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Anthony A. Figaji, Eugene Zwane, A. Graham Fieggen, Jonathan C. Peter and Peter D. Leroux

Object

The goal of this paper was to examine the relationship between methods of acute clinical assessment and measures of secondary cerebral insults in severe traumatic brain injury in children.

Methods

Patients who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), and brain oxygenation (PbtO2) monitoring and who had an initial Glasgow Coma Scale score, Pediatric Trauma Score, Pediatric Index of Mortality 2 score, and CT classification were evaluated. The relationship between these acute clinical scores and secondary cerebral insult measures, including ICP, CPP, PbtO2, and systemic hypoxia were evaluated using univariate and multivariate analysis.

Results

The authors found significant associations between individual acute clinical scores and select physiological markers of secondary injury. However, there was a large amount of variability in these results, and none of the scores evaluated predicted each and every insult. Furthermore, a number of physiological measures were not predicted by any of the scores.

Conclusions

Although they may guide initial treatment, grading systems used to classify initial injury severity appear to have a limited value in predicting who is at risk for secondary cerebral insults.

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Berendina E. Veerbeek, Robert P. Lamberts, A. Graham Fieggen, Ncedile Mankahla, Richard V. P. de Villiers, Elsabe Botha and Nelleke G. Langerak

OBJECTIVE

The main purpose of selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is to reduce spasticity in the lower extremities of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) and spastic diplegia. The potential for developing spinal abnormalities and pain is a concern, especially in the aging CP population. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate spinal abnormalities, level of pain, and disability (due to back or leg pain) in adults with CP, and associations with participant characteristics, more than 25 years after SDR.

METHODS

This is a 9-year follow-up study with data collection conducted in 2008 and 2017. Radiographs were assessed for the degree of scoliosis, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis curvatures, and prevalence of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, while level of pain and disability was determined with a self-developed questionnaire and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) questionnaire, respectively.

RESULTS

Twenty-five participants were included (15 males; median age 35.9 years, IQR 34.3–41.5 years), with a follow-up time after SDR ranging from 25 to 35 years. No clinically relevant changes were found for spinal curvatures, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, perceived pain frequency, and ODI scores between 2008 and 2017. While the prevalence of spondylolysis was 44%, spondylolisthesis was found in 20% (of whom 15% were grade I and 5% grade II), lumbar hyperlordosis was found in 32%, thoracic hyperkyphosis in 4%, and scoliosis in 20%. The Cobb angle was < 25°, and no patient required surgery for scoliosis. In addition, the low back was reported as the most common site of pain, with 28% of the adults with CP having daily pain. This resulted in 80% of the cohort indicating none or minimal disability due to pain based on the ODI. The only correlation found was between hyperkyphosis and female gender.

CONCLUSIONS

At follow-up more than 25 years after SDR, no progression in spinal abnormalities, level of pain, and disability was found when compared with findings 15 years after SDR. The prevalence of scoliosis, thoracic hyperkyphosis, and lumbar hyperlordosis was within the range reported for adults with CP, while spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis occurred more often than would be expected. It is difficult, however, to establish the role of SDR in this finding, given the limited data on the natural history of CP. Despite the encouraging outcome of this long-term follow-up study after SDR, it is important to continue monitoring adults with CP during the aging process.

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Michael C. Dewan, Abbas Rattani, Graham Fieggen, Miguel A. Arraez, Franco Servadei, Frederick A. Boop, Walter D. Johnson, Benjamin C. Warf and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Worldwide disparities in the provision of surgical care result in otherwise preventable disability and death. There is a growing need to quantify the global burden of neurosurgical disease specifically, and the workforce necessary to meet this demand.

METHODS

Results from a multinational collaborative effort to describe the global neurosurgical burden were aggregated and summarized. First, country registries, third-party modeled data, and meta-analyzed published data were combined to generate incidence and volume figures for 10 common neurosurgical conditions. Next, a global mapping survey was performed to identify the number and location of neurosurgeons in each country. Finally, a practitioner survey was conducted to quantify the proportion of disease requiring surgery, as well as the median number of neurosurgical cases per annum. The neurosurgical case deficit was calculated as the difference between the volume of essential neurosurgical cases and the existing neurosurgical workforce capacity.

RESULTS

Every year, an estimated 22.6 million patients suffer from neurological disorders or injuries that warrant the expertise of a neurosurgeon, of whom 13.8 million require surgery. Traumatic brain injury, stroke-related conditions, tumors, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy constitute the majority of essential neurosurgical care worldwide. Approximately 23,300 additional neurosurgeons are needed to address more than 5 million essential neurosurgical cases—all in low- and middle-income countries—that go unmet each year. There exists a gross disparity in the allocation of the surgical workforce, leaving large geographic treatment gaps, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia.

CONCLUSIONS

Each year, more than 5 million individuals suffering from treatable neurosurgical conditions will never undergo therapeutic surgical intervention. Populations in Africa and Southeast Asia, where the proportion of neurosurgeons to neurosurgical disease is critically low, are especially at risk. Increasing access to essential neurosurgical care in low- and middle-income countries via neurosurgical workforce expansion as part of surgical system strengthening is necessary to prevent severe disability and death for millions with neurological disease.

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Anthony A. Figaji, Eugene Zwane, A. Graham Fieggen, Andrew C. Argent, Peter D. Le Roux, Peter Siesjo and Jonathan C. Peter

Object

Cerebral pressure autoregulation is an important neuroprotective mechanism that stabilizes cerebral blood flow when blood pressure (BP) changes. In this study the authors examined the association between autoregulation and clinical factors, BP, intracranial pressure (ICP), brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO2), and outcome after pediatric severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). In particular we examined how the status of autoregulation influenced the effect of BP changes on ICP and PbtO2.

Methods

In this prospective observational study, 52 autoregulation tests were performed in 24 patients with severe TBI. The patients had a mean age of 6.3 ± 3.2 years, and a postresuscitation Glasgow Coma Scale score of 6 (range 3–8). All patients underwent continuous ICP and PbtO2 monitoring, and transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was used to examine the autoregulatory index (ARI) based on blood flow velocity of the middle cerebral artery after increasing mean arterial pressure by 20% of the baseline value. Impaired autoregulation was defined as an ARI < 0.4 and intact autoregulation as an ARI ≥ 0.4. The relationships between autoregulation (measured as both a continuous and dichotomous variable), outcome, and clinical and physiological variables were examined using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results

Autoregulation was impaired (ARI < 0.4) in 29% of patients (7 patients). The initial Glasgow Coma Scale score was significantly associated with the ARI (p = 0.02, r = 0.32) but no other clinical factors were associated with autoregulation status. Baseline values at the time of testing for ICP, PbtO2, the ratio of PbtO2/PaO2, mean arterial pressure, and middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity were similar in the patients with impaired or intact autoregulation. There was an inverse relationship between ARI (continuous and dichotomous) with a change in ICP (continuous ARI, p = 0.005; dichotomous ARI, p = 0.02); that is, ICP increased with the BP increase when ARI was low (weak autoregulation). The ARI (continuous and dichotomous) was also inversely associated with a change in PbtO2 (continuous ARI, p = 0.002; dichotomous ARI, p = 0.02). The PbtO2 increased when BP was increased in most patients, even when the ARI was relatively high (stronger autoregulation), but the magnitude of this response was still associated with the ARI. There was no relationship between the ARI and outcome.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate the influence of the strength of autoregulation on the response of ICP and PbtO2 to BP changes and the variability of this response between individuals. The findings suggest that autoregulation testing may assist clinical decision-making in pediatric severe TBI and help better define optimal BP or cerebral perfusion pressure targets for individual patients.

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Nelleke G. Langerak, Robert P. Lamberts, A. Graham Fieggen, Jonathan C. Peter, Lize van der Merwe, Warwick J. Peacock and Christopher L. Vaughan

Object

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) has been widely performed for the reduction of spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy during the past 2 decades. The objective of this study was to determine whether the surgery has yielded long-term functional benefits for these patients.

Methods

The authors present results from a prospective 20-year follow-up study of locomotor function in 13 patients who underwent an SDR in 1985. For comparison, we also present gait data for 48 age-matched healthy controls (12 at each of 4 time points). Patients were studied preoperatively and then at 1, 3, 10, and 20 years after surgery. Study participants were recorded in the sagittal plane while walking using a digital video camera, and 6 standard gait parameters were measured.

Results

In this group of patients 20 years after surgery, knee range of motion (ROM) was on average 12° greater than preoperative values (p < 0.001). Hip ROM before surgery was no different from that in the healthy control group. This parameter increased markedly immediately after surgery (p < 0.001) but had returned to normal after 20 years. The knee and hip midrange values—a measure of the degree of “collapse” due to muscle weakness after surgery—had returned to preoperative levels after 20 years, although they were respectively 11 and 8° greater than those in healthy controls. Both temporal-distance parameters (dimensionless cadence and dimensionless step length) were significantly greater at 20 years than preoperative values (cadence, p = 0.003; step length, p = 0.02), leading to improved walking speed.

Conclusions

Twenty years after undergoing SDR, our patients showed improved locomotor function compared with their preoperative status.

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Nelleke G. Langerak, Christopher L. Vaughan, Jonathan C. Peter, A. Graham Fieggen and Warwick J. Peacock

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Anthony A. Figaji, A. Graham Fieggen and Jonathan C. Peter