appear to be densely necrotic and show little evidence of tumor growth, whereas peripheral regions distant from the radiation dosage are more likely to demonstrate viable tumor in malignant and benign neoplasms. Physiological tissue appears to be similarly affected. With additional investigation, a more homogenized field of hypofractionated radiation exposure may allow for tumor obliteration with relative preservation of critical anatomical structures.

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Xiao Zhu, Michael M. McDowell, William C. Newman, Gary E. Mason, Stephanie Greene and Mandeep S. Tamber

Nivolumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of glioblastoma. The authors present the case of a 10-year-old girl with glioblastoma treated with nivolumab under compassionate-use guidelines. After the first dose of nivolumab the patient developed hemiparesis, cerebral edema, and significant midline shift due to severe tumor necrosis. She was managed using intravenous dexamethasone and discharged on a dexamethasone taper. The patient's condition rapidly deteriorated after the second dose of nivolumab, demonstrating hemiplegia, seizures, and eventually unresponsiveness with a fixed and dilated left pupil. Computed tomography of her brain revealed malignant cerebral edema requiring emergency decompressive hemicraniectomy. Repeat imaging demonstrated increased size of the lesion, reflecting immune-mediated inflammation and tumor necrosis. The patient remained densely hemiplegic, but became progressively more interactive and was ultimately extubated. She resumed nivolumab several weeks later, but again her condition deteriorated with headache, vomiting, swelling at the craniectomy site, and limited right-sided facial movement following the sixth dose. MRI demonstrated severe midline shift and uncal herniation despite her craniectomy. Her condition gradually declined, and she died several days later under “do not resuscitate/do not intubate” orders. To the authors' knowledge, this represents the first case of malignant cerebral edema requiring operative intervention following nivolumab treatment for glioblastoma in a pediatric patient.

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Christopher P. Kellner, Michael M. McDowell, Michelle Q. Phan, E. Sander Connolly, Sean D. Lavine, Philip M. Meyers, Daniel Sahlein, Robert A. Solomon, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C.E. Anderson

Object

The significance of draining vein anatomy is poorly defined in pediatric arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). In adult cohorts, the presence of fewer veins has been shown to lead to an increased rate of hemorrhage, but this phenomenon has not yet been studied in pediatric AVMs. This report analyzes the impact of draining vein anatomy on presentation and outcome in a large series of pediatric AVMs.

Methods

Eighty-five pediatric patients with AVMs were treated at the Columbia University Medical Center between 1991 and 2012. Charts were retrospectively reviewed for patient characteristics, clinical course, neurological outcome, and AVM angioarchitectural features identified on the angiogram performed at presentation. Univariate analyses were performed using chi-square test and ANOVA when appropriate; multivariate analysis was performed using logistic regression.

Results

Four patients were excluded due to incomplete records. Twenty-seven patients had 2 or 3 draining veins; 12 (44.4%) of these patients suffered from hemorrhage prior to surgery. Fifty-four patients had 1 draining vein; 39 (72.2%) of these 54 suffered from hemorrhage. Independent predictors of hemorrhage included the presence of a single draining vein (p = 0.04) and deep venous drainage (p = 0.02). Good outcome (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score < 3) on discharge was found to be associated with higher admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores (p = 0.0001, OR 0.638, 95% CI 0.40–0.93). Poor outcome (mRS score > 2) on discharge was found to be associated with deep venous drainage (p = 0.04, OR 4.68, 95% CI 1.1–19.98). A higher admission GCS score was associated with a lower discharge mRS score (p = 0.0003, OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.46–0.79), and the presence of a single draining vein was associated with a lower mRS score on long-term follow-up (p = 0.04, OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.032–0.99).

Conclusions

The authors' data suggest that the presence of a single draining vein or deep venous drainage plays a role in hemorrhage risk and ultimate outcome in pediatric AVMs. Small AVMs with a single or deep draining vein may have the highest risk of hemorrhage.

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Geoffrey Appelboom, Stephen D. Zoller, Matthew A. Piazza, Caroline Szpalski, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Kerry A. Vaughan, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary Hickman, Anthony D'Ambrosio, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the current leading cause of death in children over 1 year of age. Adequate management and care of pediatric patients is critical to ensure the best functional outcome in this population. In their controversial trial, Cooper et al. concluded that decompressive craniectomy following TBI did not improve clinical outcome of the analyzed adult population. While the study did not target pediatric populations, the results do raise important and timely clinical questions regarding the effectiveness of decompressive surgery in pediatric patients. There is still a paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness of this therapy in a pediatric population, and there is an especially noticeable knowledge gap surrounding age-stratified interventions in pediatric trauma. The purposes of this review are to first explore the anatomical variations between pediatric and adult populations in the setting of TBI. Second, the authors assess how these differences between adult and pediatric populations could translate into differences in the impact of decompressive surgery following TBI.

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Eric S. Sussman, Christopher P. Kellner, Joanna L. Mergeche, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Eric J. Heyer and E. Sander Connolly

Object

Approximately 25% of patients exhibit cognitive dysfunction 24 hours after carotid endarterectomy (CEA). One of the purported mechanisms of early cognitive dysfunction (eCD) is hypoperfusion due to inadequate collateral circulation during cross-clamping of the carotid artery. The authors assessed whether poor collateral circulation within the circle of Willis, as determined by preoperative CT angiography (CTA) or MR angiography (MRA), could predict eCD.

Methods

Patients who underwent CEA after preoperative MRA or CTA imaging and full neuropsychometric evaluation were included in this study (n = 42); 4 patients were excluded due to intraoperative electroencephalographic changes and subsequent shunt placement. Thirty-eight patients were included in the statistical analyses. Patients were stratified according to posterior communicating artery (PCoA) status (radiographic visualization of at least 1 PCoA vs of no PCoAs). Variables with p < 0.20 in univariate analyses were included in a stepwise multivariate logistic regression model to identify predictors of eCD after CEA.

Results

Overall, 23.7% of patients exhibited eCD. In the final multivariate logistic regression model, radiographic absence of both PCoAs was the only independent predictor of eCD (OR 9.64, 95% CI 1.43–64.92, p = 0.02).

Conclusions

The absence of both PCoAs on preoperative radiographic imaging is predictive of eCD after CEA. This finding supports the evidence for an underlying ischemic etiology of eCD. Larger studies are justified to verify the findings of this study. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00597883 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).

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Benjamin C. Kennedy, Michael M. McDowell, Peter H. Yang, Caroline M. Wilson, Sida Li, Todd C. Hankinson, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Object

Pediatric patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) carry a significant risk of developing moyamoya syndrome (MMS) and brain ischemia. The authors sought to review the safety and efficacy of pial synangiosis in the treatment of MMS in children with SCA by performing a comprehensive review of all previously reported cases in the literature.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiographic records in 17 pediatric patients with SCA treated at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York (MSCHONY) who developed radiological evidence of MMS and underwent pial synangiosis between 1996 and 2012. The authors then added any additional reported cases of pial synangiosis for this population in the literature for a combined analysis of clinical and radiographic outcomes.

Results

The combined data consisted of 48 pial synangiosis procedures performed in 30 patients. Of these, 27 patients (90%) presented with seizure, stroke, or transient ischemic attack, whereas 3 (10%) were referred after transcranial Doppler screening. At the time of surgery, the median age was 12 years. Thirteen patients (43%) suffered an ischemic stroke while on chronic transfusion therapy. Long-term follow-up imaging (MR angiography or catheter angiography) at a mean of 25 months postoperatively was available in 39 (81%) treated hemispheres. In 34 (87%) of those hemispheres there were demonstrable collateral vessels on imaging. There were 4 neurological events in 1590 cumulative months of follow-up, or 1 event per 33 patient-years. In the patients in whom complete data were available (MSCHONY series, n = 17), the postoperative stroke rate was reduced more than 6-fold from the preoperative rate (p = 0.0003).

Conclusions

Pial synangiosis in patients with SCA, MMS, and brain ischemia appears to be a safe and effective treatment option. Transcranial Doppler and/or MRI screening in asymptomatic patients with SCA is recommended for the diagnosis of MMS.