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Amro Al-Habib, Wajda Alhothali, Abdulrahman Albakr, Sherif Elwatidy, Ghaida Alawaji, Hissah Alabdulsalam, Fahad Albadr, Metab Alkubeyyer, Abdullah Abu Jamea, Waleed Awwad, Anhar Ullah, Faisal Fakhouri, and Abdulrazag Ajlan

OBJECTIVE

Although evaluating tissue elasticity has various clinical applications, spinal cord elasticity (SCE) in humans has never been well documented. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the impact of compression on human SCE in vivo.

METHODS

The authors prospectively assessed SCE using intraoperative shear wave elastography (SWE). All consecutive patients undergoing spinal cord (SC) decompression (laminectomy or corpectomy) between June 2018 and June 2019 were included. After intraoperative exposure of the patient’s dura mater, at least three SWE measurements of the SC and its coverings were performed. Intraoperative neurological monitoring in the form of motor and somatosensory evoked potentials was utilized. Cases were divided into two groups based on the state of SC compression following bone removal (laminectomy or corpectomy): patients with adequate decompression (the decompressed SC group [DCG]) following bone removal and patients with remining compression, e.g., compressing tumor or instability (the compressed SC group [COG]).

RESULTS

A total of 25 patients were included (8 females and 17 males) with a mean age of 48.28 ± 21.47 years. Most cases were degenerative diseases (10 cases) followed by tumors (6 cases), and the compression was observed at cervical (n = 14), thoracic (n = 9), and conus medullaris (n = 2) levels. The COG (6 cases) expressed significantly higher elasticity values, i.e., greater stiffness (median 93.84, IQR 75.27–121.75 kPa) than the decompressed SC in DCG (median 9.35, IQR 6.95–11.22 kPa, p < 0.001). Similarly, the compressed dura mater in the COG was significantly stiffer (mean ± SD 121.83 ± 70.63 kPa) than that in the DCG (29.78 ± 18.31 kPa, p = 0.042). Following SC decompression in COG, SCE values were significantly reduced (p = 0.006; adjusted for multiple comparisons). Intraoperative monitoring demonstrated no worsening from the baseline.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study is to the authors’ knowledge the first to quantitatively demonstrate increased stiffness (i.e., elasticity value) of the human SC and dura mater in response to external compression in vivo. It appears that SCE is a dynamic phenomenon and is reduced following decompression. Moreover, the evaluation of human SCE using the SWE technique is feasible and safe. Information from future studies aiming to further define SCE could be valuable in the early and accurate diagnosis of the compressed SC.

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Amro Al-Habib, Abdulrahman Albakr, Abdullah Al Towim, Metab Alkubeyyer, Abdullah Abu Jamea, Fahad Albadr, Abdelazeem A. Eldawlatly, Tarek Kashour, Hisham Alkhalidi, and Tariq Alzahrani

OBJECTIVE

Evaluation of living tissue elasticity has wide applications in disease characterization and prognosis prediction. Few previous ex vivo attempts have been made to characterize spinal cord elasticity (SCE). Recently, tissue elasticity assessment has been clinically feasible using ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE). The current study aims to characterize SCE in healthy dogs, in vivo, utilizing SWE, and to address SCE changes during compression.

METHODS

Ten Greyhound dogs (mean age 14 months; mean weight 14.3 kg) were anesthetized and tracheally intubated, with hemodynamic and neurological monitoring. A 3-level, midcervical laminectomy was performed. SCE was assessed at baseline. Next, 8- and 13-mm balloon compressions were sequentially applied ventral to the spinal cord.

RESULTS

The mean SCE was 18.5 ± 7 kPa. Elasticity of the central canal, pia mater, and dura mater were 21.7 ± 9.6 kPa, 26.1 ± 14.8 kPa, and 63.2 ± 11.5 kPa, respectively. As expected, the spinal cord demonstrated less elasticity than the dura mater (p < 0.0001) and pia mater (trend toward significance p = 0.08). Notably, the 13-mm balloon compression resulted in a stiffer spinal cord than at baseline (233 ± 73 kPa versus 18.5 ± 7 kPa, p < 0.0001) and 8-mm balloon compression (233 ± 73 kPa versus 185 ± 68 kPa, p < 0.048).

CONCLUSIONS

In vivo SCE evaluation using SWE is feasible and comparable to earlier reports, as demonstrated by physical sectioning of the spinal cord. The compressed spinal cord is stiffer than a free spinal cord, with a linear increase in SCE with increasing mechanical compression. Knowledge of the biomechanical properties of the spinal cord including SCE has potential implications for disease management and prognosis.

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David Ben-Israel, Jennifer A. Mann, Michael M. H. Yang, Albert M. Isaacs, Magalie Cadieux, Nicholas Sader, Sandeep Muram, Abdulrahman Albakr, Branavan Manoranjan, Richard W. Yu, Benjamin Beland, Mark G. Hamilton, Eldon Spackman, Paul E. Ronksley, and Jay Riva-Cambrin

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization (ETV+CPC) is a novel procedure for infant hydrocephalus that was developed in sub-Saharan Africa to mitigate the risks associated with permanent implanted shunt hardware. This study summarizes the hydrocephalus literature surrounding the ETV+CPC intraoperative abandonment rate, perioperative mortality rate, cerebrospinal fluid infection rate, and failure rate.

METHODS

This systematic review and meta-analysis followed a prespecified protocol and abides by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A comprehensive search strategy using MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, and Web of Science was conducted from database inception to October 2019. Studies included controlled trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies of patients with hydrocephalus younger than 18 years of age treated with ETV+CPC. Pooled estimates were calculated using DerSimonian and Laird random-effects modeling, and the significance of subgroup analyses was tested using meta-regression. The quality of the pooled outcomes was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

RESULTS

After screening and reviewing 12,321 citations, the authors found 16 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate was 0.44 (95% CI 0.37–0.51). Subgroup analysis by geographic income level showed statistical significance (p < 0.01), with lower-middle-income countries having a lower failure rate (0.32, 95% CI 0.28–0.36) than high-income countries (0.53, 95% CI 0.47–0.60). No difference in failure rate was found between hydrocephalus etiology (p = 0.09) or definition of failure (p = 0.24). The pooled estimate for perioperative mortality rate (n = 7 studies) was 0.001 (95% CI 0.00–0.004), the intraoperative abandonment rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.04 (95% CI 0.01–0.08), and the postoperative CSF infection rate (n = 5 studies) was 0.0004 (95% CI 0.00–0.003). All pooled outcomes were found to be low-quality evidence.

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides the most comprehensive pooled estimate for the ETV+CPC failure rate to date and demonstrates, for the first time, a statistically significant difference in failure rate by geographic income level. It also provides the first reported pooled estimates for the risk of ETV+CPC perioperative mortality, intraoperative abandonment, and CSF infection. The low quality of this evidence highlights the need for further research to improve the understanding of these critical clinical outcomes and their relevant explanatory variables and thus to appreciate which patients may benefit most from an ETV+CPC.

Systematic review registration no.: CRD42020160149 (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/)