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Phillip A. Bonney, Adrian J. Maurer, Ahmed A. Cheema, Quyen Duong, Chad A. Glenn, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Julie A. Stoner and Timothy B. Mapstone

OBJECT

The coexistence of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) and ventral brainstem compression (VBSC) has been well documented, but the change in VBSC after posterior fossa decompression (PFD) has undergone little investigation. In this study the authors evaluated VBSC in patients with CM-I and determined the change in VBSC after PFD, correlating changes in VBSC with clinical status and the need for further intervention.

METHODS

Patients who underwent PFD for CM-I by the senior author from November 2005 to January 2013 with complete radiological records were included in the analysis. The following data were obtained: objective measure of VBSC (pB–C2 distance); relationship of odontoid to Chamberlain’s, McGregor’s, McRae’s, and Wackenheim’s lines; clival length; foramen magnum diameter; and basal angle. Statistical analyses were performed using paired t-tests and a mixed-effects ANOVA model.

RESULTS

Thirty-one patients were included in the analysis. The mean age of the cohort was 10.0 years. There was a small but statistically significant increase in pB–C2 postoperatively (0.5 mm, p < 0.0001, mixed-effects ANOVA). Eleven patients had postoperative pB–C2 values greater than 9 mm. The mean distance from the odontoid tip to Wackenheim’s line did not change after PFD, signifying postoperative occipitocervical stability. No patients underwent transoral odontoidectomy or occipitocervical fusion. No patients experienced clinical deterioration after PFD.

CONCLUSIONS

The increase in pB–C2 in patients undergoing PFD may occur as a result of releasing the posterior vector on the ventral dura, allowing it to relax posteriorly. This increase appears to be well-tolerated, and a postoperative pB–C2 measurement of more than 9 mm in light of stable craniocervical metrics and a nonworsened clinical examination does not warrant further intervention.

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Joshua D. Burks, Andrew K. Conner, Robert G. Briggs, Chad A. Glenn, Phillip A. Bonney, Ahmed A. Cheema, Sixia Chen, Naina L. Gross and Timothy B. Mapstone

OBJECTIVE

Experience has led us to suspect an association between shunt malfunction and recent abdominal surgery, yet information about this potential relationship has not been explored in the literature. The authors compared shunt survival in patients who underwent abdominal surgery to shunt survival in our general pediatric shunt population to determine whether such a relationship exists.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases in which pediatric patients underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunt operations at their institution during a 7-year period. Survival time in shunt operations that followed abdominal surgery was compared with survival time of shunt operations in patients with no history of abdominal surgery. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with failure.

RESULTS

A total of 141 patients who underwent 468 shunt operations during the period of study were included; 107 of these 141 patients had no history of abdominal surgery and 34 had undergone a shunt operation after abdominal surgery. Shunt surgery performed more than 2 weeks after abdominal surgery was not associated with time to shunt failure (p = 0.86). Shunt surgery performed within 2 weeks after abdominal surgery was associated with time to failure (adjusted HR 3.6, 95% CI 1.3–9.6).

CONCLUSIONS

Undergoing shunt surgery shortly after abdominal surgery appears to be associated with shorter shunt survival. When possible, some patients may benefit from shunt placement utilizing alternative termini.