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  • Author or Editor: Joseph H. Piatt Jr x
  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
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Rebecca M. Allen, Michael A. Sandquist, Joseph H. Piatt Jr. and Nathan R. W. Selden

Object. The authors performed spinal ultrasonography and/or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in 20 consecutive newborns with spinal strawberry nevi.

Methods. In 15 patients the strawberry nevi were isolated and in five they were associated with other cutaneous markers of occult spinal dysraphism (OSD). In four of five patients with additional cutaneous markers, but in none of those without, MR imaging and surgical exploration demonstrated OSD. The authors found that strawberry nevi in isolation do not appear to indicate underlying dysraphic states. The sparse clinical literature on this topic, which is reviewed, confirms an association between OSD and strawberry nevi presenting in conjunction with other cutaneous signatures. By contrast, spinal strawberry nevi occurring alone may not indicate the presence of underlying dysraphism.

Conclusions. A prospective study of larger numbers of patients with isolated strawberry nevi, undergoing MR imaging evaluation, is necessary to determine whether neuroimaging screening in these patients is indicated.

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Joseph H. Piatt Jr.

Object

This study was undertaken to determine whether a clinically useful rule could be formulated for identifying the presence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in patients who are at exceptionally low risk of cervical spine injury.

Methods

The Pennsylvania Trauma Outcomes Study database was searched for cases of TBI in which the admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was less than or equal to 8. Cases of cervical injury were identified based on diagnostic codes. Associations between cervical injury and various clinical variables were tested using chi-square analysis. The probability of cervical injury was modeled using logistic regression. Decision tree models were constructed. Statistical determinants of overlooked cervical injury were examined.

The prevalence of cervical injury among 41,142 cases of TBI was 8%. Mechanism of injury, thoracolumbosacral (TLS) fracture, age, limb fracture, admission GCS score, hypotension, and facial fracture were associated with cervical injury and were incorporated into the following logistic regression model: probability = 1 / (1 + exp[4.248 − 0.417 × mechanism −0.264 ×age −0.678 ×TLS −0.299 ×limb −0.218 ×GCS −0.231 ×hypotension −0.157 ×facial]).

The results of applying this model provided a rule for cervical spine clearance applicable to 28% of the cases with a negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.0%. Decision tree analysis yielded a rule applicable to 24% of the cases with an NPV of 98.2%. The prevalence of overlooked cervical injury in all individuals with severe TBI was 0.3%; the prevalence of overlooked cervical injury in patients with cervical injury was 3.9%. Overlooked cervical injury was less common in patients with associated TLS fractures (odds ratio 0.453, 95% confidence interval 0.245–0.837).

Conclusions

This analysis identified no acceptable rule to justify relaxing vigilance in the search for cervical injury in patients with severe TBI. Provider vigilance and consequent rates of overlooked cervical injury can be affected by environmental cues and presumably by other behavioral and organizational factors.

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Joseph H. Piatt Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The natural history and management of myelomeningocele (MM) in children is fairly well understood. There is a deficiency of knowledge regarding the care of adults, however, even though there are now more adults than children living with MM. The purpose of this study was to characterize the hospital care of adults with MM and hydrocephalus on a nationwide population base. Adults with other forms of spina bifida (SB) were studied for contrast.

METHODS

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the years 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010 was queried for admissions with diagnostic ICD-9-CM codes for MM with hydrocephalus and for other forms of SB.

RESULTS

There were 4657 admissions of patients with MM and 12,369 admissions of patients with SB in the sample. Nationwide rates of admission increased steadily for both MM and SB patients throughout the study period. Hospital charges increased faster than the health care component of the Consumer Price Index. Patients with MM were younger than patients with SB, but annual admissions of MM patients older than 40 years increased significantly during the study period. With respect to hospital death and discharge home, outcomes of surgery for hydrocephalus were superior at high-volume hospitals. Patients with MM and SB were admitted to the hospital more frequently than the general population for surgery to treat degenerative spine disease.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with MM and SB continue to require neurosurgical attention in adulthood, and the demand for services for older patients with MM is increasing. Management of hydrocephalus at high-volume centers is advantageous for this population. Patients with MM or SB may experience high rates of degenerative spine disease.