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Joseph H. Piatt Jr.

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Sherman C. Stein and Wensheng Guo

Object

The object of this study was to mathematically model the prognosis of a newly inserted shunt in pediatric or adult patients with hydrocephalus.

Methods

A structured search was performed of the English-language literature for case series reporting shunt failure, patient mortality, and shunt removal rates after shunt insertion. A metaanalytic model was constructed to pool data from multiple studies and to predict the outcome of a shunt after insertion. Separate models were used to predict shunt survival rates for children (patients < 17 years old) and adults.

Results

Shunt survival rates in children and adults were calculated for 1 year (64.2 and 80.1%, respectively), 5 years (49.4 and 60.2%, respectively), and the median (4.9 and 7.3 years, respectively). The longer-term rates predicted by the model agree closely with those reported in the literature.

Conclusions

This model gives a comprehensive view of the fate of a shunt for hydrocephalus after insertion. The advantages of this model compared with Kaplan–Meier survival curves are discussed. The model used in this study may provide useful prognostic information and aid in the early evaluation of new shunt designs and techniques.

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Sherman C. Stein, Neil R. Malhotra and Mark G. Burnett

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Mark G. Burnett, Sherman C. Stein and M. Sean Grady

Object. The goal of this study was to create a searchable database of research manuscripts authored by members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AANS/CNS) to describe the nature and character of the research currently being undertaken by neurosurgeons.

Methods. Manuscripts published by all physician members listed in the 2001 AANS/CNS Membership Directory (6921 physicians) were gathered into a database through individual literature searches of the author name for the calendar year 2001. Duplicate publications were purged and the database was reviewed for accuracy. An internal verification of the database revealed a 4% underreporting rate. Statistics from the database were compiled and displayed with information about AANS/CNS members and their clinical activities.

The AANS/CNS members published a total of 2748 research the manuscripts in 479 different journals during 2001. Thirty-eight percent of the manuscripts (1042 of 2748) were authored by US members and 62% (1706 of 2748) by non-US members. The focus of the majority of manuscripts included the areas of brain tumor (26%; 707 of 2748), vascular disease (20%; 558 of 2748), spine (10%; 282 of 2748), and trauma (8%; 233 of 2748). Sixty-nine percent of manuscripts (1897 of 2748) were retrospective and technical clinical studies, and of these 39% (744 of 1897) were case reports. Laboratory investigations made up 15% (414 of 2748) of all manuscripts, whereas prospective randomized clinical trials represented 1% (34 of 2748).

Conclusions. The majority of AANS/CNS member manuscripts are authored by non—US members despite their small AANS/CNS representation. Most research is clinical, based on retrospective data, and includes a large number of case reports. A disparity exists between what neurosurgeons do clinically and both the quantity and subject of their research.

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Shabbar F. Danish, Mark G. Burnett and Sherman C. Stein

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) remains a source of significant morbidity and mortality in patients who undergo craniotomy procedures. Despite several studies in which the safety and efficacy of various prophylactic strategies were examined, there is still no consensus among clinicians. In this paper the authors review the literature with regard to epidemiological and pathophysiological features, screening methods, and prophylactic measures for DVT.

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Sherman C. Stein, Mark G. Burnett and Seema S. Sonnad

Object

The average 65-year-old patient with moderate dementia can look forward to only 1.4 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), that is, longevity times quality of life. Some of these patients suffer from normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and respond dramatically to shunt insertion. Currently, however, NPH cannot be diagnosed with certainty. The authors constructed a Markov decision analysis model to predict the outcome in patients with NPH treated with and without shunts.

Methods

Transition probabilities and health utilities were obtained from a review of the literature. A sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulation were applied to test outcomes over a wide range of parameters. Using shunt response and complication rates from the literature, the average patient receiving a shunt would gain an additional 1.7 QALYs as a result of automatic shunt insertion. Even if 50% of patients receiving a shunt have complications, the shunt response rate would need to be less than 5% for empirical shunt insertion to do more harm than good. Authors of most studies have reported far better statistics.

Conclusions

In summary, many more patients with suspected NPH should be considered for shunt insertion.

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Sherman C. Stein, Joshua M. Levine, Seema Nagpal and Peter D. LeRoux

✓ The authors review literature that challenges the view that vasospasm involving large arteries is the exclusive cause of delayed ischemic neurological deficits (DINDs) following subarachnoid hemorrhage. They discuss alternative mechanisms and review the evidence supporting a potential role for thromboembolism. They conclude that vasospasm and thromboembolism play interrelated and additive roles in the development of DINDs, and that this interaction provides opportunities for novel therapeutic approaches.

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Mark G. Burnett, Seema S. Sonnad and Sherman C. Stein

Object

Many tests have been proposed to help choose candidates for shunt insertion in cases of suspected normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). It is unclear what sensitivity and specificity a prospective test must have to improve outcomes, compared with the results of automatic shunt insertion.

Methods

The authors adapted the decision analysis model used in a companion article to allow for application of a screening test. Using the reported sensitivities and specificities of several such tests, they evaluated the effects such tests would have on the expected outcome of an average 65-year-old patient with moderate dementia. They also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a theoretical screening test with superior sensitivity and specificity.

Conclusions

Although external lumbar drainage comes quite close, none of the screening tests reported to date have sufficient sensitivity and specificity to improve expected outcome in an average candidate, compared with the results of automatic shunt placement in cases of suspected NPH. In addition, even a theoretically improved test would need to be considerably less expensive than prolonged lumbar drainage to be cost-effective in clinical practice.

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Sherman C. Stein, Xiao-Han Chen, Grant P. Sinson and Douglas H. Smith

Object. The goal of this study was to determine the frequency with which cerebral intravascular coagulation (IC) complicates traumatic brain injury (TBI). The authors also investigated the incidence of IC in relation to varying mechanisms, time courses, and severities of TBI and in different species.

Methods. Tissue was sampled from surgical specimens of human cerebral contusions, from rats with lateral fluid-percussion injuries, and from pigs with head rotational acceleration injuries. Immunohistochemical fluorescent staining for antithrombin III was performed to detect cerebral intravascular microthrombi. Abundant IC was found in all specimens, and microthrombi had formed in arterioles and venules of all sizes, ranging from 10 to 600 µm. Although it was more pronounced in focal lesions and more severe injuries, considerable IC was also observed in mild and diffuse injuries. The authors found a strong association between the severity of coagulopathy and the density of IC.

Conclusions. These results strongly support the contention that IC is a universal response to TBI and an important secondary cerebral insult.

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Shabbar F. Danish, Dean Barone, Bradley C. Lega and Sherman C. Stein

Decompressive hemicraniectomy is well accepted for the surgical treatment of intractable intracranial hypertension in cases in which medical management fails. Although it is performed as a life-saving procedure when death is imminent from intracranial hypertension, little is known about the functional outcomes for these patients on long-term follow-up. In this study, the authors performed a systematic review of the literature to examine neurological outcome after hemicraniectomy. A literature search revealed 29 studies that reported outcomes using GOS scores. The GOS scores were transformed to utility values for quality of life using a conversion method based on decision analysis modeling. Based on the literature, 1422 cases were analyzed. The average 6-month-postoperative mortality rate was 28.2%. The mean QOL value among survivors was 0.592, which corresponds roughly to a GOS score of 4. Although more studies are needed for validation of long-term neurological outcome after hemicraniectomy, the assumption that most patients remain in a vegetative state after this intervention is clearly incorrect.