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Jennifer Strahle, Andrew J. Odden, Cormac O. Maher, and Hugh J. L. Garton

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Cormac O. Maher, Karin M. Muraszko, and Hugh J. L. Garton

Object

The authors reviewed their experience with pediatric pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The authors identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at their institution over an 11.5-year interval and were < 25 years of age at the time of diagnosis. All inclusion criteria were met in 106 patients, and included repeated MR imaging as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least a 6-month interval.

Results

The mean age at diagnosis was 11.7 ± 7.2 years. Forty-two patients were male and 64 were female. On follow-up MR imaging evaluation at a mean interval of 3.0 years from the initial study, 98 pineal cysts had no increase in size and no change in imaging appearance. Six pineal cysts increased in size and 2 others had a change in imaging characteristics without associated growth. Younger age was associated with cyst change or growth on follow-up imaging (p = 0.02). The mean age of patients with cysts that changed or grew was 5.5 years, and the mean age of patients with stable pineal cysts was 12.2 years. Initial cyst size and appearance on MR imaging were not significant predictors of growth or change in imaging appearance at follow-up. Similarly, the patient's sex was not a significant predictor of growth or change in imaging characteristics.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation may be considered optional in older children with pineal cysts.

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D. Andrew Wilkinson, Kyle Johnson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this analysis was to define temporal and geographic trends in the surgical treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in a large, privately insured health care network.

METHODS

The authors examined de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured health care network of over 58 million beneficiaries throughout the United States for the period between 2001 and 2014 for all patients undergoing surgical treatment of CM-I. Using a combination of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, the authors identified CM-I and associated diagnoses and procedures over a 14-year period, highlighting temporal and geographic trends in the performance of CM-I decompression (CMD) surgery as well as commonly associated procedures.

RESULTS

There were 2434 surgical procedures performed for CMD among the beneficiaries during the 14-year interval; 34% were performed in patients younger than 20 years of age. The rate of CMD increased 51% from the first half to the second half of the study period among younger patients (p < 0.001) and increased 28% among adult patients between 20 and 65 years of age (p < 0.001). A large sex difference was noted among adult patients; 78% of adult patients undergoing CMD were female compared with only 53% of the children. Pediatric patients undergoing CMD were more likely to be white with a higher household net worth. Regional variability was identified among rates of CMD as well. The average annual rate of surgery ranged from 0.8 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the Pacific census division to 2.0 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the East South Central census division.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of a large nationwide health care network showed recently increasing rates of CMD in children and adults over the past 14 years.

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Jeffrey L. Nadel, D. Andrew Wilkinson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine the rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia in a large, privately insured healthcare network.

METHODS

Rates of screening and surgery for foramen magnum stenosis in children with achondroplasia were determined using de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured healthcare network of over 58 million beneficiaries across the United States between 2001 and 2014. Cases of achondroplasia and screening and surgery claims were identified using a combination of International Classification of Diseases diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology codes. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) practice guidelines were used to determine screening trends.

RESULTS

The search yielded 3577 children age 19 years or younger with achondroplasia. Of them, 236 met criteria for inclusion in the screening analysis. Among the screening cohort, 41.9% received some form of screening for foramen magnum stenosis, whereas 13.9% of patients were fully and appropriately screened according to the 2005 guidelines from the AAP. The screening rate significantly increased after the issuance of the AAP guidelines. Among all children in the cohort, 25 underwent cervicomedullary decompression for foramen magnum stenosis. The incidence rate of undergoing cervicomedullary decompression was highest in infancy (28 per 1000 patient-years) and decreased with age (5 per 1000 patient-years for all other ages combined).

CONCLUSIONS

Children with achondroplasia continue to be underscreened for foramen magnum stenosis, although screening rates have improved since the release of the 2005 AAP surveillance guidelines. The incidence of surgery was highest in infants and decreased with age.

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Jennifer Strahle, Béla J. Selzer, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

Object

The authors investigated the effect of a tablet computer on performance-level settings of a programmable shunt valve.

Methods

Magnetic field strength near the tablet computer with and without a cover was recorded at distances between 0 and 100 mm. Programmable valves were exposed to the tablet device at distances of less than 1 cm, 1–2.5 cm, 2.5–5 cm, 5–10 cm, and greater than 10 cm. For each distance tested, the valves were exposed 100 times to the tablet with the cover, resulting in 500 total valve exposures. The tablet alone, without the cover, was also tested at distances of less than 1 cm for 30 valve exposures. Changes in valve performance-level settings were recorded.

Results

The maximum recorded magnetic flux density of a tablet with a cover was 17.0 mT, and the maximum recorded magnetic flux density of the tablet alone was 7.6 mT. In 100 exposures at distances between 0 and 1 cm, 58% of valves had different settings following exposure. At distances greater than 1 cm but less than 2.5 cm, 5% of valves in 100 exposures had setting changes. Only a single setting change was noted in 100 exposures at distances greater than 2.5 cm but less than 5 cm. No setting changes were noted at distances greater than 5 cm, including 100 exposures between 5 and 10 cm, and 100 exposures of more than 10 cm. For the 30 valve exposures to the tablet without a cover, 20 valve performance-level changes (67%) were noted.

Conclusions

Based on these results, exposure to tablet devices may alter programmable shunt valve settings.

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Brandon W. Smith, Jennifer Strahle, Erick Kazarian, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

It is unclear if there is a relationship between Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) and body mass index (BMI). The aim of this study was to identify the relationship between BMI and cerebellar tonsil position in a random sample of people.

METHODS

Cerebellar tonsil position in 2400 subjects from a cohort of patients undergoing MRI was measured. Three hundred patients were randomly selected from each of 8 age groups (from 0 to 80 years). A subject was then excluded if he or she had a posterior fossa mass or previous posterior fossa decompression or if height and weight information within 1 year of MRI was not recorded in the electronic medical record.

RESULTS

There were 1310 subjects (54.6%) with BMI records from within 1 year of the measured scan. Of these subjects, 534 (40.8%) were male and 776 (59.2%) were female. The average BMI of the group was 26.4 kg/m2, and the average tonsil position was 0.87 mm above the level of the foramen magnum. There were 46 subjects (3.5%) with a tonsil position ≥ 5 mm below the level of the foramen magnum. In the group as a whole, there was no correlation (R2 = 0.004) between BMI and cerebellar tonsil position.

CONCLUSIONS

In this examination of 1310 subjects undergoing MRI for any reason, there was no relationship between BMI and the level of the cerebellar tonsils or the diagnosis of CM-I on imaging.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim, and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Pineal cysts are a frequent incidental finding on intracranial imaging. In adults, the prevalence of pineal cysts is estimated to be 1.1–4.3%. However, the prevalence is not well established in younger patients.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of 14,516 patients 25 years of age and younger, who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over an 11-year period. In patients identified with pineal cysts, the authors analyzed the images according to cyst size, signal characteristics, enhancement pattern, and evidence of local mass effect. Patient characteristics including demographics and other intracranial diagnoses were collected in the pineal cyst population and compared with a randomly selected age- and sex-matched control patient population. The data were evaluated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, linear regression, and ANOVA.

Results

The authors identified 288 pineal region cysts (2.0%). The prevalence of pineal cysts was higher in female (2.4%) than in male patients (1.5%; p < 0.001). Pineal cysts were identified in patients of all ages, with an increased prevalence found in older patients (p < 0.001). Pineal cyst size was similar for all age and sex groups.

Conclusions

Pineal cysts are common in the pediatric population, with an increased prevalence in girls and in older patients.

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Javier Márquez and Mónica Rivero

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Andrew Y. Yew, Zackary E. Boomsaad, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Arachnoid cysts are a frequent finding on intracranial imaging in children. The prevalence and natural history of these cysts are not well defined. The authors studied a large consecutive series of children undergoing MR imaging to better define both the MR imaging–demonstrated prevalence and behavior of these lesions over time.

Methods

The authors reviewed a consecutive series of 11,738 patients who were 18 years of age or younger and had undergone brain MR imaging at a single institution during an 11-year period. In the patients in whom intracranial arachnoid cysts were identified, clinical and demographic information was recorded and imaging characteristics, such as cyst size and location, were evaluated. Prevalence data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, linear regression, and ANOVA. All patients with sufficient data (repeat MR imaging studies as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least 5 months) for a natural history analysis were identified. This group was assessed for any change in symptoms or imaging appearance during the follow-up interval.

Results

Three hundred nine arachnoid cysts (2.6% prevalence rate) were identified. There was an increased prevalence of arachnoid cysts in males (p < 0.000001). One hundred eleven patients met all criteria for inclusion in the natural history analysis. After a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, 11 arachnoid cysts increased in size, 13 decreased, and 87 remained stable. A younger age at presentation was significantly associated with cyst enlargement (p = 0.001) and the need for surgery (p = 0.05). No patient older than 4 years of age at the time of initial diagnosis had cyst enlargement, demonstrated new symptoms, or underwent surgical treatment.

Conclusions

Arachnoid cysts are a common incidental finding on intracranial imaging in pediatric patients. An older age at the time of presentation is associated with a lack of clinical or imaging changes over time.

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Jennifer Strahle, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton, Brandon W. Smith, Jordan Starr, Joseph R. Kapurch II,, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECT

Syrinx size and location within the spinal cord may differ based on etiology or associated conditions of the brain and spine. These differences have not been clearly defined.

METHODS

All patients with a syrinx were identified from 14,118 patients undergoing brain or cervical spine imaging at a single institution over an 11-year interval. Syrinx width, length, and location in the spinal cord were recorded. Patients were grouped according to associated brain and spine conditions including Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I), secondary CM (2°CM), Chiari malformation Type 0 (CM-0), tethered cord, other closed dysraphism, and spinal tumors. Syringes not associated with any known brain or spinal cord condition were considered idiopathic. Syrinx characteristics were compared between groups.

RESULTS

A total of 271 patients with a syrinx were identified. The most common associated condition was CM-I (occurring in 117 patients [43.2%]), followed by spinal dysraphism (20 [7.4%]), tumor (15 [5.5%]), and tethered cord (13 [4.8%]). Eighty-three patients (30.6%) did not have any associated condition of the brain or spinal cord and their syringes were considered idiopathic. Syringes in patients with CM-I were wide (7.8 ± 3.9 mm) compared with idiopathic syringes (3.9 ± 1.0, p < 0.0001) and those associated with tethered cord (4.2 ± 0.9, p < 0.01). When considering CM-I–associated and idiopathic syringes, the authors found that CM-I–associated syringes were more likely to have their cranial extent in the cervical spine (88%), compared with idiopathic syringes (43%; p < 0.0001). The combination of syrinx width greater than 5 mm and cranial extent in the cervical spine had 99% specificity (95% CI 0.92–0.99) for CM-I–associated syrinx.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx morphology differs according to syrinx etiology. The combination of width greater than 5 mm and cranial extent in the cervical spine is highly specific for CM-I–associated syringes. This may have relevance when determining the clinical significance of syringes in patients with low cerebellar tonsil position.