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Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Gail M. Annich, Andrea R. Yancon, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a potentially life-saving treatment for patients in refractory cardiorespiratory failure. Neurological complications that result from ECMO treatment are known to significantly impact patient survival and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to review the incidence of neurological complications of ECMO in the pediatric population and the role of neurosurgery in the treatment of these patients.

Methods

Data were obtained from the national Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Registry for the years 1990 to 2009. The neurological complications recorded by the registry include CNS hemorrhage, CNS infarction, and seizure. The ECMO Registry at the authors' institution was then searched, and 3 pediatric patients who had undergone craniotomy during ECMO treatment were identified.

Results

Children in the ELSO Registry who were treated with ECMO survived to hospital discharge in 65% of cases. Intracranial hemorrhage occurred in 7.4% of the ECMO-treated patients, with 36% of those surviving to hospital discharge. Hemorrhage was more likely in patients younger than 30 days old and in those requiring ECMO for cardiac indications. Cerebral infarction occurred in 5.7% of all ECMO-treated patients. Clinically diagnosed seizures occurred in 8.4% of all ECMO-treated patients. The ECMO Registry at the authors' institution revealed that 1898 patients were treated there. Intracranial hemorrhage was diagnosed in 81 patients (5.8%), and 3 of these patients were treated with craniotomy. Two of the patients were alive with minimal neurological impairment and normal school performance at 10 and 16 years of follow-up.

Conclusions

Intracranial hemorrhage is a serious complication of ECMO treatment. While the surgical risk is substantial, there may be a role for surgical evacuation of hemorrhage in well-selected patients.

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Jennifer Strahle, Karin M. Muraszko, Joseph Kapurch, J. Rajiv Bapuraj, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) with an associated spinal syrinx is a common pediatric diagnosis. A better understanding of the relative age-related prevalence and MR imaging characteristics of these associated conditions may lead to improved treatment decisions.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 14,116 consecutive individuals 18 years of age or younger who had undergone brain or cervical spine MR imaging at the University of Michigan between November 1997 and August 2008. In the patients with CM-I, demographic, clinical, and radiographic information was recorded.

Results

Five hundred nine children (3.6%) with CM-I were identified. Among these patients, 23% also had a spinal cord syrinx, and 86% of the syringes were found in the cervical spine. The MR imaging prevalence of CM-I with a syrinx was 1.2% in girls and 0.5% in boys (p < 0.0001). The severity of impaired CSF flow at the foramen magnum was associated with the amount of tonsillar herniation (p < 0.0001) and conformation of the tonsils (p < 0.0001). Patients with CM-I were treated surgically in 35% of cases; these patients exhibited more severe tonsillar herniation (p < 0.0001) and impaired CSF flow (p < 0.0001) as compared with those who did not undergo surgery. On imaging, 32% of all the patients with CM-I were considered symptomatic by the treating physician. Patients were more likely to be considered symptomatic if they were female, had a syrinx, displayed abnormal tonsillar pulsations, or had a greater amount of tonsillar herniation.

Conclusions

In this study the authors describe the age-related prevalence and MR imaging characteristics of CM-I and its association with a syrinx and other abnormalities in a large group of children who underwent MR imaging for any indication. Syringes are more common in older children, in girls, and in patients with a greater degree of tonsillar descent and CSF flow impairment.

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Jennifer Strahle, Karin M. Muraszko, Joseph Kapurch, J. Rajiv Bapuraj, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

The natural history of the Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is incompletely understood. The authors report on the outcome of a large group of patients with CM-I that were initially selected for nonsurgical management.

Methods

The authors identified 147 patients in whom CM-I was diagnosed on MR imaging, who were not offered surgery at the time of diagnosis, and in whom at least 1 year of clinical and MR imaging follow-up was available after the initial CM-I diagnosis. These patients were included in an outcome analysis.

Results

Patients were followed clinically and by MR imaging for a mean duration of 4.6 and 3.8 years, respectively. Of the 147 patients, 9 had new symptoms attributed to the CM-I during the follow-up interval. During this time, development of a spinal cord syrinx occurred in 8 patients; 5 of these patients had a prior diagnosis of a presyrinx state or a dilated central canal. Spontaneous resolution of a syrinx occurred in 3 patients. Multiple CSF flow studies were obtained in 74 patients. Of these patients, 23 had improvement in CSF flow, 39 had no change, and 12 showed worsening CSF flow at the foramen magnum. There was no significant change in the mean amount of cerebellar tonsillar herniation over the follow-up period. Fourteen patients underwent surgical treatment for CM-I. There were no differences in initial cerebellar tonsillar herniation or CSF flow at the foramen magnum in those who ultimately underwent surgery compared with those who did not.

Conclusions

In patients with CM-Is that are selected for nonsurgical management, the natural history is usually benign, although spontaneous improvement and worsening are occasionally seen.

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Jennifer Strahle, Karin M. Muraszko, Steven R. Buchman, Joseph Kapurch, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Chiari malformation (CM) Type I is frequently associated with craniosynostosis. Optimal management of CM in patients with craniosynostosis is not well-established. The goal of this study was to report on a series of pediatric patients with both craniosynostosis and CM and discuss their management.

Methods

The authors searched the medical records of 383 consecutive patients treated for craniosynostosis at a single institution over a 15-year period to identify those with CM. They recorded demographic data as well as surgical treatment and outcomes for these patients. When MR imaging was performed, cerebellar tonsillar descent was recorded and any other associated findings, such as hydrocephalus or spinal syringes, were noted.

Results

A total of 29 patients with both CM and craniosynostosis were identified. Of these cases, 28% had associated occipital venous abnormalities, 45% were syndromic, and 52% also had hydrocephalus. Chiari malformation was more likely to be present in those patients with isolated lambdoid synostosis (55%), multisuture synostosis (35%), and pansynostosis (80%), compared with patients with coronal synostosis (6%) or sagittal synostosis (3%). All patients underwent surgical repair of craniosynostosis: 16 had craniosynostosis repair as well as CM decompression, and 13 patients did not undergo CM decompression. Of the 7 patients in whom craniosynostosis repair alone was performed, 5 had decreased tonsillar ectopia postoperatively and 5 had improved CSF flow studies postoperatively. Both patients with a spinal syrinx had imaging-documented syrinx regression after craniosynostosis repair. In 12 patients in whom CM was diagnosed after primary craniosynostosis repair, 5 had multiple cranial vault expansions and evidence of elevated intracranial pressure. In 5 cases, de novo CM development was documented following craniosynostosis repair at a mean of 3.5 years after surgery.

Conclusions

Chiari malformation is frequently seen in patients with both multi- and single-suture lambdoid craniosynostosis. Chiari malformation, and even a spinal cord syrinx, will occasionally resolve following craniofacial repair. De novo development of CM after craniosynostosis repair is not unusual.

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Javier Márquez and Mónica Rivero

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Cordelie E. Witt, Anthony C. Wang, Cormac O. Maher, Khoi D. Than, Hugh J. L. Garton and Karin M. Muraszko

In this report, the authors describe the first known case of inducible hemifacial weakness in a patient with Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I). The patient was a 14-year-old girl with a 1-year history of right facial paresis induced by sustained leftward head rotation. These episodes were characterized by weak activation of her right facial muscles with preserved eye opening and closure. Additionally, she had hypernasal speech, persistent headaches, and intermittent left arm twitching. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a CM-I. A suboccipital craniectomy and C-1 laminectomy were performed for decompression of the CM-I, with duraplasty and coagulation of the pial surface of the cerebellar tonsils. At the 9-month follow-up, the patient's inducible hemifacial weakness had completely resolved. Her symptoms were thought to have resulted from the CM-I, perhaps due to traction on the right facial nerve by the ectopic tonsils with head rotation.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Samuel W. Terman, Craig Kilburg, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, William F. Chandler, Mohannad Ibrahim and Cormac O. Maher

Object

We reviewed our experience with pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The study population consisted of 48,417 consecutive patients who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over a 12-year interval and who were over 18 years of age at the time of imaging. Patient characteristics, including demographic data and other intracranial diagnoses, were collected from cases involving patients with a pineal cyst. We then identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at our institution and who had at least 6 months of clinical and imaging follow-up. All inclusion criteria for the natural history analysis were met in 151 patients.

Results

Pineal cysts measuring 5 mm or larger in greatest dimension were found in 478 patients (1.0%). Of these, 162 patients were male and 316 were female. On follow-up MR imaging of 151 patients with pineal cyst at a mean interval of 3.4 years from the initial study, 124 pineal cysts remained stable, 4 increased in size, and 23 decreased in size. Cysts that were larger at the time of initial diagnosis were more likely to decrease in size over the follow-up interval (p = 0.004). Patient sex, patient age at diagnosis, and the presence of septations within the cyst were not significantly associated with cyst change on follow-up.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation are not mandatory for adults with asymptomatic pineal cysts.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Thomas M. O'Lynnger, Aditya S. Pandey, Joseph J. Gemmete, B. Gregory Thompson, Karin M. Muraszko, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher

Object

This study was undertaken to define the age-related prevalence of cavernous malformations (CMs) in children and young adults undergoing intracranial imaging. In addition, the authors aim to clarify the natural history of CMs in young people, especially in those with incidentally discovered lesions.

Methods

To identify those patients with CMs, the authors retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of 14,936 consecutive patients 25 years of age or younger who had undergone brain MR imaging. In patients with a CM, clinical and imaging data were collected. Patients with untreated cavernomas who had more than 6 months of clinical and MR imaging follow-up were included in a natural history analysis. The natural history analysis included 110 CMs in 56 patients with a 3.5-year mean clinical follow-up interval (199 patient-years and 361 cavernoma-years).

Results

In 92 patients (0.6%), 164 CMs were identified. The imaging prevalence of cavernomas increased with advancing age (p = 0.002). Multiple CMs occurred in 28 patients (30%), and 8 patients (9%) had a family history of multiple CMs. Fifty patients (54%) presented with symptoms related to the cavernoma, of whom 30 presented with hemorrhage (33%). Of the 164 cavernomas identified, 103 (63%) were considered incidental, asymptomatic lesions. Larger size was associated with acute symptomatic presentation (p = 0.0001). During the follow-up interval, 6 patients with 8 cavernomas developed 11 symptomatic hemorrhages after initial identification. Five of the patients who had a hemorrhage during the follow-up interval had initially presented with hemorrhage, while only 1 had presented incidentally. The hemorrhage rate for all patients in the natural history group was 1.6% per patient-year and 0.9% per cavernoma-year. The hemorrhage rate was 8.0% per patient-year in the symptomatic group versus 0.2% in the incidental group. Symptomatic hemorrhage after long-term follow-up was associated with initial acute presentation (p = 0.02).

Conclusions

The imaging prevalence of CM increases with advancing age during childhood. Patients presenting without hemorrhage have a significantly lower risk of bleeding compared with those who present with acute neurological symptoms. Comparing this series of children to prior analyses of CM natural history in adults, the authors' data do not suggest a higher bleeding risk in younger patients.

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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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Judith M. Wong, John E. Ziewacz, Allen L. Ho, Jaykar R. Panchmatia, Angela M. Bader, Hugh J. Garton, Edward R. Laws and Atul A. Gawande

Object

As part of a project to devise evidence-based safety interventions for specialty surgery, the authors sought to review current evidence in CSF shunt surgery concerning the frequency of adverse events in practice, their patterns, and the state of knowledge regarding methods for their reduction. This review may also inform future and ongoing efforts for the advancement of neurosurgical quality.

Methods

The authors performed a PubMed search using search terms “cerebral shunt,” “cerebrospinal fluid shunt,” “CSF shunt,” “ventriculoperitoneal shunt,” “cerebral shunt AND complications,” “cerebrospinal fluid shunt AND complications,” “CSF shunt AND complications,” and “ventriculoperitoneal shunt AND complications.” Only papers that specifically discussed the relevant complication rates were included. Papers were chosen to be included to maximize the range of rates of occurrence for the adverse events reported.

Results

In this review of the neurosurgery literature, the reported rate of mechanical malfunction ranged from 8% to 64%. The use of programmable valves has increased but remains of unproven benefit even in randomized trials. Infection was the second most common complication, with the rate ranging from 3% to 12% of shunt operations. A meta-analysis that included 17 randomized controlled trials of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis demonstrated a decrease in shunt infection by half (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.73). Similarly, use of detailed protocols including perioperative antibiotics, skin preparation, and limitation of OR personnel and operative time, among other steps, were shown in uncontrolled studies to decrease shunt infection by more than half.

Other adverse events included intraabdominal complications, with a reported incidence of 1% to 24%, intracerebral hemorrhage, reported to occur in 4% of cases, and perioperative epilepsy, with a reported association with shunt procedures ranging from 20% to 32%. Potential management strategies are reported but are largely without formal evaluation.

Conclusions

Surgery for CSF shunt placement or revision is associated with a high complication risk due primarily to mechanical issues and infection. Concerted efforts aimed at large-scale monitoring of neurosurgical complications and consistent quality improvement within these highlighted realms may significantly improve patient outcomes.