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Randall Schultz Jr., Andrew Steven, Aaron Wessell, Nancy Fischbein, Charles A. Sansur, Dheeraj Gandhi, David Ibrahimi and Prashant Raghavan

OBJECTIVE

Dorsal arachnoid webs (DAWs) and spinal cord herniation (SCH) are uncommon abnormalities affecting the thoracic spinal cord that can result in syringomyelia and significant neurological morbidity if left untreated. Differentiating these 2 entities on the basis of clinical presentation and radiological findings remains challenging but is of vital importance in planning a surgical approach. The authors examined the differences between DAWs and idiopathic SCH on MRI and CT myelography to improve diagnostic confidence prior to surgery.

METHODS

Review of the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) database between 2005 and 2015 identified 6 patients with DAW and 5 with SCH. Clinical data including demographic information, presenting symptoms and neurological signs, and surgical reports were collected from the electronic medical records. Ten of the 11 patients underwent MRI. CT myelography was performed in 3 patients with DAW and in 1 patient with SCH. Imaging studies were analyzed by 2 board-certified neuroradiologists for the following features: 1) location of the deformity; 2) presence or absence of cord signal abnormality or syringomyelia; 3) visible arachnoid web; 4) presence of a dural defect; 5) nature of dorsal cord indentation (abrupt “scalpel sign” vs “C”-shaped); 6) focal ventral cord kink; 7) presence of the nuclear trail sign (endplate irregularity, sclerosis, and/or disc-space calcification that could suggest a migratory path of a herniated disc); and 8) visualization of a complete plane of CSF ventral to the deformity.

RESULTS

The scalpel sign was positive in all patients with DAW. The dorsal indentation was C-shaped in 5 of 6 patients with SCH. The ventral subarachnoid space was preserved in all patients with DAW and interrupted in cases of SCH. In no patient was a web or a dural defect identified.

CONCLUSIONS

DAW and SCH can be reliably distinguished on imaging by scrutinizing the nature of the dorsal indentation and the integrity of the ventral subarachnoid space at the level of the cord deformity.

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Aaron P. Wessell, Matthew J. Kole, Gregory Cannarsa, Jeffrey Oliver, Gaurav Jindal, Timothy Miller, Dheeraj Gandhi, Gunjan Parikh, Neeraj Badjatia, E. Francois Aldrich and J. Marc Simard

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to evaluate whether a sustained systemic inflammatory response was associated with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of 193 consecutive patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage was performed. Management of hydrocephalus followed a stepwise algorithm to determine the need for external CSF drainage and subsequent shunt placement. Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) data were collected for all patients during the first 7 days of hospitalization. Patients who met the SIRS criteria every day for the first 7 days of hospitalization were considered as having a sustained SIRS. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to determine predictors of shunt dependence.

RESULTS

Sixteen percent of patients required shunt placement. Sustained SIRS was observed in 35% of shunt-dependent patients compared to 14% in non–shunt-dependent patients (p = 0.004). On multivariate logistic regression, female sex (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.142–0.885), moderate to severe vasospasm (OR 3.78, 95% CI 1.333–10.745), acute hydrocephalus (OR 21.39, 95% CI 2.260–202.417), and sustained SIRS (OR 2.94, 95% CI 1.125–7.689) were significantly associated with shunt dependence after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.83 for the final regression model.

CONCLUSIONS

Sustained SIRS was a predictor of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage even after adjustment for potential confounding variables in a multivariate logistic regression model.