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Aditya Vedantam and Vedantam Rajshekhar

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of clinical adjacent-segment pathology (CASP) following central corpectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

METHODS

The authors reviewed 353 cases involving patients operated on by a single surgeon with a minimum 12-month follow-up after central corpectomy for CSM or OPLL between 1995 and 2007. Patients with symptoms consistent with CASP at follow-up were selected for the study. The authors analyzed the prevalence and risk factors for CASP after central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients (13 male, 1 female; mean age 46.9 ± 7.7 years) were diagnosed with symptoms of CASP (3.9% of 353 patients) at follow-up. The mean interval between the initial surgery and presentation with symptoms of CASP was 95.6 ± 54.1 months (range 40–213 months). Preoperative Nurick grades ranged from 2 to 5 (mean 3.5 ± 1.2), and the Nurick grades at follow-up ranged from 1 to 5 (mean 3.0 ± 1.3, p = 0.27). Twelve patients had myelopathic symptoms and 2 had radiculopathy at follow-up. Patients with poorer preoperative Nurick grades had a higher risk for development of CASP (HR 2.6 [95% CI 1.2–5.3], p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

In the present study, CASP was seen in 3.9% of patients following central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL. The risk of CASP after central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL was higher in patients with poorer preoperative Nurick grades.

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Aditya Vedantam, Ashish Jonathan and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Object

Few studies have evaluated the prognostic significance of different types of T2-weighted MR imaging changes in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). The object of this study was to determine whether the type of increased signal intensity (ISI) was an independent predictor of outcome following central corpectomy in patients with CSM or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

Methods

Magnetic resonance images obtained in 197 patients who had undergone central corpectomy for CSM or OPLL were assessed for ISI within the cord on sagittal T2-weighted images and hypointensity on T1-weighted images. The T2-weighted changes were categorized as no change (Type 0), fuzzy (Type 1), or sharp (Type 2) based on the ISI characteristics. Outcomes were assessed as a change in Nurick grade of 1 grade or more from preoperatively to postoperatively, and cure as a follow-up Nurick grade of 0 or 1. Multilevel regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of change in Nurick grade ≥ 1 and cure.

Results

There were 30 patients (15.2%) with Type 0, 104 patients (52.8%) with Type 1, and 63 patients (32%) with Type 2 ISI on MR images. Age, duration of symptoms, and preoperative Nurick grade were similar among the groups. A preoperative Nurick grade of 4 or 5 (OR 0.23, p < 0.001) and presence of Type 2 ISI on T2-weighted images (OR 0.48, p = 0.04) negatively influenced the probability of cure after surgery. Hypointensity on T1-weighted images was only seen in patients who had Type 2 ISI changes. Among the 63 patients with Type 2 ISI, the presence of T1-weighted hypointensity (16 patients) was found to negatively impact cure (OR 0.1, p = 0.04).

Conclusions

Increased signal intensity on preoperative T2-weighted MR images was seen in more than 80% of the cases. However, only Type 2 ISI on T2-weighted images had a prognostic significance of being associated with a decreased likelihood of cure in patients with CSM or OPLL. Hypointensity on T1-weighted images predicted a lower probability of cure among patients with Type 2 ISI on T2-weighted images.

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Sumit Thakar, M.Ch., Aditya Vedantam and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Object

This study was undertaken to examine the correlation between change in graft height and change in angulation across grafted segments (segmental angle) in patients undergoing central corpectomy (CC) with autologous bone reconstruction for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 70 cases in which patients with CSM underwent uninstrumented single- or multilevel CC and had evidence of osseous fusion of their grafts at follow-up. The segmental angles and heights of the grafted segments on preoperative, postoperative, and follow-up radiographs were compared.

Results

The mean change in graft height (± standard deviation) was −7.3 ± 3.8 mm (mean duration of follow-up 19.7 ± 5.4 months, range 13–53 months). There was a mean kyphotic change in segmental angle of −7.3 ± 3.8° (p < 0.001). In patients who had a straight or kyphotic cervical spine (28 patients) or a straight or kyphotic segment (32 patients) preoperatively, there was a significant linear correlation between changes in graft height and changes in segmental angle (Pearson correlation, r = 0.40, p = 0.03; r = 0.40, p = 0.02, respectively). Such a correlation was not seen in the patients who had a lordotic cervical spine (42 patients) or a lordotic segment (38 patients) preoperatively (Pearson correlation, r = −0.04, p = 0.81; r = 0.08, p = 0.62, respectively). The change in segmental angle did not influence improvement in Nurick grade (p = 0.8). The degree of agreement between the 2 observers was almost perfect for measurement of graft height (postoperative intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.94, follow-up ICC = 0.90) but was significantly lower for measurement of segmental angles (postoperative ICC = 0.71, follow-up ICC = 0.67).

Conclusions

Among patients undergoing uninstrumented CC for CSM, there is a significant correlation between postoperative settling and kyphotic change across fused segments in those who had straight or kyphotic cervical spines or segments preoperatively but not in those who had lordotic cervical spines or segments preoperatively. A more vigorous surgical correction of the segmental kyphosis than achieved in this study might have caused the kyphotic segments to behave like the lordotic segments. Paraspinal muscles and ligaments may play a role in determining the segmental angle as graft settling in patients with lordotic spines or segments is not linearly correlated with angular change.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Aditya Vedantam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The complication profile of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use during lumbar decompression surgery is not known. However, isolated reports of increased risk of delayed CSF leakage with the use of triamcinolone acetonide in adult spinal surgery patients have been published. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use in conjunction with lumbar decompression surgery in pediatric patients.

METHODS

The medical records of all patients who underwent lumbar decompression surgery with or without discectomy between July 1, 2007, and July 31, 2015, were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

During the study period, 58 patients underwent 59 spine procedures at Texas Children's Hospital. There were 33 female and 25 male patients. The mean age at surgery was 16.5 years (range 12–24 years). Patients were followed for an average of 38.2 months (range 4–97 months). Triamcinolone acetonide was used in 28 (of 35 total) cases of discectomy; there were no cases of delayed symptomatic CSF leaks (0%) in the minimally invasive and open discectomies. On the other hand, triamcinolone acetonide was used in 14 (of 24 total) cases of multilevel laminectomy, among which there were 10 delayed CSF leaks (71.4%) requiring treatment. The use of triamcinolone acetonide in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy was significantly associated with an increased risk of delayed CSF leaks or pseudomeningoceles (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

There was an unacceptable incidence of delayed postoperative CSF leaks when epidural triamcinolone acetonide was used in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy.

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Aditya Vedantam, Daniel Hansen, Bradley Daniels and Sandi Lam

The authors report an unusual case of acute, rapidly progressive, unilateral neck swelling following extubation after elective left anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy. Due to severe neck swelling, the patient developed critical airway compromise, brachial plexopathy, and Horner's syndrome. After critical airway management and appropriate rehabilitation, the patient recovered completely and remains seizure free at 1.5 years of follow-up.

This case highlights the importance of early recognition of acute postoperative sialadenitis and the steps needed to prevent serious morbidity and possible mortality from this rare complication.

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Aditya Vedantam, Claudia S. Robertson and Shankar P. Gopinath

OBJECTIVE

Early withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment due to expected poor prognosis is responsible for the majority of in-house deaths in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). With increased focus on the decision and timing of withdrawal of care in patients with severe TBI, data on early neurological recovery in patients with a favorable outcome is needed to guide physicians and families.

METHODS

The authors reviewed prospectively collected data obtained in 1241 patients with head injury who were treated between 1986 and 2012. Patients with severe TBI, motor Glasgow Coma Scale (mGCS) score < 6 on admission, and those who had favorable outcomes (Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS] score of 4 or 5, indicating moderate disability or good recovery) at 6 months were selected. Baseline demographic, clinical, and imaging data were analyzed. The time from injury to the first record of following commands (mGCS score of 6) after injury was recorded. The temporal profile of GOS scores from discharge to 6 months after the injury was also assessed.

RESULTS

The authors studied 218 patients (183 male and 35 female) with a mean age of 28.9 ± 11.2 years. The majority of patients were able to follow commands (mGCS score of 6) within the 1st week after injury (71.4%), with the highest percentage of patients in this group recovering on Day 1 (28.6%). Recovery to the point of following commands beyond 2 weeks after the injury was seen in 14.8% of patients, who experienced significantly longer durations of intracranial pressure monitoring (p = 0.001) and neuromuscular blockade (p < 0.001). In comparison with patients with moderate disability, patients with good recovery had a higher initial GCS score (p = 0.01), lower incidence of anisocoria at admission (p = 0.048), and a shorter ICU stay (p < 0.001) and total hospital stay (p < 0.001). There was considerable improvement in GOS scores from discharge to follow-up at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Up to 15% of patients with a favorable outcome after severe TBI may begin to follow commands beyond 2 weeks after the injury. These data caution against early withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in patients with severe TBI.

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Aditya Vedantam, Claudia S. Robertson and Shankar P. Gopinath

OBJECTIVE

Few studies have reported on changes in quantitative cerebral blood flow (CBF) after decompressive craniectomy and the impact of these measures on clinical outcome. The aim of the present study was to evaluate global and regional CBF patterns in relation to cerebral hemodynamic parameters in patients after decompressive craniectomy for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

METHODS

The authors studied clinical and imaging data of patients who underwent xenon-enhanced CT (XeCT) CBF studies after decompressive craniectomy for evacuation of a mass lesion and/or to relieve intractable intracranial hypertension. Cerebral hemodynamic parameters prior to decompressive craniectomy and at the time of the XeCT CBF study were recorded. Global and regional CBF after decompressive craniectomy was measured using XeCT. Regional cortical CBF was measured under the craniectomy defect as well as for each cerebral hemisphere. Associations between CBF, cerebral hemodynamics, and early clinical outcome were assessed.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven patients were included in this study. The majority of patients (88.9%) had an initial Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8. The median time between injury and decompressive surgery was 9 hours. Primary decompressive surgery (within 24 hours) was performed in the majority of patients (n = 18, 66.7%). Six patients had died by the time of discharge. XeCT CBF studies were performed a median of 51 hours after decompressive surgery. The mean global CBF after decompressive craniectomy was 49.9 ± 21.3 ml/100 g/min. The mean cortical CBF under the craniectomy defect was 46.0 ± 21.7 ml/100 g/min. Patients who were dead at discharge had significantly lower postcraniectomy CBF under the craniectomy defect (30.1 ± 22.9 vs 50.6 ± 19.6 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.039). These patients also had lower global CBF (36.7 ± 23.4 vs 53.7 ± 19.7 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.09), as well as lower CBF for the ipsilateral (33.3 ± 27.2 vs 51.8 ± 19.7 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.07) and contralateral (36.7 ± 19.2 vs 55.2 ± 21.9 ml/100 g/min; p = 0.08) hemispheres, but these differences were not statistically significant. The patients who died also had significantly lower cerebral perfusion pressure (52 ± 17.4 vs 75.3 ± 10.9 mm Hg; p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In the presence of global hypoperfusion, regional cerebral hypoperfusion under the craniectomy defect is associated with early mortality in patients with TBI. Further study is needed to determine the value of incorporating CBF studies into clinical decision making for severe traumatic brain injury.

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Aditya Vedantam, Claudia S. Robertson and Shankar P. Gopinath

OBJECTIVE

Hypernatremia is independently associated with increased mortality in critically ill patients. Few studies have evaluated the impact of hypernatremia on early mortality in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) treated in a neurocritical care unit.

METHODS

A retrospective review of patients with severe TBI (admission Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8) treated in a single neurocritical care unit between 1986 and 2012 was performed. Patients with at least 3 serum sodium values were selected for the study. Patients with diabetes insipidus and those with hypernatremia on admission were excluded. The highest serum sodium level during the hospital stay was recorded, and hypernatremia was classified as none (≤ 150 mEq/L), mild (151–155 mEq/L), moderate (156–160 mEq/L), and severe (> 160 mEq/L). Multivariate Cox regression analysis was performed to determine independent predictors of early mortality.

RESULTS

A total of 588 patients with severe TBI were studied. The median number of serum sodium measurements for patients in this study was 17 (range 3–190). No hypernatremia was seen in 371 patients (63.1%), mild hypernatremia in 77 patients (13.1%), moderate hypernatremia in 50 patients (8.5%), and severe hypernatremia in 90 patients (15.3%). Hypernatremia was detected within the 1st week of admission in 79.3% of patients (n = 172), with the majority of patients (46%) being diagnosed within 72 hours after admission. Acute kidney injury, defined as a rise in creatinine of ≥ 0.3 mg/dl, was observed in 162 patients (27.6%) and was significantly associated with the degree of hypernatremia (p < 0.001). At discharge, 148 patients (25.2%) had died. Hypernatremia was a significant independent predictor of mortality (hazard ratios for mild: 3.4, moderate: 4.4, and severe: 8.4; p < 0.001). Survival analysis showed significantly lower survival rates for patients with greater degrees of hypernatremia (log-rank test, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Hypernatremia after admission in patients with severe TBI was independently associated with greater risk of early mortality. In addition to severe hypernatremia, mild and moderate hypernatremia were significantly associated with increased early mortality in patients with severe TBI.

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Aditya Vedantam, Daniel Hansen, Valentina Briceño, Alison Brayton and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

There is limited literature on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in pediatric patients undergoing surgery for craniovertebral junction pathology. The aim of the present study was to assess surgical and quality of life outcomes in children who had undergone occipitocervical or atlantoaxial fusion.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographics, procedural data, and outcomes of 77 consecutive pediatric patients who underwent posterior occipitocervical or atlantoaxial fusion between 2008 and 2015 at Texas Children's Hospital. Outcome measures (collected at last follow-up) included mortality, neurological improvement, complications, Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Measure–22 (SRS-22) score, SF-36 score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL). Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify factors affecting PROs and HRQOL scores at follow-up.

RESULTS

The average age in this series was 10.6 ± 4.5 years. The median follow-up was 13.9 months (range 0.5–121.5 months). Sixty-three patients (81.8%) were treated with occipitocervical fusion, and 14 patients (18.1%) were treated with atlantoaxial fusion. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade at discharge was unchanged in 73 patients (94.8%). The average PRO metrics at the time of last follow-up were as follows: SRS-22 score, 4.2 ± 0.8; NDI, 3.0 ± 2.6; the parent's PedsQL (ParentPedsQL) score, 69.6 ± 22.7, and child's PedsQL score, 75.5 ± 18.7. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that older age at surgery was significantly associated with lower SRS-22 scores at follow-up (B = −0.06, p = 0.03), and the presence of comorbidities was associated with poorer ParentPedsQL scores at follow-up (B = −19.68, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

This study indicates that occipitocervical and atlantoaxial fusions in children preserve neurological function and are associated with acceptable PROs and ParentPedsQL scores, considering the serious nature and potential for morbidity in this patient population. However, longer follow-up and disease-specific scales are necessary to fully elucidate the impact of occipitocervical and atlantoaxial fusions on children.