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Patrick D. Kelly, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

The failure-free survival of ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPSs) following externalization for distal catheter infection or malfunction has not been adequately explored. Conversion to a ventriculoatrial shunt (VAS) may allow earlier reinternalization in lieu of waiting for the peritoneum to be suitable for reimplantation. This option is tempered by historical concerns regarding high rates of VAS failure, and the risks of rare complications are rampant.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, all patients undergoing externalization of a VPS at a single institution between 2005 and 2020 were grouped according to the new distal catheter terminus location at the time of reinternalization (VPS vs VAS). The primary outcomes were failure-free shunt survival and duration of shunt externalization. Secondary outcomes included early (< 6 months) shunt failure.

RESULTS

Among 36 patients, 43 shunt externalization procedures were performed. Shunts were reinternalized as VPSs in 25 cases and VASs in 18 cases. The median failure-free survival was 1002 (interquartile range [IQR] 161–3449) days for VPSs and 1163 (IQR 360–2927) days for VASs. There was no significant difference in shunt survival according to the new distal catheter terminus (log-rank, p = 0.73). Conversion to a VAS was not associated with shorter duration of shunt externalization (Wilcoxon rank-sum, p = 0.64); the median duration was 7 (IQR 5–11) days for VPSs and 8 (IQR 6–15) days for VASs. No rare complications occurred in the VAS group.

CONCLUSIONS

Shunt failure-free survival rates following externalization are similar to published survival rates for nonexternalized shunts. There was no significant difference in survival between reinternalized VPSs and VASs. Although the VAS was not associated with a shortened duration of externalization, this finding is confounded by strong institutional preference for the VPS over the VAS. Early conversion to the VAS may be a viable treatment option in light of reassuring modern VAS survival data.

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Patrick D. Kelly, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

The failure-free survival of ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPSs) following externalization for distal catheter infection or malfunction has not been adequately explored. Conversion to a ventriculoatrial shunt (VAS) may allow earlier reinternalization in lieu of waiting for the peritoneum to be suitable for reimplantation. This option is tempered by historical concerns regarding high rates of VAS failure, and the risks of rare complications are rampant.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, all patients undergoing externalization of a VPS at a single institution between 2005 and 2020 were grouped according to the new distal catheter terminus location at the time of reinternalization (VPS vs VAS). The primary outcomes were failure-free shunt survival and duration of shunt externalization. Secondary outcomes included early (< 6 months) shunt failure.

RESULTS

Among 36 patients, 43 shunt externalization procedures were performed. Shunts were reinternalized as VPSs in 25 cases and VASs in 18 cases. The median failure-free survival was 1002 (interquartile range [IQR] 161–3449) days for VPSs and 1163 (IQR 360–2927) days for VASs. There was no significant difference in shunt survival according to the new distal catheter terminus (log-rank, p = 0.73). Conversion to a VAS was not associated with shorter duration of shunt externalization (Wilcoxon rank-sum, p = 0.64); the median duration was 7 (IQR 5–11) days for VPSs and 8 (IQR 6–15) days for VASs. No rare complications occurred in the VAS group.

CONCLUSIONS

Shunt failure-free survival rates following externalization are similar to published survival rates for nonexternalized shunts. There was no significant difference in survival between reinternalized VPSs and VASs. Although the VAS was not associated with a shortened duration of externalization, this finding is confounded by strong institutional preference for the VPS over the VAS. Early conversion to the VAS may be a viable treatment option in light of reassuring modern VAS survival data.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Colin T. Prather, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Gary S. Solomon, Allen K. Sills, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Arachnoid cysts (ACs) are congenital lesions bordered by an arachnoid membrane. Researchers have postulated that individuals with an AC demonstrate a higher rate of structural brain injury after trauma. Given the potential neurological consequences of a structural brain injury requiring neurosurgical intervention, the authors sought to perform a systematic review of sport-related structural-brain injury associated with ACs with a corresponding quantitative analysis.

METHODS

Titles and abstracts were searched systematically across the following databases: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Peer-reviewed case reports, case series, or observational studies that reported a structural brain injury due to a sport or recreational activity (hereafter referred to as sport-related) with an associated AC were included. Patients were excluded if they did not have an AC, suffered a concussion without structural brain injury, or sustained the injury during a non–sport-related activity (e.g., fall, motor vehicle collision). Descriptive statistical analysis and time to presentation data were summarized. Univariate logistic regression models to assess predictors of neurological deficit, open craniotomy, and cystoperitoneal shunt were completed.

RESULTS

After an initial search of 994 original articles, 52 studies were found that reported 65 cases of sport-related structural brain injury associated with an AC. The median age at presentation was 16 years (range 4–75 years). Headache was the most common presenting symptom (98%), followed by nausea and vomiting in 49%. Thirteen patients (21%) presented with a neurological deficit, most commonly hemiparesis. Open craniotomy was the most common form of treatment (49%). Bur holes and cyst fenestration were performed in 29 (45%) and 31 (48%) patients, respectively. Seven patients (11%) received a cystoperitoneal shunt. Four cases reported medical management only without any surgical intervention. No significant predictors were found for neurological deficit or open craniotomy. In the univariate model predicting the need for a cystoperitoneal shunt, the odds of receiving a shunt decreased as age increased (p = 0.004, OR 0.62 [95% CI 0.45–0.86]) and with male sex (p = 0.036, OR 0.15 [95% CI 0.03–0.88]).

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review yielded 65 cases of sport-related structural brain injury associated with ACs. The majority of patients presented with chronic symptoms, and recovery was reported generally to be good. Although the review is subject to publication bias, the authors do not find at present that there is contraindication for patients with an AC to participate in sports, although parents and children should be counseled appropriately. Further studies are necessary to better evaluate AC characteristics that could pose a higher risk of adverse events after trauma.

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Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Andrew T. Hale, Brian H. Zalneraitis, Scott L. Zuckerman, Allen K. Sills, and Gary S. Solomon

OBJECTIVE

Over the last 2 decades, sport-related concussion (SRC) has garnered significant attention. Even with increased awareness and athlete education, sideline recognition and real-time diagnosis remain crucial. The need for an objective and standardized assessment of concussion led to the eventual development of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) during the Second International Conference on Concussion in Sport in 2004, which is now in its third iteration (SCAT3). In an effort to update our understanding of the most well-known sideline concussion assessment, the authors conducted a systematic review of the SCAT and the evidence supporting its use to date.

METHODS

English-language titles and abstracts published between 1995 and October 2015 were searched systematically across 4 electronic databases and a review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines adapted for the review of a heterogeneous collection of study designs. Peer-reviewed journal articles were included if they reported quantitative data on any iteration of the SCAT, Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), or modified Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS) data at baseline or following concussion in an exclusively athlete population with any portion older than 13 years of age. Studies that included nonathletes, only children less than 13 years old, exclusively BESS data, exclusively symptom scale data, or a non–SCAT-related assessment were excluded.

RESULTS

The database search process yielded 549 abstracts, and 105 full-text articles were reviewed with 36 meeting criteria for inclusion. Nineteen studies were associated with the SAC, 1 was associated with the mBESS exclusively, and 16 studies were associated with a full iteration of the SCAT. The majority of these studies (56%) were prospective cohort studies. Male football players were the most common athletes studied. An analysis of the studies focused on baseline differences associated with age, sex, concussion history, and the ability to detect an SRC.

CONCLUSIONS

Looking toward the upcoming Concussion in Sport Group meeting in fall 2016, one may expect further revision to the SCAT3. However, based on this systematic review, the authors propose further, in-depth study of an already comprehensive concussion test, with acute, diagnostic, as well as long-term use.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Thomas A. Buckley, Gary S. Solomon, Allen K. Sills, and Zachary Y. Kerr

OBJECTIVE

Sport-related concussion (SRC) has emerged as a public health problem, especially among student-athletes. Whereas most concussions resolve by 2 weeks, a minority of patients experience postconcussion syndrome (PCS), in which symptoms persist for months. The objective of this study was to elucidate factors predictive of PCS among a sample of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student-athletes in the academic years 2009–2010 to 2014–2015.

METHODS

The SRC data originated from the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program (ISP) in the 2009–2010 to 2014–2015 academic seasons. The NCAA ISP is a prospective database made up of a convenience sample of schools across all divisions. All SRCs are reported by certified athletic trainers. The PCS group consisted of concussed student-athletes with concussion-related symptoms that lasted ≥ 4 weeks. The non-PCS group consisted of concussed student-athletes with symptom resolution in ≤ 2 weeks. Those with symptoms that resolved in the intermediate area of 2–4 weeks were excluded. Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated using logistic regression.

RESULTS

During the 2009–2010 to 2014–2015 seasons, 1507 NCAA student-athletes sustained an SRC, 112 (7.4%) of whom developed PCS (i.e., concussion-related symptoms that lasted ≥ 4 weeks). Men's ice hockey contributed the largest proportion of concussions to the PCS group (28.6%), whereas men's football contributed the largest proportion of concussions in the non-PCS group (38.6%). In multivariate analysis, recurrent concussion was associated with increased odds of PCS (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.28–3.36). Concussion symptoms that were also associated with increased odds of PCS included retrograde amnesia (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.34–5.64), difficulty concentrating (OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.23–4.50), sensitivity to light (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.09–3.57), and insomnia (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.30–3.68). Contact level, sex, and loss of consciousness were not associated with PCS.

CONCLUSIONS

Postconcussion syndrome represents one of the most impactful sequelae of SRC. In this study of exclusively collegiate student-athletes, the authors found that recurrent concussions and various concussion-related symptoms were associated with PCS. The identification of initial risk factors for the development of PCS may assist sports medicine clinicians in providing timely interventions and treatments to prevent morbidity and shorten recovery time after SRC.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Natalie Limoges, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lola B. Chambless, Rohan Chitale, J Mocco, and Susan Durham

OBJECTIVE

Residency interviews are integral to the recruitment process yet imperfect. Through surveys of neurosurgery residency applicants, the authors describe interview content and the perceived utility and stress of topics from the applicant’s perspective.

METHODS

All 2018–2019 neurosurgery resident applicants applying to three particular programs were surveyed. Across 10 interview topics, survey questions assessed topic frequency and the applicant’s opinion of the utility and stress of each topic (Likert scale 1–5). Analyses included descriptive statistics, Spearman’s rank correlation, and logistic regression.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-three of 265 surveyed US residency applicants (50%) responded. Extracurricular activities, research, future career, non-medicine interests, and small talk were discussed in all interviews. The least frequent topics included neurosurgical knowledge assessment (79%) and manual dexterity tests (45%). The most useful topics according to respondents were future career objectives (4.78 ± 0.49) and prior research (4.76 ± 0.50); the least useful were neurosurgical knowledge assessment (2.67 ± 1.09) and manual dexterity tests (2.95 ± 1.05). The most stressful topics were neurosurgical knowledge assessment (3.66 ± 1.23) and ethical/behavioral scenarios (2.94 ± 1.28). The utility and stress of manual dexterity tests and neurosurgical knowledge assessments were inversely correlated (r = −0.40, p < 0.01; r = −0.36, p < 0.01), whereas no such correlation existed for ethical/behavioral questions (r = −0.12, p = 0.18), indicating that ethical/behavioral questions may have been stressful but were potentially useful topics. Respondents who attended ≥ 15 interviews were more likely to be asked about the three most stressful topics (each p < 0.05). Respondents with children were less likely to be asked about ethical/behavioral scenarios (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.52, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Applicants found several of the most frequently discussed topics to be less useful, indicating a potential disconnect between applicant opinion and the faculty’s preferred questions. Ethical/behavioral scenarios were rated as stressful but still useful, representing a potentially worthwhile type of question. These data provide several avenues for potential standardization and improvement of the interview process.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Brian Holt Zalneraitis, Douglas J. Totten, Kolin E. Rubel, Andrew W. Kuhn, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Christopher M. Bonfield, Allen K. Sills, and Gary S. Solomon

OBJECTIVE

A significant proportion of patients experience long-term symptoms after sport-related concussion (SRC), and several factors have been associated with this protracted recovery. Limited data exist on the role of socioeconomic status (SES) on SRC outcomes. The objective in this study was to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the effect of SES on outcomes after SRC in student-athletes treated at a regional sports concussion center.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of 282 middle school, high school, and collegiate student-athletes was conducted. An attempt was made to contact all patients seen at a comprehensive SRC center between January 2012 and May 2015 for in-depth interviews. Subsequent demographic data were collected. The SES was defined as follows: cost of living percentile, median income percentile, percentage of college graduates, percentage of homeowners, county type, and insurance status. Outcomes after SRC were defined as follows: days of symptom duration, days of missed school, and days of missed practice. Statistically controlled covariates included sex, race, age, body mass index, concussion history, neuropsychiatric history, and type of sport.

RESULTS

A total of 282 student-athletes consented and were studied. The median age was 15.8 years (range 11.6–22.2 years) and 61.4% of student-athletes were male. A previous concussion was incurred by 34.0% of student-athletes. Football was the most common sport (32.3%), followed by soccer (16.3%), and basketball (15.6%). The median symptom duration was 21 days (range 1–365 days); the median missed school days was 2 (range 0–90 days); and median for days of missed practice was 10 (range 0–150 days). After multivariate Cox regression analysis, no relationship between any of the 6 SES variables and symptom duration or missed practice was seen. However, individuals with private insurance had more missed days of school than those with public insurance (hazard ratio 0.46, 95% CI 0.26–0.83, p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS

In a preliminary study of middle school, high school, and collegiate student-athletes, SES had no impact on the outcomes of symptom duration and missed practice. However, for individuals with private insurance, the return to school was slower than for those with public insurance. This pilot study reveals the complex relationship between SES and SRC recovery, which demands further study with more accurate and validated assessments of SES.

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Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Chevis N. Shannon, Michael S. Golinko, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis (CS) affects about 1 in 2500 infants and is predominantly treated by surgical intervention in infancy. Later in childhood, many of these children wish to participate in sports. However, the safety of participation is largely anecdotal and based on surgeon experience. The objective of this survey study was to describe sport participation and sport-related head injury in CS patients.

METHODS

A 16-question survey related to child/parent demographics, CS surgery history, sport history, and sport-induced head injury history was made available to patients/parents in the United States through a series of synostosis organization listservs, as well as synostosis-focused Facebook groups, between October 2019 and June 2020. Sports were categorized based on the American Academy of Pediatrics groupings. Pearson’s chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, and the independent-samples t-test were used in the analysis.

RESULTS

Overall, 187 CS patients were described as 63% male, 89% White, and 88% non-Hispanic, and 89% underwent surgery at 1 year or younger. The majority (74%) had participated in sports starting at an average age of 5 years (SD 2.2). Of those participating in sports, contact/collision sport participation was most common (77%), and 71% participated in multiple sports. Those that played sports were less frequently Hispanic (2.2% vs 22.9%, p < 0.001) and more frequently had undergone a second surgery (44% vs 25%, p = 0.021). Only 9 of 139 (6.5%) sport-participating CS patients suffered head injuries; 6 (67%) were concussions and the remaining 3 were nondescript but did not mention any surgical needs.

CONCLUSIONS

In this nationwide survey of postsurgical CS patients and parents, sport participation was exceedingly common, with contact sports being the most common sport category. Few head injuries (mostly concussions) were reported as related to sport participation. Although this is a selective sample of CS patients, the initial data suggest that sport participation, even in contact sports, and typically beginning a few years after CS correction, is safe and commonplace.

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Patrick D. Kelly, Pious D. Patel, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Daniel I. Wolfson, Fakhry Dawoud, Ranbir Ahluwalia, Oscar D. Guillamondegui, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Several scores estimate the prognosis for gunshot wounds to the head (GSWH) at the point of hospital admission. However, prognosis may change over the course of the hospital stay. This study measures the accuracy of the Baylor score among patients who have already survived the acute phase of hospitalization and generates conditional outcome curves for the duration of hospital stay for patients with GSWH.

METHODS

Patients in whom GSWH with dural penetration occurred between January 2009 and June 2019 were identified from a trauma registry at a level I trauma center in the southeastern US. The Baylor score was calculated using component variables. Conditional overall survival and good functional outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5) curves were generated. The accuracy of the Baylor score in predicting mortality and functional outcome among acute-phase survivors (survival > 48 hours) was assessed using receiver operating characteristic curves and the area under the curve (AUC).

RESULTS

A total of 297 patients were included (mean age 38.0 [SD 15.7] years, 73.4% White, 85.2% male), and 129 patients survived the initial 48 hours of admission. These acute-phase survivors had a decreased mortality rate of 32.6% (n = 42) compared to 68.4% (n = 203) for all patients, and an increased rate of good functional outcome (48.1%; n = 62) compared to the rate for all patients (23.2%; n = 69). Among acute-phase survivors, the Baylor score accurately predicted mortality (AUC = 0.807) and functional outcome (AUC = 0.837). However, the Baylor score generally overestimated true mortality rates and underestimated good functional outcome. Additionally, hospital day 18 represented an inflection point of decreasing probability of good functional outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

During admission for GSWH, surviving beyond the acute phase of 48 hours doubles the rates of survival and good functional outcome. The Baylor score maintains reasonable accuracy in predicting these outcomes for acute-phase survivors, but generally overestimates mortality and underestimates good functional outcome. Future prognostic models should incorporate conditional survival to improve the accuracy of prognostication after the acute phase.

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Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Pious D. Patel, Patrick D. Kelly, Daniel I. Wolfson, Fakhry Dawoud, Ranbir Ahluwalia, Christopher M. Bonfield, and Oscar D. Guillamondegui

OBJECTIVE

Gunshot wounds to the head (GSWH) are devastating injuries with a grim prognosis. Several prognostic scores have been created to estimate mortality and functional outcome, including the so-called Baylor score, an uncomplicated scoring method based on bullet trajectory, patient age, and neurological status on admission. This study aimed to validate the Baylor score within a temporally, institutionally, and geographically distinct patient population.

METHODS

Data were obtained from the trauma registry at a level I trauma center in the southeastern US. Patients with a GSWH in which dural penetration occurred were identified from data collected between January 1, 2009, and June 30, 2019. Patient demographics, medical history, bullet trajectory, intent of GSWH (e.g., suicide), admission vital signs, Glasgow Coma Scale score, pupillary response, laboratory studies, and imaging reports were collected. The Baylor score was calculated directly by using its clinical components. The ability of the Baylor score to predict mortality and good functional outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score 4 or 5) was assessed using the receiver operating characteristic curve and the area under the curve (AUC) as a measure of performance.

RESULTS

A total of 297 patients met inclusion criteria (mean age 38.0 [SD 15.7] years, 73.4% White, 85.2% male). A total of 205 (69.0%) patients died, whereas 69 (23.2%) patients had good functional outcome. Overall, the Baylor score showed excellent discrimination of mortality (AUC = 0.88) and good functional outcome (AUC = 0.90). Baylor scores of 3–5 underestimated mortality. Baylor scores of 0, 1, and 2 underestimated good functional outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The Baylor score is an accurate and easy-to-use prognostic scoring tool that demonstrated relatively stable performance in a distinct cohort between 2009 and 2019. In the current era of trauma management, providers may continue to use the score at the point of admission to guide family counseling and to direct investment of healthcare resources.