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Jacob K. Greenberg, Donna B. Jeffe, Christopher R. Carpenter, Yan Yan, Jose A. Pineda, Angela Lumba-Brown, Martin S. Keller, Daniel Berger, Robert J. Bollo, Vijay M. Ravindra, Robert P. Naftel, Michael C. Dewan, Manish N. Shah, Erin C. Burns, Brent R. O’Neill, Todd C. Hankinson, William E. Whitehead, P. David Adelson, Mandeep S. Tamber, Patrick J. McDonald, Edward S. Ahn, William Titsworth, Alina N. West, Ross C. Brownson and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of care and need for repeating neuroimaging among children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) complicated by intracranial injury (ICI). This study’s objective was to investigate physician practice patterns and decision-making processes for these patients in order to identify knowledge gaps and highlight avenues for future investigation.

METHODS

The authors surveyed residents, fellows, and attending physicians from the following pediatric specialties: emergency medicine; general surgery; neurosurgery; and critical care. Participants came from 10 institutions in the United States and an email list maintained by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. The survey asked respondents to indicate management preferences for and experiences with children with mTBI complicated by ICI, focusing on an exemplar clinical vignette of a 7-year-old girl with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 and a 5-mm subdural hematoma without midline shift after a fall down stairs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 52% (n = 536). Overall, 326 (61%) respondents indicated they would recommend ICU admission for the child in the vignette. However, only 62 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that this child was at high risk of neurological decline. Half of respondents (45%; n = 243) indicated they would order a planned follow-up CT (29%; n = 155) or MRI scan (19%; n = 102), though only 64 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that repeat neuroimaging would influence their management. Common factors that increased the likelihood of ICU admission included presence of a focal neurological deficit (95%; n = 508 endorsed), midline shift (90%; n = 480) or an epidural hematoma (88%; n = 471). However, 42% (n = 225) indicated they would admit all children with mTBI and ICI to the ICU. Notably, 27% (n = 143) of respondents indicated they had seen one or more children with mTBI and intracranial hemorrhage demonstrate a rapid neurological decline when admitted to a general ward in the last year, and 13% (n = 71) had witnessed this outcome at least twice in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS

Many physicians endorse ICU admission and repeat neuroimaging for pediatric mTBI with ICI, despite uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of those decisions. These results, combined with evidence that existing practice may provide insufficient monitoring to some high-risk children, emphasize the need for validated decision tools to aid the management of these patients.

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Virendra R. Desai, Aditya Vedantam, Sandi K. Lam, Lucia Mirea, Stephen T. Foldes, Daniel J. Curry, P. David Adelson, Angus A. Wilfong and Varina L. Boerwinkle

OBJECTIVE

Determining language laterality in patients with intractable epilepsy is important in operative planning. Wada testing is the gold standard, but it has a risk of stroke. Both Wada and task-based functional MRI (tb-fMRI) require patient cooperation. Recently, resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) has been explored for language lateralization. In the present study, the correlation between rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI in language lateralization is estimated in a pediatric population with intractable epilepsy.

METHODS

rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI language lateralization testing performed as part of epilepsy surgery evaluation was retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

Twenty-nine patients underwent rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI; a total of 38 rs-fMRI studies and 30 tb-fMRI studies were obtained. tb-fMRI suggested left dominance in 25 of 30 cases (83%), right in 3 (10%), and in 2 (7%) the studies were nondiagnostic. In rs-fMRI, 26 of 38 studies (68%) suggested left dominance, 3 (8%) right dominance, 6 (16%) bilateral, and 3 (8%) were nondiagnostic. When tb-fMRI lateralized to the left hemisphere (25 cases), rs-fMRI was lateralized to the left in 23 patients (92%) and it was bilateral/equal in 2 (8%). When tb-fMRI lateralized to the right (3 cases), rs-fMRI lateralized to the right in all cases (100%). The overall concordance rate was 0.93 (95% CI 0.76–0.99) when considering cases with tb-fMRI and rs-fMRI performed within 6 months of each other, and tb-fMRI results were not nondiagnostic.

CONCLUSIONS

rs-fMRI significantly correlated with tb-fMRI in lateralizing language and suggests the potential role for identifying hemispheric dominance via rs-fMRI. Further investigation and validation studies are warranted.

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Rachel K. Rowe, Jordan L. Harrison, Timothy W. Ellis, P. David Adelson and Jonathan Lifshitz

OBJECTIVE

Experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) models hold significant validity to the human condition, with each model replicating a subset of clinical features and symptoms. TBI is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and teenagers; thus, it is critical to develop preclinical models of these ages to test emerging treatments. Midline fluid percussion injury (FPI) might best represent mild and diffuse clinical brain injury because of the acute behavioral deficits, the late onset of behavioral morbidities, and the absence of gross histopathology. In this study, the authors sought to adapt a midline FPI to postnatal day (PND) 17 and 35 rats. The authors hypothesized that scaling the craniectomy size based on skull dimensions would result in a reproducible injury comparable to the standard midline FPI in adult rats.

METHODS

PND17 and PND35 rat skulls were measured, and trephines were scaled based on skull size. Custom trephines were made. Rats arrived on PND10 and were randomly assigned to one of 3 cohorts: PND17, PND35, and 2 months old. Rats were subjected to midline FPI, and the acute injury was characterized. The right reflex was recorded, injury-induced apnea was measured, injury-induced seizure was noted, and the brains were immediately examined for hematoma.

RESULTS

The authors’ hypothesis was supported; scaling the trephines based on skull size led to a reproducible injury in the PND17 and PND35 rats that was comparable to the injury in a standard 2-month-old adult rat. The midline FPI suppressed the righting reflex in both the PND17 and PND35 rats. The injury induced apnea in PND17 rats that lasted significantly longer than that in PND35 and 2-month-old rats. The injury also induced seizures in 73% of PND17 rats compared with 9% of PND35 rats and 0% of 2-month-old rats. There was also a significant relationship between the righting reflex time and presence of seizure. Both PND17 and PND35 rats had visible hematomas with an intact dura, indicative of diffuse injury comparable to the injury observed in 2-month-old rats.

CONCLUSIONS

With these procedures, it becomes possible to generate brain-injured juvenile rats (pediatric [PND17] and adolescent [PND35]) for studies of injury-induced pathophysiology and behavioral deficits, for which rational therapeutic interventions can be implemented.

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Martina Stippler, Veronica Ortiz, P. David Adelson, Yue-Fang Chang, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Ericka L. Fink, Patrick M. Kochanek, S. Danielle Brown and Michael J. Bell

Object

Minimizing secondary brain injuries after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children is critical to maximizing neurological outcome. Brain tissue oxygenation monitoring (as measured by interstitial partial pressure of O2 [PbO2]) is a new tool that may aid in guiding therapies, yet experience in children is limited. This study aims to describe the authors' experience of PbO2 monitoring after TBI. It was hypothesized that PbO2 thresholds could be established that were associated with favorable neurological outcome, and it was determined whether any relationships between PbO2 and other important clinical variables existed.

Methods

Forty-six children with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8 after resuscitation) who underwent PbO2 and brain temperature monitoring between September 2004 and June 2008 were studied. All patients received standard neurocritical care, and 24 were concurrently enrolled in a trial of therapeutic early hypothermia (n = 12/group). The PbO2 was measured in the uninjured frontal cortex. Hourly recordings and calculated daily means of various variables including PbO2, intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), mean arterial blood pressure, partial pressure of arterial O2, and fraction of inspired O2 were compared using several statistical approaches. Glasgow Outcome Scale scores were determined at 6 months after injury.

Results

The mean patient age was 9.4 years (range 0.1–16.5 years; 13 girls) and 8554 hours of monitoring were analyzed (PbO2 range 0.0–97.2 mm Hg). A PbO2 of 30 mm Hg was associated with the highest sensitivity/specificity for favorable neurological outcome at 6 months after TBI, yet CPP was the only factor that was independently associated with favorable outcome. Surprisingly, instances of preserved PbO2 with altered ICP and CPP were observed in some children with unfavorable outcomes.

Conclusions

Monitoring of PbO2 demonstrated complex interactions with clinical variables reflecting intracranial dynamics using this protocol. A higher threshold than reported in studies in adults was suggested as a potential therapeutic target, but this threshold was not associated with improved outcomes. Additional studies to assess the utility of PbO2 monitoring after TBI in children are needed.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, Matthew A. Adamo, P. David Adelson, David O. Okonkwo and Ian F. Pollack

Object

Fractures of the clivus and traumatic diastases of the clival synchondroses are rare in the pediatric population. The incidence, outcome, and biomechanics associated with these fractures have been difficult to ascertain secondary to the lack of literature pertaining to their occurrence.

Methods

A Boolean search of the electronic medical record database at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was performed to identify patients with fractures of the clivus that were diagnosed using CT of the head. A retrospective review of the chart and radiographic imaging was then performed to assess data regarding patient demographics, mechanism of injury, and skull and brain parenchymal injuries, as well as outcomes.

Results

Between May 2002 and November 2007, 16 patients with fractures of the clivus were identified. The mean age of these patients was 9 years (range 1–16 years). Eleven (68.8%) of the 16 patients had an associated traumatic diastasis of the central skull base. Five (31.3%) of the 16 patients died. However, of the 11 patients who survived, all had a good outcome with a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5 at the time of discharge. The incidence of clival fractures among patients with head injuries was 0.33%.

Conclusions

Clival fractures occur with a similar incidence in both the pediatric and adult trauma population. Outcome is not correlated directly with the extent of clival fracture, but rather with the presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score and concomitant brain parenchymal injuries. The identification of traumatic diastases in patients with clival fractures suggests that static loading forces are a significant factor in the biomechanics producing these types of fractures.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, David O. Okonkwo, Michael J. Bell and P. David Adelson

The authors report on a case of successful reversal of sedation with flumazenil, a benzodiazepine antagonist, in a child following a moderate traumatic brain injury and demonstrate the utility of flumazenil to reverse benzodiazepine effects in traumatically injured children.