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Paul C. McCormick

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Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Ross C. Puffer, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Wendy Chang, Grant W. Mallory and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECTIVE

Type II odontoid fracture is a common injury among elderly patients, particularly given their predisposition toward low-energy falls. Previous studies have demonstrated a survival advantage following early surgery among patients older than 65 years, yet octogenarians represent a medically distinct and rapidly growing population. The authors compared operative and nonoperative management in patients older than 79 years.

METHODS

A single-center prospectively maintained trauma database was reviewed using ICD-9 codes to identify octogenarians with C-2 cervical fractures between 1998 and 2014. Cervical CT images were independently reviewed by blinded neurosurgeons to confirm a Type II fracture pattern. Prospectively recorded outcomes included Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score, Injury Severity Score (ISS), additional cervical fracture, and cord injury. Primary end points were mortality at 30 days and at 1 year. Statistical tests included the Student t-test, chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, Kaplan-Meier test, and Cox proportional hazard.

RESULTS

A total of 111 patients met inclusion criteria (94 nonoperative and 17 operative [15 posterior and 2 anterior]). Mortality data were available for 100% of patients. The mean age was 87 years (range 80–104 years). Additional cervical fracture, spinal cord injury, GCS score, AIS score, and ISS were not associated with either management strategy at the time of presentation. The mean time to death or last follow-up was 22 months (range 0–129 months) and was nonsignificant between operative and nonoperative groups (p = 0.3). Overall mortality was 13% in-hospital, 26% at 30 days, and 41% at 1 year. Nonoperative and operative mortality rates were not significant at any time point (12% vs 18%, p = 0.5 [in-hospital]; 27% vs 24%, p = 0.8 [30-day]; and 41% vs 41%, p = 1.0 [1-year]). Kaplan-Meier analysis did not demonstrate a survival advantage for either management strategy. Spinal cord injury, GCS score, AIS score, and ISS were significantly associated with 30-day and 1-year mortality; however, Cox modeling was not significant for any variable. Additional cervical fracture was not associated with increased mortality. The rate of nonhome disposition was not significant between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Type II odontoid fracture is associated with high morbidity among octogenarians, with 41% 1-year mortality independent of intervention—a dramatic decrease from actuarial survival rates for all 80-, 90-, and 100-year-old Americans. Poor outcome is associated with spinal cord injury, GCS score, AIS score, and ISS.

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T. David Luo, Michelle J. Clarke, Amy K. Zimmerman, Michael Quinn, David J. Daniels and Amy L. McIntosh

OBJECT

Action motorsports, including motocross, have been gaining popularity among children and adolescents, raising concerns for increased risk of concussions in participating youth. The authors undertook this study to test the following hypotheses: 1) that there is a high rate of concussion symptoms associated with a number of preventable or adjustable risk factors, and 2) that a high percentage of these symptoms are not be reported to adults and medical personnel.

METHODS

The authors identified all motocross riders under the age of 18 at a regional racetrack during the riding season between May and October 2010. The participants completed questionnaires pertaining to demographic characteristics and variables associated with motocross. The questionnaire results were compared with the incidence of self-reported concussion symptoms.

RESULTS

Two hundred two riders were identified who met the criteria for participation in the study, and 139 of them completed the study questionnaire. Of these 139 riders, 67 (48%) reported at least 1 concussion symptom during the season. The majority of riders (98%) reported “always” wearing a helmet, and 72% received professional help with fitting of their helmets. Proper helmet fitting was associated with a 41% decreased risk of concussion symptoms (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.44–0.81, p < 0.01). Sixty-six riders (47%) reported having received sponsor support for motocross participation. Sponsor support conferred a relative risk for concussion symptoms of 1.48 (95% CI 1.05–2.08, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

Nearly half of all motocross competitors under the age of 18 reported concussion symptoms. Preventive measures are necessary to limit the negative impact from concussions. The risk of concussive injury can be decreased for pediatric motocross riders if they receive professional help with proper helmet fitting and through implementation of stricter guidelines regarding sponsorship.

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David J. Daniels, Michelle J. Clarke, Ross Puffer, T. David Luo, Amy L. McIntosh and Nicolas M. Wetjen

OBJECT

Off-road motorcycling is a very popular sport practiced by countless people worldwide. Despite its popularity, not much has been published on the severity and distribution of central nervous system–related injuries associated with this activity in the pediatric population. The purpose of this study was to confirm, characterize, and document the rate of head and spine injuries associated with off-road motorcycling in this population.

METHODS

All patients aged 18 years or less who were treated for a motorbike injury at the authors' institution (a Level 1 regional trauma center) between 2000 and 2007 were identified through in-house surgical and trauma registries. Type, mechanism, and severity of CNS-related injuries were assessed, including: incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), loss of consciousness (LOC), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, head CT findings, neurological deficits, spinal fractures, cervical strain, and use of protective gear, including helmets.

RESULTS

During the 8-year period of study, 298 accidents were evaluated in 248 patients. The patients' mean age at the time of injury was 14.2 ± 2.7 years. Head injury or TBI was identified in 60 (20.1%) of 298 cases (involving 58 of 248 patients). Fifty-seven cases were associated with LOC, and abnormalities were identified on head CT in 10 patients; these abnormalities included skull fractures and epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, and intraparenchymal hemorrhages. The GCS score was abnormal in 11 cases and ranged from 3 to 15, with an overall mean of 14.5. No patients required cranial surgery. Helmet use was confirmed in 43 (71.6%) of the cases involving TBI. Spine fractures were identified in 13 patients (4.3%) and 5 required surgical fixation for their injury.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found a high occurrence of head injuries following pediatric off-road motorcycle riding or motocross accidents despite the use of helmets. Additionally, this study severely underestimates the rate of mild TBIs in this patient population. Our data indicate that motocross is a high-risk sport despite the use of protective gear. Riders and parents should be counseled accordingly about the risks prior to participation.

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David J. Daniels, T. David Luo, Ross Puffer, Amy L. McIntosh, A. Noelle Larson, Nicholas M. Wetjen and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECT

Motocross racing is a popular sport; however, its impact on the growing/developing pediatric spine is unknown. Using a retrospective cohort model, the authors compared the degree of advanced degenerative findings in young motocross racers with findings in age-matched controls.

METHODS

Patients who had been treated for motocross-related injury at the authors' institution between 2000 and 2007 and had been under 18 years of age at the time of injury and had undergone plain radiographic or CT examination of any spinal region were eligible for inclusion. Imaging was reviewed in a blinded fashion by 3 physicians for degenerative findings, including endplate abnormalities, loss of vertebral body height, wedging, and malalignment. Acute pathological segments were excluded. Spine radiographs from age-matched controls were similarly reviewed and the findings were compared.

RESULTS

The motocross cohort consisted of 29 riders (mean age 14.7 years; 82% male); the control cohort consisted of 45 adolescents (mean age 14.3 years; 71% male). In the cervical spine, the motocross cohort had 55 abnormalities in 203 segments (average 1.90 abnormalities/patient) compared with 20 abnormalities in 213 segments in the controls (average 0.65/patient) (p = 0.006, Student t-test). In the thoracic spine, the motocross riders had 51 abnormalities in 292 segments (average 2.04 abnormalities/patient) compared with 25 abnormalities in 299 segments in the controls (average 1.00/patient) (p = 0.045). In the lumbar spine, the motocross cohort had 11 abnormalities in 123 segments (average 0.44 abnormalities/patient) compared with 15 abnormalities in 150 segments in the controls (average 0.50/patient) (p = 0.197).

CONCLUSIONS

Increased degenerative changes in the cervical and thoracic spine were identified in adolescent motocross racers compared with age-matched controls. The long-term consequences of these changes are unknown; however, athletes and parents should be counseled accordingly about participation in motocross activities.

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Wilson P. Daugherty, Michelle J. Clarke, Harry J. Cloft and Giuseppe L. Lanzino

Intracranial aneurysms in the pediatric population are relatively rare entities. Immunocompromised patients (often from HIV/AIDS or pharmacological immunosuppression) represent a significant fraction of children with cerebral aneurysms. One proposed mechanism of aneurysm formation in these patients is from direct infection of the affected arteries. In this study, the authors report on a case of a 14-year-old girl with common variable immunodeficiency with T-cell dysfunction and a CSF polymerase chain reaction test positive for varicella-zoster virus who underwent evaluation for carotid and basilar artery fusiform aneurysms.

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Michelle J. Clarke, Robert D. Ecker, William E. Krauss, Robyn L. McClelland and Mark B. Dekutoski

Object

The cervical foraminotomy was pioneered in the 1940s to address radicular symptoms via a posterior approach, but the long-term outcome has not been adequately studied.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed data obtained from 303 patients (188 male and 115 female, mean age 49.2 years) who had consecutively undergone a single-level posterior foraminotomy for cervical radiculopathy between 1972 and 1992. The median follow-up duration was 7.1 years. The major end point studied was the development of symptomatic adjacent- or same-segment disease. Incidence rates per 1000 person-years were calculated, and the natural history of the disease was predicted using Kaplan–Meier survivorship analysis.

In 15 (4.9%) of 303 patients, symptomatic adjacent-segment disease developed, yielding a rate of 6.4/1000 person-years at risk. This included nine (2.9%) of 303 patients requiring reoperation, yielding a rate of 3.8/1000 person-years. Kaplan–Meier survivorship analysis suggested a relatively stable annual 0.7% rate for developing adjacent-segment disease, with a 10-year rate of 6.7%. Ten patients developed same-segment disease, yielding a risk rate of 3.9/1000 person-years.

Kaplan–Meier survivorship analysis demonstrated a 5- and 10-year risk rate of developing same-segment disease of 3.2 and 5.0%, respectively.

Conclusions

Although additional study is needed, analysis of the present data suggests that posterior foraminotomy is associated with a low rate of same- and adjacent-segment disease.

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Michelle J. Clarke, Patricia L. Zadnik, Mari L. Groves, Daniel M. Sciubba, Timothy F. Witham, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Jean-Paul Wolinsky

OBJECT

Recently, aggressive surgical techniques and a push toward en bloc resections of certain tumors have resulted in a need for creative spinal column reconstruction. Iatrogenic instability following these resections requires a thoughtful approach to adequately transfer load-bearing forces from the skull and upper cervical spine to the subaxial spine.

METHODS

The authors present a series of 7 cases in which lateral mass reconstruction with a cage or fibular strut graft was used to provide load-bearing support, including 1 case of bilateral cage placement.

RESULTS

The authors discuss the surgical nuances of en bloc resection of high cervical tumors and explain their technique for lateral mass cage placement. Additionally, they provide their rationale for the use of these constructs throughout the craniocervical junction and subaxial spine.

CONCLUSIONS

Lateral mass reconstruction provides a potential alternative or adjuvant method of restoring the load-bearing capabilities of the cervical spine.

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Grant W. Mallory, Grigoriy Arutyunyan, Meghan E. Murphy, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Elvis Francois, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Erin K. O'Brien, Michelle J. Clarke, Laurence J. Eckel and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECT

Endoscopic approaches to the anterior craniocervical junction are increasing in frequency. Choice of oral versus endoscopic endonasal approach to the odontoid often depends on the relationship of the C1–2 complex to the hard palate. However, it is not known how this relevant anatomy changes with age. We hypothesize that there is a dynamic relationship of C-2 and the hard palate, which changes with age, and potentially affects the choice of surgical approach. The aim of this study was to characterize the relationship of C-2 relative to the hard palate with respect to age and sex.

METHODS

Emergency department billing and trauma records from 2008 to 2014 were reviewed for patients of all ages who underwent cervical or maxillofacial CT as part of a trauma evaluation for closed head injury. Patients who had a CT scan that allowed adequate visualization of the hard palate, opisthion, and upper cervical spine (C-1 and C-2) were included. Patients who had cervical or displaced facial/skull base fractures, a history of rheumatoid arthritis, or craniofacial anomalies were excluded. The distance from McGregor's palatooccipital line to the midpoint of the inferior endplate of C-2 (McL–C2) was measured on midsagittal CT scans. Patients were grouped by decile of age and by sex. A 1-way ANOVA was performed with each respective grouping.

RESULTS

Ultimately, 483 patients (29% female) were included. The mean age was 46 ± 24 years. The majority of patients studied were in the 2nd through 8th decades of life (85%). Significant variation was found between McL–C2 and decile of age (p < 0.001) and sex (p < 0.001). The mean McL–C2 was 27 mm in the 1st decade of life compared with the population mean of 37 mm. The mean McL–C2 was also noted to be smaller in females (mean difference 4.8 mm, p < 0.0001). Both decile of age (p = 0.0009) and sex (p < 0.0001) were independently correlated with McL–C2 on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The relationship of C-2 and the hard palate significantly varies with respect to age and sex, descending relative to the hard palate a full centimeter on average in adulthood. These findings may have relevance in determining optimal surgical approaches for addressing pathology involving the anterior craniocervical junction.