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Chester K. Yarbrough, Jacob K. Greenberg, Matthew D. Smyth, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

Object

Historically, assessment of clinical outcomes following surgical management of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) has been challenging due to the lack of a validated instrument for widespread use. The Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS) is a novel system intended to provide a less subjective evaluation of outcomes for patients with CM-I. The goal of this study was to externally validate the performance of the CCOS.

Methods

Patients undergoing surgery for CM-I between 2001 and 2012 were reviewed (n = 292). Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: 1) patients receiving primary posterior fossa decompression; 2) at least 5.5 months of postoperative clinical follow-up; and 3) patients ≤ 18 years of age at the time of surgery. Outcomes were evaluated using the CCOS, along with a “gestalt” impression of whether patients experienced significant improvement after surgery. A subgroup of 118 consecutive patients undergoing operations between 2008 and 2010 was selected for analysis of interrater reliability (n = 73 meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria). In this subgroup, gestalt and CCOS scores were independently determined by 2 reviewers, and interrater reliability was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and kappa (κ) statistic.

Results

The median CCOS score was 14, and 67% of patients had improved gestalt scores after surgery. Overall, the CCOS was effective at identifying patients with improved outcome after surgery (area under curve = 0.951). The interrater reliability of the CCOS (ICC = 0.71) was high, although the reliability of the component scores ranged from poor to good (ICC 0.23–0.89). The functionality subscore demonstrated a low ICC and did not add to the predictive ability of the logistic regression model (likelihood ratio = 1.8, p = 0.18). When analyzing gestalt outcome, there was moderate agreement between raters (κ = 0.56).

Conclusions

In this external validation study, the CCOS was effective at identifying patients with improved outcomes and proved more reliable than the authors' gestalt impression of outcome. However, certain component subscores (functionality and nonpain symptoms) were found to be less reliable, and may benefit from further definition in score assignment. In particular, the functionality subscore does not add to the predictive ability of the CCOS, and may be unnecessary. Overall, the authors found the CCOS to be an improvement over the previously used assessment of outcome at their institution.

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Timothy W. Vogel, Albert S. Woo, Alex A. Kane, Kamlesh B. Patel, Sybill D. Naidoo and Matthew D. Smyth

Object

The surgical management of infants with sagittal synostosis has traditionally relied on open cranial vault remodeling (CVR) techniques; however, minimally invasive technologies, including endoscope-assisted craniectomy (EAC) repair followed by helmet therapy (HT, EAC+HT), is increasingly used to treat various forms of craniosynostosis during the 1st year of life. In this study the authors determined the costs associated with EAC+HT in comparison with those for CVR.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective case-control analysis of 21 children who had undergone CVR and 21 who had undergone EAC+HT. Eligibility criteria included an age less than 1 year and at least 1 year of clinical follow-up data. Financial and clinical records were reviewed for data related to length of hospital stay and transfusion rates as well as costs associated with physician, hospital, and outpatient clinic visits.

Results

The average age of patients who underwent CVR was 6.8 months compared with 3.1 months for those who underwent EAC+HT. Patients who underwent EAC+HT most often required the use of 2 helmets (76.5%), infrequently required a third helmet (13.3%), and averaged 1.8 clinic visits in the first 90 days after surgery. Endoscope-assisted craniectomy plus HT was associated with shorter hospital stays (mean 1.10 vs 4.67 days for CVR, p < 0.0001), a decreased rate of blood transfusions (9.5% vs 100% for CVR, p < 0.0001), and a decreased operative time (81.1 vs 165.8 minutes for CVR, p < 0.0001). The overall cost of EAC+HT, accounting for hospital charges, professional and helmet fees, and clinic visits, was also lower than that of CVR ($37,255.99 vs $56,990.46, respectively, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Endoscope-assisted craniectomy plus HT is a less costly surgical option for patients than CVR. In addition, EAC+HT was associated with a lower utilization of perioperative resources. Theses findings suggest that EAC+HT for infants with sagittal synostosis may be a cost-effective first-line surgical option.

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David D. Limbrick Jr., Prithvi Narayan, Alexander K. Powers, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Tae Sung Park, Mary Bertrand and Matthew D. Smyth

Object

Hemispherotomy generally is performed in hemiparetic patients with severe, intractable epilepsy arising from one cerebral hemisphere. In this study, the authors evaluate the efficacy of hemispherotomy and present an analysis of the factors influencing seizure recurrence following the operation.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 49 patients (ages 0.2–20.5 years) who underwent functional hemispherotomy at their institution. The first 14 cases were traditional functional hemispherotomies, and included temporal lobectomy, while the latter 35 were performed using a modified periinsular technique that the authors adopted in 2003.

Results

Thirty-eight of the 49 patients (77.6%) were seizure free at the termination of the study (mean follow-up 28.6 months). Of the 11 patients who were not seizure free, all had significant improvement in seizure frequency, with 6 patients (12.2%) achieving Engel Class II outcome and 5 patients (10.2%) achieving Engel Class III. There were no cases of Engel Class IV outcome. The effect of hemispherotomy was durable over time with no significant change in Engel class over the postoperative follow-up period. There was no statistical difference in outcome between surgery types. Analysis of factors contributing to seizure recurrence after hemispherotomy revealed no statistically significant predictors of treatment failure, although bilateral electrographic abnormalities on the preoperative electroencephalogram demonstrated a trend toward a worse outcome.

Conclusions

In the present study, hemispherotomy resulted in freedom from seizures in nearly 78% of patients; worthwhile improvement was demonstrated in all patients. The seizure reduction observed after hemispherotomy was durable over time, with only rare late failure. Bilateral electrographic abnormalities may be predictive of posthemispherotomy recurrent seizures.

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William W. Ashley Jr., Robert C. McKinstry, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Matthew D. Smyth, Benjamin C. Lee and Tae Sung Park

Object

The authors examine the use of rapid-sequence magnetic resonance (rsMR) imaging to make the diagnosis of malfunctioning and/or infected shunts in patients with hydrocephalus. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning is usually used in this context because it rapidly acquires high-quality images, yet it exposes pediatric patients to particularly high levels of radiation. Standard MR imaging requires longer image acquisition time, is associated with movement artifact, and, in children, usually requires sedation. Standard MR imaging provides greater structural resolution, yet visualization of ventricular catheters is relatively poor.

Methods

The authors analyzed a series of 67 rsMR imaging examinations performed without sedation in pediatric patients with hydrocephalus whose mean age was 4 years at the time of the examination. The mean study duration was 22 minutes. Catheter visualization was good or excellent in more than 75% of studies reviewed, and image quality was good or excellent in more than 60% of studies reviewed. The authors analyzed cancer risk with a model used for atomic bomb survivors. Fifty percent of their patients with hydrocephalus had undergone more than four brain imaging studies (CT or MR imaging) in their lifetimes. For the many patients who had undergone more than 15 studies, the total estimated lifetime attributable cancer mortality risk was calculated to be at least 0.35%.

Conclusions

Rapid-sequence MR imaging yields reliable visualization of the ventricular catheter and offers superior anatomical detail while limiting radiation exposure. The authors' protocol is rapid and each image is acquired separately; therefore, motion artifact is reduced and the need for sedation is eliminated. They recommend the use of rsMR imaging for nonemergent evaluation of pediatric hydrocephalus.

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David Y. A. Dadey, Ashwin A. Kamath, Matthew D. Smyth, Michael R. Chicoine, Eric C. Leuthardt and Albert H. Kim

OBJECTIVE

The precision of laser probe insertion for interstitial thermal therapy of deep-seated lesions is limited by the method of stereotactic guidance. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of customized STarFix 3D-printed stereotactic platforms to guide laser probe insertion into mesiotemporal and posterior fossa targets.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 5 patients (12–55 years of age) treated with laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) in which STarFix platforms were used for probe insertion. Bone fiducials were implanted in each patient's skull, and subsequent CT scans were used to guide the design of each platform and incorporate desired treatment trajectories. Once generated, the platforms were mounted on the patients' craniums and used to position the laser probe during surgery. Placement of the laser probe and the LITT procedure were monitored with intraoperative MRI. Perioperative and follow-up MRI were performed to identify and monitor changes in target lesions.

RESULTS

Accurate placement of the laser probe was observed in all cases. For all patients, thermal ablation was accomplished without intraoperative complications. Of the 4 patients with symptomatic lesions, 2 experienced complete resolution of symptoms, and 1 reported improved symptoms compared with baseline.

CONCLUSIONS

Customized stereotactic platforms were seamlessly incorporated into the authors' previously established LITT workflow and allowed for accurate treatment delivery.

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Thomas J. Wilson, Kathleen E. McCoy, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Sergio L. Molina, Matthew D. Smyth and Stephen E. Sullivan

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper is to compare the accuracy of the freehand technique versus the use of intraoperative guidance (either ultrasound guidance or frameless stereotaxy) for placement of parietooccipital ventricular catheters and to determine factors associated with reduced proximal shunt failure.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study included all patients from 2 institutions who underwent a ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting procedure in which a new parietooccipital ventricular catheter was placed between January 2005 and December 2013. Data abstracted for each patient included age, sex, method of ventricular catheter placement, side of ventricular catheter placement, Evans ratio, and bifrontal ventricular span. Postoperative radiographic studies were reviewed for accuracy of ventricular catheter placement. Medical records were also reviewed for evidence of shunt failure requiring revision. Standard statistical methods were used for analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 257 patients were included in the study: 134 from the University of Michigan and 123 from Washington University in St. Louis. Accurate ventricular catheter placement was achieved in 81.2% of cases in which intraoperative guidance was used versus 67.3% when the freehand technique was used. Increasing age reduced the likelihood of accurate catheter placement (OR 0.983, 95% CI 0.971–0.995; p = 0.005), while the use of intraoperative guidance significantly increased the likelihood (OR 2.809, 95% CI 1.406–5.618; p = 0.016). During the study period, 108 patients (42.0%) experienced shunt failure, 79 patients (30.7%) had failure involving the proximal catheter, and 53 patients (20.6%) had distal failure (valve or distal catheter). Increasing age reduced the likelihood of being free from proximal shunt failure (OR 0.983, 95% CI 0.970–0.995; p = 0.008), while both the use of intraoperative guidance (OR 2.385, 95% CI 1.227–5.032; p = 0.011), and accurate ventricular catheter placement (OR 3.424, 95% CI 1.796–6.524; p = 0.009) increased the likelihood.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of intraoperative guidance during parietooccipital ventricular catheter placement as part of a CSF shunt system significantly increases the likelihood of accurate catheter placement and subsequently reduces the rate of proximal shunt failure.

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Francesco T. Mangano, Jose A. Menendez, Tracy Habrock, Prithvi Narayan, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Tae Sung Park and Matthew D. Smyth

Object

The use of adjustable differential pressure valves has been recommended to improve ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt performance in selected patients; however, published data are scarce regarding their clinical reliability. Recently, the identification of a number of malfunctioning programmable valves during shunt revision surgery in children prompted a retrospective review of valve performance in this patient cohort.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart analysis of 100 patients with programmable valve shunts and 89 patients with nonprogrammable valve shunts implanted at the St. Louis Children's Hospital between April 2002 and June 2004. They noted the cause of hydrocephalus, the type of shunt malfunction, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein levels. Regular clinical follow up ranged from 1 to 26 months, with a mean follow-up time of 9.75 months for patients with programmable valves and 10.4 months for patients with nonprogrammable valves.

Patient ages ranged from 2 weeks to 18 years. One hundred patients had 117 programmable valves implanted, and 35 of these patients (35%) underwent shunt revision because of malfunction. The programmable valve itself malfunctioned in nine patients who had undergone shunt revision (11.1%/year of follow up). The nonprogrammable valve group had no valve malfunctions. The overall VP shunt revision rate in the nonprogrammable valve group was 20.2%. No significant differences were identified when CSF protein levels and specific malfunction types were compared within the programmable valve and nonprogrammable valve groups.

Conclusions

In this study the authors demonstrated an annualized intrinsic programmable valve malfunction rate of 11.1%, whereas during the same period no intrinsic valve malfunctions were noted with nonprogrammable valve systems for similar causes of hydrocephalus. The CSF protein levels did not correlate with observed valve malfunction rates. Further evaluation in a prospective, randomized fashion will elucidate specific indications for programmable valve systems and better determine the reliability of these valves in the pediatric population.

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James M. Johnston Jr., Francesco T. Mangano, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Tae Sung Park, Edwin Trevathan and Matthew D. Smyth

Object

The purpose of this study was to better define the incidence of complications associated with placement of subdural electrodes for localization of seizure foci and functional mapping in children.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 112 consecutive patients (53 boys, 59 girls; mean age 10.9 years, range 10 months–21.7 years) with medically intractable epilepsy who underwent invasive monitoring at the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital between January 1994 and July 2005. There were 122 implantation procedures (85 grids and strips, 32 strips only, five grids only, four with additional depth electrodes), with a mean monitoring period of 7.1 days (range 2–21 days). Operative complications included the need for repeated surgery for additional electrode placement (5.7%); wound infection (2.4%); cerebrospinal fluid leak (1.6%); and subdural hematoma, symptomatic pneumocephalus, bone flap osteomyelitis, and strip electrode fracture requiring operative retrieval (one patient [0.8%] each). There were four cases of transient neurological deficit (3.3%) and no permanent deficit or death associated with invasive monitoring.

Conclusions

Placement of subdural grid and strip electrodes for invasive video electroencephalographic monitoring is generally well tolerated in the pediatric population. The authors found that aggressive initial electrode coverage was not associated with higher rates of blood transfusion or perioperative complications, and reduced the frequency of repeated operations for placement of supplemental electrodes.

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James T. Rutka

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Francesco T. Mangano, Jose A. Menendez, Matthew D. Smyth, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Prithvi Narayan and Tae Sung Park

Object

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have been characterized as inherently unstable and are associated with significant pediatric injuries in the US. The authors performed a study to analyze data obtained in pediatric patients who had sustained neurological injuries in ATV-related accidents, identify potential risk factors, and propose preventive measures. The study is based on a 10-year experience at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed data obtained in all patients admitted to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital between 1993 and 2003, limiting their focus to pediatric cases involving ATV-related accidents. A total of 185 patients were admitted with these criteria. Sixty-two patients (33.5%) suffered neurological injuries; there were 42 male and 20 female patients whose age ranged from 2 to 17 years. The most common injuries included skull fracture (37 cases) and closed head injury (30 cases). There were 39 cases of intracranial hemorrhage and 11 of spinal fracture. A total of 15 types of neurosurgical procedure were performed: six craniotomies for hematoma drainage, five craniotomies for elevation of depressed fractures, two procedures to allow placement of an intracranial pressure monitor, one to allow placement of an external ventricular drain, and one to allow the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Two patients had sustained spinal cord injury, and three procedures were performed for spinal decompression or stabilization. The duration of hospital stay ranged from 1 to 143 days (mean 6.6 days). Fifty-seven patients (30.8%) were eventually discharged from the hospital, three (1.6%) were transferred to another hospital, two (1.1%) died, and 123 (66.4%) required in-patient rehabilitation.

Conclusions

Children suffered significant injuries due to ATV accidents. In passengers there was a statistically significant increased risk of neurological injury. The relative risk of neurological injury in patients not wearing helmets was higher than that in those who wore helmets, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Further efforts must be made to improve the proper operation and safety of ATVs, both through the education of parents and children and through the creation of legislation requiring stricter laws concerning ATV use.