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  • Author or Editor: Daniel Miller x
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Catherine Miller and Daniel Guillaume


External ventricular drains (EVDs) are regularly used in pediatric neurosurgery for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Hemorrhage caused by placing an EVD is a common complication noted in the adult literature. In the pediatric literature, on the other hand, only a few articles have assessed the risk of hemorrhage with placement, and none have reported the occurrence of hemorrhage with removal of an EVD. The authors investigated the incidence of hemorrhage with both placement and removal of the EVD in a pediatric population.


After obtaining institutional review board approval, a comprehensive database was created to include all pediatric patients who required EVD placement between March 2008 and June 2014 at the authors’ institution. A retrospective chart review was completed, and all imaging was reviewed for evidence of hemorrhage with placement and removal of the EVD.


During the designated time period, 73 EVDs were placed in 63 patients (ages 2 weeks–17 years). Indications for EVD placement were as follows: shunt infection/malfunction (21), tumor (12), hydrocephalus (18), hemorrhage (12), edema (4), trauma (1), and other (5). Hemorrhage with placement was noted in 5 of the 50 patients who underwent imaging, with a volume ranging from 0.48 cm3 to 7.7 cm3. Thirty-two patients had imaging after EVD removal, and 7 of these patients were noted to have hemorrhage (volume range 0.012 cm3 to 81.5 cm3).


The authors found the incidence of hemorrhage at EVD placement to be 10%, and the incidence of hemorrhage on EVD removal to be 21.9% in those patients who underwent imaging after each event. Although none of the hemorrhages were of obvious clinical significance, these data can be useful in decision making, and in discussing the risks of EVDs with the patient’s family.

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Catherine Miller, Daniel Guillaume, Kathryn Dusenbery, H. Brent Clark and Christopher Moertel

Brain tumors are the most common solid tumor in childhood, and astrocytomas account for the largest proportion of these tumors. Increasing sophistication in genetic testing has allowed for the detection of specific mutations within tumor subtypes that may represent targets for individualized tumor treatment. The mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and, more specifically, BRAF mutations have been shown to be prevalent in pediatric pilocytic astrocytomas and may represent one such area to target. Herein, the authors describe 2 cases of inoperable, chemotherapy-resistant pediatric pilocytic astrocytomas with a documented response to trametinib, an MAPK pathway inhibitor. While these cases were not treated in the setting of a clinical trial, their data support further ongoing clinical trial investigation to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this agent in pediatric low-grade gliomas.

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David M. Wrubel, Kelsie J. Riemenschneider, Corinne Braender, Brandon A. Miller, Daniel A. Hirsh, Andrew Reisner, William Boydston, Barunashish Brahma and Joshua J. Chern


Quality assessment measures have not been well developed for pediatric neurosurgical patients. This report documents the authors' experience in extracting information from an administrative database to establish the rate of return to system within 30 days of pediatric neurosurgical procedures.


Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics were prospectively collected in administrative, business, and operating room databases. The primary end point was an unexpected return to the hospital system within 30 days from the date of a pediatric neurosurgical procedure. Statistical methods were used to identify clinical and demographic factors associated with the primary end point.


There were 1358 pediatric neurosurgical procedures performed in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta operating rooms in 2012, with 37.4% of these surgeries being preceded by admissions through the emergency department. Medicare or Medicaid was the payor for 54.9% of surgeries, and 37.6% of surgeries were shunt related. There were 148 unexpected returns to the system within 30 days after surgery, and in 109 of these cases, the patient had a presenting complaint that was attributable to the index surgery (related returns). The most common complaints were headache, nausea, vomiting, or seizure after shunt revision or cranial procedures (n = 62). The next most common reason for re-presentation was for wound concerns (n = 30). Thirty-seven of the 109 related returns resulted in a reoperation. The monthly rate of related returns was 8.1% ± 2.5% over the 12-month study period. When using related returns as the dependent variable, the authors found that patients who underwent a shunt-related surgery were both more likely to unexpectedly return to the system (OR 1.86, p = 0.008) and to require surgery upon readmission (OR 3.28, p = 0.004). Because an extended hospitalization shortened the window of time for readmission after surgery, extended length of stay was protective against return to system within 30 days of surgery. Importantly, if related and unrelated returns were analyzed together as the dependent variable (n = 148), no independent clinical and demographic risk factor could be identified.


Quality assessment measures need to be clearly and carefully defined, as the definition itself will impact the analytical results. Clinicians must play a leading role in the development of these measures to ensure their clinical meaningfulness.

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Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Amit Jain, Emily K. Miller, Nicole Huang, Khaled M. Kebaish, Paul D. Sponseller and Daniel M. Sciubba


The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of and factors associated with complications following idiopathic scoliosis surgery in adolescents.


The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database was used to identify patients 10–18 years of age who had undergone spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) from 2002 to 2011. Twenty-three unique in-hospital postoperative complications, including death, were examined. A series of logistic regressions was used to determine if any demographic, comorbid, or surgical parameter was associated with complication development. Results of multiple logistic regression analyses were reported as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. All analyses were performed after the application of discharge weights to produce national estimates.


A total of 36,335 patients met the study inclusion criteria, 7.6% of whom (95% CI 6.3%–8.9%) developed at least one in-hospital complication. The 3 most common complications were respiratory failure (3.47%), reintubation (1.27%), and implant related (1.14%). Major complications such as death, pancreatitis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, visual loss, spinal cord injury, cardiac arrest, sepsis, nerve root injury, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, shock, malignant hyperthermia, myocardial infarction, and iatrogenic stroke each had an incidence ≤ 0.2%. On multiple logistic regression analysis, an increasing age (OR 0.80) was associated with significantly lower odds of complication development; patients who were male (OR 1.80) or who had anemia (OR 2.10), hypertension (OR 2.51), or hypothyroidism (OR 2.27) or underwent revision procedures (OR 5.55) were at a significantly increased risk for complication development. The rates of postoperative complications for posterior, anterior, and combined approaches were 6.7%, 10.0%, and 19.8%, respectively (p < 0.001). Length of fusion (< 8 vs ≥ 8 levels) was not associated with complication development (p = 0.311).


Analysis of 36,335 patients who had undergone surgery for AIS revealed that younger patients, male patients, patients with a history of anemia, hypertension, or hypothyroidism, as well as those undergoing revision or anterior or combined approaches may have higher rates of postoperative complications. However, the overall complication rate was low (7.6%), and major complications had a rate ≤ 0.2% for each event. These findings suggest that surgery for AIS remains relatively safe, and future prospective investigations may further help to decrease the postoperative morbidity rate.