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Robert P. Naftel, R. Shane Tubbs, Joshua Y. Menendez, John C. Wellons III, Ian F. Pollack, and W. Jerry Oakes

Object

The effects of posterior fossa decompression on Chiari malformation Type I–induced syringomyelia have been well described. However, treatment of worsening syringomyelia after Chiari decompression remains enigmatic. This paper defines patient and clinical characteristics as well as treatment and postoperative radiological and clinical outcomes in patients experiencing this complication.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Children's of Alabama who developed worsening syringomyelia after Chiari decompression was performed.

Results

Fourteen children (age range 8 months to 15 years), 7 of whom had preoperative syringomyelia, underwent posterior fossa decompression. Aseptic meningitis (n = 3) and bacterial meningitis (n = 2) complicated 5 cases (4 of these patients were originally treated at outside hospitals). Worsening syringomyelia presented a median of 1.4 years (range 0.2–10.3 years) after the primary decompression. Ten children presented with new, recurrent, or persistent symptoms, and 4 were asymptomatic. Secondary Chiari decompression was performed in 11 of the 14 children. The other 3 children were advised to undergo secondary decompression. A structural cause for each failed primary Chiari decompression (for example, extensive scarring, suture in the obex, arachnoid web, residual posterior arch of C-1, and no duraplasty) was identified at the secondary operation. After secondary decompression, 8 patients' symptoms completely resolved, 1 patient's condition stabilized, and 2 patients remained asymptomatic. Radiologically, 10 of the 11 children had a decrease in the size of their syringes, and 1 child experienced no change (but improved clinically). The median follow-up from initial Chiari decompression was 3.1 years (range 0.8–14.1 years) and from secondary decompression, 1.3 years (range 0.3–4.5 years). No patient underwent syringopleural shunting or other nonposterior fossa treatment for syringomyelia.

Conclusions

Based on the authors' experience, children with worsening syringomyelia after decompression for Chiari malformation Type I generally have a surgically remediable structural etiology, and secondary exploration and decompression should be considered.

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Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, John C. Wellons III, Todd C. Hankinson, Jason S. Hauptman, Eric M. Jackson, Hailey Jensen, Mark D. Krieger, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David. D. Limbrick Jr., Patrick J. McDonald, Robert P. Naftel, Jonathan A. Pindrik, Ian F. Pollack, Ron Reeder, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, William E. Whitehead, John R. W. Kestle, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Treating Dandy-Walker syndrome–related hydrocephalus (DWSH) involves either a CSF shunt-based or endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV)–based procedure. However, comparative investigations are lacking. This study aimed to compare shunt-based and ETV-based treatment strategies utilizing archival data from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) registry.

METHODS

A retrospective review of prospectively collected and maintained data on children with DWSH, available from the HCRN registry (14 sites, 2008–2018), was performed. The primary outcome was revision-free survival of the initial surgical intervention. The primary exposure was either shunt-based (i.e., cystoperitoneal shunt [CPS], ventriculoperitoneal shunt [VPS], and/or dual-compartment) or ETV-based (i.e., ETV alone or with choroid plexus cauterization [CPC]) initial surgical treatment. Primary analysis included multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS

Of 8400 HCRN patients, 151 (1.8%) had DWSH. Among these, the 102 patients who underwent shunt placement (79 VPSs, 16 CPSs, 3 other, and 4 multiple proximal catheter) were younger (6.6 vs 18.8 months, p < 0.001) and more frequently had 1 or more comorbidities (37.3% vs 14.3%, p = 0.005) than the 49 ETV-treated children (28 ETV-CPC). Fifty percent of the shunt-based and 51% of the ETV-based treatments failed. Notably, 100% (4/4) of the dual-compartment shunts failed. Adjusting for age, baseline ventricular size, and comorbidities, ETV-based treatment was not significantly associated with earlier failure compared with shunt-based treatment (HR for failure 1.32, 95% CI 0.77–2.26; p = 0.321). Complication rates were low: 4.9% and 6.1% (p = 0.715) for shunt- and ETV-based procedures, respectively. There was no difference in survival between ETV-CPC– and ETV-based treatment when adjusting for age (HR for failure 0.86, 95% CI 0.29–2.55, p = 0.783).

CONCLUSIONS

In this North American, multicenter, prospective database review, shunt-based and ETV-based primary treatment strategies of DWSH appear similarly durable. Pediatric neurosurgeons can reasonably consider ETV-based initial treatment given the similar durability and the low complication rate. However, given the observational nature of this study, the treating surgeon might need to consider subgroups that were too small for a separate analysis. Very young children with comorbidities were more commonly treated with shunts, and older children with fewer comorbidities were offered ETV-based treatment. Future studies may determine preoperative characteristics associated with ETV treatment success in this population.

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Jason S. Hauptman, John Kestle, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Samuel R. Browd, Curtis J. Rozzelle, William E. Whitehead, Robert P. Naftel, Jonathan Pindrik, David D. Limbrick Jr., James Drake, John C. Wellons III, Mandeep S. Tamber, Chevis N. Shannon, Tamara D. Simon, Ian F. Pollack, Patrick J. McDonald, Mark D. Krieger, Jason Chu, Todd C. Hankinson, Eric M. Jackson, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

The primary objective of this study was to use the prospective Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) registry to determine clinical predictors of fast time to shunt failure (≤ 30 days from last revision) and ultrafast time to failure (≤ 7 days from last revision).

METHODS

Revisions (including those due to infection) to permanent shunt placements that occurred between April 2008 and November 2017 for patients whose entire shunt experience was recorded in the registry were analyzed. All registry data provided at the time of initial shunt placement and subsequent revision were reviewed. Key variables analyzed included etiology of hydrocephalus, age at time of initial shunt placement, presence of slit ventricles on imaging at revision, whether the ventricles were enlarged at the time of revision, and presence of prior fast failure events. Univariable and multivariable analyses were performed to find key predictors of fast and ultrafast failure events.

RESULTS

A cohort of 1030 patients with initial shunt insertions experienced a total of 1995 revisions. Of the 1978 revision events with complete records, 1216 (61.5%) shunts remained functional for more than 1 year, and 762 (38.5%) failed within 1 year of the procedure date. Of those that failed within 1 year, 423 (55.5%) failed slowly (31–365 days) and 339 (44.5%) failed fast (≤ 30 days). Of the fast failures, 131 (38.6%) were ultrafast (≤ 7 days). In the multivariable analysis specified a priori, etiology of hydrocephalus (p = 0.005) and previous failure history (p = 0.011) were independently associated with fast failure. Age at time of procedure (p = 0.042) and etiology of hydrocephalus (p = 0.004) were independently associated with ultrafast failure. These relationships in both a priori models were supported by the data-driven multivariable models as well.

CONCLUSIONS

Neither the presence of slit ventricle syndrome nor ventricular enlargement at the time of shunt failure appears to be a significant predictor of repeated, rapid shunt revisions. Age at the time of procedure, etiology of hydrocephalus, and the history of previous failure events seem to be important predictors of fast and ultrafast shunt failure. Further work is required to understand the mechanisms of these risk factors as well as mitigation strategies.

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Jonathan Pindrik, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Jessica S. Alvey, Ron W. Reeder, Ian F. Pollack, John C. Wellons III, Eric M. Jackson, Curtis J. Rozzelle, William E. Whitehead, David D. Limbrick Jr., Robert P. Naftel, Chevis Shannon, Patrick J. McDonald, Mandeep S. Tamber, Todd C. Hankinson, Jason S. Hauptman, Tamara D. Simon, Mark D. Krieger, Richard Holubkov, John R. W. Kestle, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Few studies have addressed surgical resource utilization—surgical revisions and associated hospital admission days—following shunt insertion or endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) with or without choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) for CSF diversion in hydrocephalus. Study members of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) investigated differences in surgical resource utilization between CSF diversion strategies in hydrocephalus in infants.

METHODS

Patients up to corrected age 24 months undergoing initial definitive treatment of hydrocephalus were reviewed from the prospectively maintained HCRN Core Data Project (Hydrocephalus Registry). Postoperative courses (at 1, 3, and 5 years) were studied for hydrocephalus-related surgeries (primary outcome) and hospital admission days related to surgical revision (secondary outcome). Data were summarized using descriptive statistics and compared using negative binomial regression, controlling for age, hydrocephalus etiology, and HCRN center. The study population was organized into 3 groups (ETV alone, ETV with CPC, and CSF shunt insertion) during the 1st postoperative year and 2 groups (ETV alone and CSF shunt insertion) during subsequent years due to limited long-term follow-up data.

RESULTS

Among 1090 patients, the majority underwent CSF shunt insertion (CSF shunt, 83.5%; ETV with CPC, 10.0%; and ETV alone, 6.5%). Patients undergoing ETV with CPC had a higher mean number of revision surgeries (1.2 ± 1.6) than those undergoing ETV alone (0.6 ± 0.8) or CSF shunt insertion (0.7 ± 1.3) over the 1st year after surgery (p = 0.005). At long-term follow-up, patients undergoing ETV alone experienced a nonsignificant lower mean number of revision surgeries (0.7 ± 0.9 at 3 years and 0.8 ± 1.3 at 5 years) than those undergoing CSF shunt insertion (1.1 ± 1.9 at 3 years and 1.4 ± 2.6 at 5 years) and exhibited a lower mean number of hospital admission days related to revision surgery (3.8 ± 10.3 vs 9.9 ± 27.0, p = 0.042).

CONCLUSIONS

Among initial treatment strategies for hydrocephalus, ETV with CPC yielded a higher surgical revision rate within 1 year after surgery. Patients undergoing ETV alone exhibited a nonsignificant lower mean number of surgical revisions than CSF shunt insertion at 3 and 5 years postoperatively. Additionally, the ETV-alone cohort demonstrated significantly fewer hospital admission days related to surgical management of hydrocephalus within 3 years after surgery. These findings suggest a time-dependent benefit of ETV over CSF shunt insertion regarding surgical resource utilization.