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  • Author or Editor: John R. W. Kestle x
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Peter Kan, Marion L. Walker, James M. Drake and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Slit ventricle syndrome (SVS) is a delayed complication of shunt insertion and occurs only in children with slitlike ventricles after shunt placement. Although SVS appears to be related to early shunt placement, its predisposing factors are largely unknown.

Methods

Baseline data in 737 children who had received shunts were obtained from the databases of two previous clinical trials. Ventricular size before shunt placement and at the last routine follow up was measured using the fronto-occipital horn ratio (FOHR). Ventricles with an FOHR less than or equal to 0.2 at follow up were classified as slitlike ventricles. A univariate analysis was performed on data obtained in children with more than 1 year of clinical and radiographic follow up to identify risk factors for developing slitlike ventricles. These results were entered into a multivariate analysis to identify independent predictors of slitlike ventricles.

Two hundred forty-four children had more than 1 year of clinical and radiographic follow-up data. The 23 patients (9.4%) who developed slitlike ventricles had shunts inserted at a younger age (42 compared with 134 days, p = 0.09) and were more likely to have developed hydrocephalus secondary to infection (37.5%), head injury (25.0%), or aqueductal stenosis (22.2%). Slitlike ventricles were seen in 10.8% of patients with differential-pressure valves, 10.5% of patients with Delta valves, and 3.6% of patients with Orbis-Sigma valves (p = 0.007). Regression analysis supported the role of the valve type in developing slitlike ventricles.

Conclusions

Age at shunt insertion and valve type appear to be the modifiable risk factors for developing slitlike ventricles. If the authors of subsequent studies can further validate these conclusions, slow-draining valves and delayed shunt insertion might be used to decrease the incidence of slitlike ventricles and SVS.

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Richard C. E. Anderson, Peter Kan, Paul Klimo, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Marion L. Walker and John R. W. Kestle

Object. Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring has become routine in the management of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many surgeons prefer to use external ventricular drains (EVDs) over fiberoptic monitors to measure ICP because of the added benefit of cerebrospinal fluid drainage. The purpose of this study was to examine a consecutive series of children with TBI and compare the incidence of complications after placement of an EVD, a fiberoptic intraparencyhmal monitor, or both.

Methods. A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify children with TBI who met the criteria for insertion of an ICP monitor. All patients underwent head CT scanning on admission and after placement of an ICP monitor.

During a 5-year period 80 children met the criteria for inclusion in the study. Eighteen children (22.5%) underwent EVD placement only, 18 (22.5%) underwent placement of a fiberoptic device only, and 44 (55%) received both. A total of 62 fiberoptic devices (48%) were inserted, and 68 EVDs (52%) were placed. Overall, there was a fourfold increased risk of complications in children who received an EVD compared with those in whom a fiberoptic monitor was placed (p = 0.004). Hemorrhagic complications were detected in 12 (17.6%) of 62 patients who received an EVD compared with four (6.5%) of 62 patients who received a fiberoptic monitor (p = 0.025). Six (8.8%) of 68 EVDs were malpositioned and required replacement; in three (50%) of these cases a hemorrhagic complication occurred. Only one infection was noted in a patient with an EVD (1.5%).

Conclusions. In this retrospective cohort of pediatric patients with TBI, complication rates were significantly higher in those receiving EVDs than in those in whom fiberoptic monitors were placed. Although the majority of these complications did not entail clinical sequelae, surgeons should be aware of the different complication rates when choosing the most appropriate device for each patient.

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Peter Kan, Aminullah Amini, Kristine Hansen, George L. White Jr., Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Marion L. Walker and John R. W. Kestle

Object

Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often accompanied by early death due to transtentorial herniation. Decompressive craniectomy, performed alone or in conjunction with evacuation of the mass lesion, can reduce the incidence of raised intracranial pressure (ICP). In this paper the authors evaluate mortality and morbidity and long-term outcomes in children who underwent decompressive craniectomy for severe TBI at a single institution.

Methods

Children with severe TBI who underwent decompressive craniectomy at the Primary Children’s Medical Center between 1996 and 2005 were identified retrospectively. Descriptive statistics were used to report postoperative mortality and morbidity rates. Long-term recovery in patients who survived was reported using the King’s Outcome Scale for Closed Head Injury (KOSCHI).

Fifty-one children with a mean follow-up period of 18.6 months were identified. Nonaccidental trauma accounted for 23.5% of cases. The mean preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 4.6. Six patients underwent decompressive craniectomy for elevated ICP only; all other patients underwent decompressive craniectomy in conjunction with removal of the mass lesion. The mean postoperative GCS score was 9.7, and 69.4% of patients had normal ICP levels immediately after surgery. Sixteen children (31.4%) died, including five of six children who underwent decompressive craniectomy for raised ICP alone. Among surviving patients, 2.9% required a tracheostomy, 11.4% required a gastrostomy, 40% experienced posttraumatic shunt-dependent hydrocephalus, and 20% suffered posttraumatic epilepsy requiring antiepileptic agents. The mean KOSCHI score at the last follow-up examination was 4.5 and the mean time to cranioplasty was 2.3 months.

Conclusions

Posttraumatic hydrocephalus and epilepsy were common complications encountered by children with severe TBI who underwent decompressive craniectomy. In patients who underwent decompressive surgery for raised ICP only, the mortality rate was exceedingly high.